In hospitality keeping your brand relevant in a changing industry is imperative to your guests’ satisfaction and your success. While guests have general expectations for their accommodations, a brand refresh can help to differentiate your brand from the competition and better align guest expectations with your service offerings.

Refreshing your brand, though less intensive than a complete rebranding, can certainly seem like an overwhelming task. With a skilled business partner and integrated branding expert, the process can be less daunting – allowing you to reap the rewards with minimal stress. Following these five steps when refreshing your brand will help to ensure that your goals are met or exceeded.

1. Establish Your Goals

Refreshing a brand is a long series of decisions, and you can miss your deadline if you don’t have a good understanding of why you’re making changes to your brand. Knowing what you want to achieve through your brand refresh and in what timeframe will help you choose the best business(es) to partner with during the process.

2. Determine your Budget

Maximizing your budget to best serve your guests and your goals is a top priority that can be achieved when you strategize and plan appropriately. Common drains on the budget that can be avoided include:

Customizing products that are discarded quickly, like envelopes.
Custom envelopes need to be printed, folded, and glued; they can cost 20% to 30% more than a pre-folded envelope and can take nearly a month longer in lead-time to produce. If you need help budgeting, your hospitality printer can estimate your usage.

Selecting non-standard product dimensions or expensive paper.
Good design can make a product stand out, even with standard specs. Metallic ink can be a good substitute for foil. Your hospitality printer will be able to recommend options that can save you time and reduce expenses. Be mindful of cost when approving an overly complex design that will be used at many locations. Not all properties have the same operation budgets, so increasing the expense of items too drastically will make adoption difficult for some.

3. Choose Your Partner

When refreshing a brand, you may choose to work with a printing company and/or an ad agency. Quality of products and timeliness of delivery are frequently top concerns among those seeking to refresh their brand. Thus, it’s important to know what your potential partners’ capabilities include – everyone needs to be on the same page on budget, timeline and style vision.

4. Provide a Timeline

The required hands-in date must be communicated early, as the entire schedule is predicated upon when you need the product. Whether your property is updating all items at the same time or in phases, communicating your timeline to your print partner is vital for scheduling the production of these new items.

To reduce your lead-time and improve efficiency of your property’s efforts, consider scheduling items for production in this order:

1. Products that are more complex or take longer to produce.
2. Products that are customer-facing.
3. Products that are necessary for your daily operations.

All remaining items should be grouped by function. (Front Desk, Housekeeping, Back Office, In-Room, Food & Beverage, etc.).

Production timelines are first based upon each products’ complexity, so it is very important to communicate your general preferences early for:

  • Type of paper stock;
  • Type of product finishing; and
  • Type of ink (solid, uncoated, metallic, etc).

To ensure that your schedule is met, provide artwork to the printer early. Files should be sent as packaged InDesign files and logos should be vector. For a guide to format your files correctly, you can download a PDF called “File Preparation Guidelines (PDF)” on A S Hospitality’s webpage.

By punctually providing the necessary art files, you can also prevent incurring expedited shipping costs later. If you have a tight deadline, plan to communicate daily with your print partner to keep on-schedule and on budget.

During the rebranding, an experienced hospitality printer should be able to advise you when to place your last order to avoid reordering an outdated product. This is particularly important for independently branded properties that may not be required to offer the refreshed brand at the same time as flagship properties.

5. Share Your Expectations

Mistakes often happen when the expectation of the client is not completely understood. It is imperative to have a complete understanding of brand identity between the client and Account Management, so that information can be passed along to PS&D – everyone needs to be on the same page as far as the project’s budget, timeline, and style vision.

When possible, an initial face-to-face meeting between decision makers allows for samples to be seen and immediate questions and concerns to be addressed. GoToMeeting provides a good online platform for communicating through shared screens. If issues arise, now is the best time to adjust the timeline, budget, or expectations.

Supply your hospitality printer with your brand standards so they can work within them. If you have an agency providing design work, it can save you money to have a print partner consult on the design. Not all agencies know how to design producible work, and you may find that simple changes can make a big difference on your budget.

Though not every hurdle can be accounted for in these five steps, using these to guide your next brand refresh will certainly prove to be advantageous.