By Anthony Batistich, General Manager of @Sandton-Hotel

Expanding a hotel brand can present an exciting opportunity for growth, but it requires careful consideration and a solid understanding of all the options available. The two main options are launching a new hotel brand or opening a new hotel for an existing brand. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and hospitality professionals must weigh the options carefully to make the right decision.

Opening a new hotel for an existing brand can be the less risky option. The existing brand’s reputation and goodwill can help the new hotel get off the ground quickly, and leveraging existing branding elements such as logos, materials, and promotional offers can save time and money. However, this approach also requires careful consideration as it can be challenging to maintain a consistent brand experience across multiple properties. A small misstep in execution can impact the overall brand’s reputation.

Launching a new hotel brand is a bold move that requires significant investment in branding and marketing, as well as a long-term strategy for growth. While creating a new hotel brand allows for the opportunity to create a unique identity and tailor the offering to a specific market, it can be difficult to stand out in an already crowded market and establish brand recognition. This process can take time, effort, and significant financial resources. However, launching a new hotel brand also provides an opportunity for a hospitality business to diversify its portfolio, reach new guests, and establish a fresh and innovative presence in the industry.

The critical essence of any brand is to entice customer recognition, enhance customer loyalty, and ultimately build recognisable credibility in the marketplace with added benefits for human capital, which include enticing talent to your brand who want to be associated with you and are proud to work for you. Retention of such talent is significantly easier too.

Further benefits may include the perception of consistency. Established brands initially have the advantage in that these aspects have been entrenched in the formation and association of the brand over time. Launching a new product provides exciting opportunities through application of established processes and experience.

Introducing a product and offerings which are newer to the market can bring exciting new technological updates. In the hospitality space this can include state-of-the-art technology, robotics, and AI. Offerings which provide USP’s over existing brands and competitors. After all, we are all chasing the competitive edge.

Having been involved in launching the largest upscale mixed use development offering in the country has certainly allowed us to present a unique brand experience, supported by a prime accessible location, offering a Dubai-style, self-contained city experience with all the modern day conveniences and luxuries.

Our vision was always focused on offering an upmarket luxury experience that is affordable but consistent and accessible. Our focus is shifting to an inclusive customer loyalty program to further bolster our brand. This loyalty program will offer exciting discounts and rewards across the precinct, from our spa and deli, to food & beverage offerings and accommodation discounts. Because we are a new brand, we can customise our loyalty programme and are not bound by an existing and possible outdated set of benefits.

By capitalising on our uniqueness in the market, we have been successful in attracting a good base of loyal clients from the node, who regularly support the hotel. Not only customers, but a talented pool of employees who embrace our vision for the precinct. Our marketing and PR activities remain focused on awareness as new entrants, with a strong emphasis and push on remaining relevant.

We benchmark ourselves against the best in Sandton and continue to push our guest-centricity through positive experiences that exceed expectations. Word-of-mouth marketing remains critical and invaluable, so every experience must be consistent, convenient, and delivered with aplomb, consistently every day. This most certainly supports our attempts to remain credible in the market.

The decision between launching a new hotel brand or opening a new hotel for an existing brand will depend on the individual business’s goals, resources, and risk tolerance. It is important to conduct a thorough analysis of the pros and cons of each option to ensure the right decision is made, and that the new hotel will be successful in the long run.

In conclusion, expanding a hotel brand is a complex process that requires careful consideration and a comprehensive understanding of the options available. While launching a new hotel brand offers the opportunity to create a unique identity and reach new guests, it also requires significant investment and long-term strategy. On the other hand, opening a new hotel for an existing brand can be a less risky option, but it also requires careful consideration and consistent execution to maintain the brand’s reputation. The right decision will depend on the individual business’s goals, resources, and risk tolerance, and a thorough analysis of the pros and cons of each option is essential.