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Driving SLH Guest Loyalty Through a Brand Assessment

Exploring the World, in Style

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) approached Vivaldi hoping to receive a brand assessment to understand where their brand resided in the minds of their consumers in conjunction with a 5-year global strategy effort. SLH felt its brand had some weaknesses despite being well known. Additionally, newer players such as Booking.com, Expedia and other online booking engines were putting pressure on one of the main sources of SLH’s revenue, online bookings.

SLH partnered with Vivaldi Partners to undergo a brand equity discovery effort and determine implications for the 5-year strategic plan. The effort was meant to redefine the SLH brand and position it in a way that would help it capitalize on the evolving needs of the guest and adapt to the ever-changing boutique luxury hospitality market.

Tapping into the Jetsetter Mindset

The Vivaldi team first began by interviewing key SLH employees, executives, travel agents and select hoteliers. This helped give the team a baseline of internal thought that was then used to inform what the team talked to Consumers about.

Employing our proprietary Consumer First methodology, we studied the daily routines of a range of luxury hotel travelers to get a deep understanding of how SLH currently fit in their daily lives and how it could play a larger more helpful role in the future. While Vivaldi’s research revealed that most consumers naturally relate SLH to “small hotels”, they weren’t always aware of the benefits of the consortium such as traveler benefits, perks and club memberships and more importantly, why SLH was able to deliver a superior travel experience. Some, unfortunately, had stayed at SLH hotels but did not recall that they were SLH member properties!

Vivaldi fielded a large scale quantitative study across the US and UK to identify the true brand equities and new differentiating equities that could help SLH separate itself from its competitors.

A Passport to Long-term Growth

Vivaldi uncovered that consumers were reaching for truly authentic, local experiences in their vacations and were trying to separate themselves from typical tourists to feel like true travelers. While may competitors offered unique experiences, no brand was better positioned to capture and deliver upon this consumer tension than Small Luxury Hotels with its 500+ independently owned and operated locations across the world.

Based on our findings, a five-point consumer insight-driven strategy was developed to help SLH exploit these differentiating opportunities in the market place. With a clear understanding of what SLH stood for in the mind of consumers, updated communications created a greater appeal to new and existing customers based on a newly defined and well received “north star” positioning that will guide SLH and its member hotels over the next 5 years.

Meet The Expert

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Thomas Ajello

Senior Partner, Global Chief Creative & Digital Officer

Tom Ajello is Vivaldi's Global CCO. Tom believes in the power of design and technology as a force for building value. He thrives in the middle of what can be done and what will be done, relishing the idea of inspiring the people around him with the seduction of real invention. Today, he leads Vivaldi’s creative vision by collaborating with the firm’s leadership team to ensure our wide range of branding, business consulting, product design, service design, and communications capabilities are equally grounded in creativity, strategy, and technology.