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Careers in Hospitality

How You Can Make Your Hospitality Service Go Viral

Photo: Courtesy of Hannah Wei

Allen Adamson

Co-Founder, Metaforce and NYU Stern Adjunct Professor

Allen Adamson is a noted industry expert in all disciplines of branding. He is the author of “BrandSimple,” “BrandDigital,” “Shift Ahead” and “The Edge: 50 Tips from Brands That Lead.” He has worked with a broad spectrum of consumer and corporate brands.

Given his perspective and depth of experience, Adamson is able to help his clients not simply understand but, more critically, put into play practical strategies that generate long-term business value and increased brand equity. 

Transparency marketing is something that has become very important — especially in the hospitality industry. How can businesses best utilize that transparency marketing concept to really engage their customers and drive their brand to be at the forefront?

In a world where everyone sees everything, you have to be careful to ensure you’re always putting your best foot forward. Simple mistakes can spiral into larger issues. Nowadays, people only share the extraordinary. You must be careful to ensure your brand is doing extraordinary things all the time.

What are some definites that brands should stick to when marketing themselves?

Get a clear sense of exactly what your brand stands for. Simple is better. Often brands have very complex ideas as to what they want consumers to feel and think when they interact with their brand. This can be interesting but very hard to execute. 

Step 1 is for brands to really focus — what do you want consumers to take away when they hear your name, interact with your product, etc.? Make this into a one-liner. If you get this clear, you have a better shot of consumers understanding this when they engage with your brand. 

You are an expert in hospitality branding. How can hospitality brands best use social media to get guests to use their business over that of another in the industry?

The hospitality industry has become much more competitive. For example, guests can now compare prices instantly online. To break out, you have to offer the guest something extraordinary that they want to share on social media. They need to do something different and special. If you’re only delivering an average experience, you won’t get anywhere. Average is over. 

What is the most significant thing businesses can do to grow their brand digitally?

The one thing is to realize digital branding is a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t go blank for a long period of time. Succeeding in social media is consistency and sharing things that are worthwhile and relevant. Not repeating yourself and telling guests over and over why your brand is better. The world is overblown with content and there is too much to break through, so you have to talk less but say more interesting things. 

Why is it so important to build brand equity?

Brands are about communicating things in a way that your guests and customers care about. If you’re not different in a way customers care about, you are subject to the notion of, “If I can’t see the difference, why should I pay more?” Customers search for anyone who can offer anything for less money. Branding is how you tell your customers why you’re worth more, and why you’re special and different. If you can’t do this then you should expect to offer your business and product for less money.

Is there any additional advice you’ve learned along the way within the hospitality industry that you’d like to share?

A picture is worth a thousand words. If you give your guests something that is shareable in a picture, this can unshackle companies. People post so quickly, so offer guests the unexpected and unique.

Staff, [email protected]

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