Friday, February 3, 2012

Hotel Branding by Design from WATG

Dear reader (dare I say readers?), we apologize for the absence, some of our staff took some much deserved time off and meandered off to the tropics a la Lord Jim.  That being said, I would like to attach a link to a fascinating blog post from WATG's Howard Wolff detailing the role of design in brand positioning in the hospitality sector, coupled with an intriguing chart detailing the occupancies, ADR, and RevPAR of properties design by WATG and those of a control group.  This is interesting from Aqua Design's perspective because we firmly believe design of the swimming pools, spas, and water features of anything from focused service, to full service, and ultimately luxury properties can vastly improve the same figures when a balance of functionality, quality, and impact of design coalesce for the benefit of the client.

Branding by Design

Design is a critical aspect of any brand's positioning.
I recently had the honor of presenting some insights on the subject at the Cornell Brand Management Roundtable, hosted by Professor Chekitan Dev, PH.D. and The Center for Hospitality Research.
When it comes to branding hotels and resorts, both art and science are involved. Under the category of art comes stunning photography, which is one way to showcase a property and communicate its "wow" factor.
The science comes from understanding the elements of good design – functionality, quality, and impact.
Where functionality can be assessed (Is the building well designed for its purpose?) andquality can be evaluated (Will the building and materials last?), impact (Does the building lift people's spirits?) is harder to measure ... but that doesn't mean it can't be done.
Using a tool called DQI (Design Quality Indicator) to gauge the impact of 99 design-related variables, Hyatt administered a questionnaire to 2,000 guests and employees at 24 of their hotels. They were able to correlate high DQI scores with strong guest and employee satisfaction as well as with individual properties' RevPAR index.
In a longitudinal study conducted over 20 years, WATG engaged Smith Travel Research to examine the effect of design on a property's top and bottom line by comparing 27 hotels that the firm designed in four separate geographic areas against competitive sets in the same markets managed by the same operators. The WATG hotels outperformed the control group in occupancy, ADR and RevPAR.
These studies, coupled with owner/operator interviews as well as comments from guests and employees, provide quantifiable evidence that good design adds value. And it can do so in three measureable areas:
- Asset value: higher valuation as well as lower operating and maintenance costs;
- Quality of environment: improved productivity and better guest experience; and
- Brand identity: recognition, visibility and media exposure.
A summary of the entire proceedings, called "Fresh Thinking Outside the Box," can be obtained from Cornell for free in exchange for your email address here.


  1. This is a very relevant article for anyone interested in measuring satisfaction survey and customer loyalty. Especially the automation part I find quite interesting and relevant.
    Excellent Blog every one can get lots of information for any topics from this blog nice work keep it up.
    Satisfaction Questionnaires

    1. Thank you for the kind words and loyal readership Angelina! It is very much appreciated. All of us here at ADI owe you a warm thank you.