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This is a very engaging and well researched article by Mustafa Tepeci. He argues that brands are very important for a successful hospitality related business. They are a foundation upon which to build on and they provide a lot of security and stability. I'm a big believer that management is a complex art. I think it involves a lot of angles relating to competition, performance and commitment. Certainly, in my experience at the hotels I have worked I discovered that managers had to deal with a lot of competition. Branding definitely helps a hotel compete. As Tepeci writes, authoritatively, a good brand reduces a lot of operational costs and brings in customers who you would otherwise have to attract through an advertising campaign. As one of the places I worked we were hardly the only hotel on the beach and we were constantly monitoring our competition to see how they were performing. Our prices and services would change depending on the successes and failures of our competition and how credible their brand was. I really think that the quality of the hotel's services and its reputation reflect the type of management a company has. Good managers have to be committed to the success of the reputation of their company or hotel. They have to come to work with a sense of pride in the work they do. If they don't, then everything will simply fall apart. And the "troops," people like myself on the frontlines simply won't be loyal.

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This is an important point. In the case of my hotel, my managers knew that the loyalty and morale of employees was key to the success of the whole operation and the key to having a great brand. A hotel is more than it’s “vacancy” sign—it is first and foremost represented by its employees. If people felt they weren't treated with a basic sense of respect, they would pass that on to the customers, thus affecting the brand. That would be disastrous. In order to establish a sense of family and reward, employees were given big discounts at the restaurant and at other hotels at the same chain. Managers were open and honest with employees about how things were going in a business sense. Voices were rarely raised and people were told when they were doing a good job. There was even an employee of the month program that gave rewards to people who had done an exception job that month. These things kept people motivated and moral high. In our training we were shown how to pick up garbage if we ever saw it anywhere on the grounds. We were also trained to deal with difficult customers who complained a lot. Friendliness was emphasized. We should never lose our temper with a customer, no matter how irritating they were. For the managers the keyword was respect and we had this instilled in us from the very beginning of our term of employment. It helped ensure we had a saleable brand.

Branding loyalty, as the author points out, is key. Customers will return to the same hotel again and again if their experience was a great one. They have to be given an experience that will make them loyal to the brand. They also need to associate the brand with good feelings and with consistency. The brand should be substantively the same if the hotel is Singapore or in Budapest. Standards and high quality are key. Tepeci’s article is a tour de force of good research, good sense, and good marketing. 

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