|People power-navigator brands; next big thing in Indonesian hospitality.|
Tuesday, 15th May 2012
Source : The Brand Company
According to the first industry-wide study on what makes Asia's best hotel brands tick, Indonesia's top three hotel brands are Hotel Santika, followed by Harris Hotels and Jayakarta Hotels, however, Indonesia is yet to produce a hotel brand with regional reach, nor did any Indonesian hotel brands make the study's list of the top 30 Asian hotel brands.
Far-sighted: Branding visionary James Stuart (right), says Indonesia's hospitality powerhouses of tomorrow will be those that focus on their people first. He was recently in Jakarta to address a key gathering of hotel owners, operators and influencers.
The study also revealed a key insight: the most important driver of success for hotel brands is not wow-factor architecture or slick marketing campaigns - it is the quality of their own people.
The Asian Hospitality Brand Survey 2012: Leading Asian Brands and Drivers of Brand Success, spearheaded by Hong Kong-based consultancy The Brand Company, asked thousands of hospitality industry professionals for their opinion on which brands were most successful and why.
The Brand Company's Managing Partner, hospitality branding visionary James Stuart, is a frequent visitor to Indonesia and was in Jakarta to deliver a keynote speech at the inaugural Hospitality Investment World Indonesia 2012 on April 24th and 25th.
The study named Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, The Peninsula Hotels and Mandarin Oriental Hotels as the top three Asian hotel brands, while surprise inclusions in the top 10 were relative newcomers The Langham Hotels and Langham Place Hotels, placing eighth and ninth respectively.
Banyan Tree (4th), Raffles (5th), Aman (6th), Six Senses (7th) and Marco Polo (10th) were the other brands to achieve top 10 status.
The Brand Company surveyed 250 industry professionals across Asia to determine which brands born or headquartered in Asia or Greater China should be in the top 30 of the main survey for success in building and sustaining a great hospitality brand.
Once the top 30 were agreed upon, a more detailed survey was sent to over 13,000 hospitality professionals using the Questex global database.
They were asked to grade Asia's 30 top hospitality brands against five different key drivers of brand success - People, Place (environment, interiors, architecture, art and sculpture, botanicals, aromas, music and other elements), Products & Services, Design & Communications, and Naming - and also to rate the five drivers of success against each other.
Mr. Stuart said the findings highlight the need to change the way people think about branding in the hospitality industry, where marketing and design have traditionally led the branding approach.
"This study turns decades of conventional wisdom on its head," he said. "Marketing departments have been the traditional home of brand building. CEOs have not seen themselves as brand builders. Hotel brands have been seen as more 'packaging' than substance."
"The results of this survey point the way forward. Brands are more driven by customer experience and perceptions, not what you say in a slick ad campaign or costly brand image revamps. A fundamentally different approach - perhaps even a revolution - is needed if brands want to rise to the top, dramatically reduce their costs and maximize profits. Hotel brands have to be much smarter on hiring and retaining the right people and delivering on their promises to guests."
Mr. Stuart said Indonesia, was one of the region's most dynamic and open playing fields for hospitality brands, with a huge and burgeoning population, impressive economic growth and an emerging, increasingly sophisticated and affluent middle class.
"Some of the region's future top hotel brands will doubtless come from Indonesia, and they will be what I call 'Navigator Brands'. Brands that have clear medium to long term goals but are smart enough to realize they can't just rigidly fix themselves on a single compass point, but must navigate their way the changing currents of the Indonesian market and the hospitality industry.
"They will recruit people based on attitude and mindset rather than skills and experience, ignore the obsession with rigid 'brand standards' and instead set about creating a brand that is, above all, unique.
"We hear a lot about 'brand standards' in the hotel industry but there has never been a time or a place where such notions have become so redundant. The opportunity exists in Indonesia to reinvent hospitality. Those that succeed will need a CEO who becomes a true brand leader who is willing to tear up the rule book and ignore decades of western hospitality 'wisdom'.
The Asian Hospitality Brand Survey showed clearly that people were at the heart of building and sustaining successful brands. "And if there's one thing Indonesia has lots of, it's hospitable people. So the future is exciting.
About The Brand Company.
We started life in Hong Kong in 2002 in response to what we saw as a gap in the marketplace between the rigour of management consultancies and the flair of communication agencies. We neither want to intimidate our clients with science, nor frustrate them with a lack of good business sense. We’re small out of choice and we work with a select handful of client partners in depth and generally over the long-term.
We believe in the power of collaborative relationships with clients: our combined experienced and expertise will never be put to good use if we don’t understand each other, respect each other and work well as a team. We work primarily in Hong Kong and Mainland China, but also undertake projects for regional clients across Asia.