"When I go on Japanese Airlines, I really love it because I like Japanese food."
- Phil Collins
A sign looms out of the dark, indicating you're approaching an exit two miles ahead. It promises accommodations of some kind. You're not optimistic...the last place along the highway was a prototype for the Bates Motel. A flash of light from between the tress suggests it might have electricity at the very least. As you near the ramp you see a sign for a chain you're familiar with. Sighing with relief you pull off, finding the driveway and pulling into a familiar and well lit portico. There's a bed with your name on it...
|MGM Hotels and Casinos|
Hotels, airlines, car rental agencies, travel agents, cruise lines. You name it, you probably have a preferred brand or two. Websites, bloggers, magazines, tv shows. They're all brands of one kind or another, and each attract their own set of consumers.
We each have our favorites, and for our own reasons.
I use two sets of criteria: business traveler versus personal. The brands I prefer for one are not necessarily the ones I prefer for the other. Part of that is budget, of course. I will indulge myself on a personal trip that would be unacceptable on a business one. (It's always pleasant when things work out and those worlds collide, however.)
It's the brand reinforcement which is so vital. In the same way you know what kind of burger to expect from McDonald's versus those at In-and-Out. And Fuddrucker's, and, well, you get the point. The importance of a brand isn't just saying what you'll get, it's following the words with actions.
If a cruise line bills itself as small and intimate, you'd better not pull up to a leviathan liner with facilities for three thousand passengers. Likewise a budget cruise better not break the bank with added fees and charges. It puts a lie to the advertising and virtually guarantees a one-time guest. The image that is projected needs to be the image that is observed.
|U S Airways|
Looking back over the last three years, hundred plus blog entries, thousands of tweets and a decent library of destination images on the Facebook page, we've been fairly successful. Not entirely, but I hope reasonably.
With my job transition of last year my own time on the road has hit overtime. Between business and personal travel I've logged thousands of miles, been to almost every major city in the US and quite a few internationally. Sometimes I think Phoenix Sky Harbor is a home away from home. (It's a primary hub for USAirways, my main air carrier.)
And this is what started me thinking about the entire concept of branding. Cities do it. Airlines do it. All travel companies do it. People do it. (Can anyone deny that Anthony Bourdain is as valid a brand name as The Travel Channel?)
It's all part of giving us, the consumers, an idea of what to expect, of what we can anticipate and know we will encounter when foot hits the pavement.
See you at the Sheraton!
|It's a Carnival!!!|