Arnold Woodhouse, founder of branding and design agency, Integrated Marketing, is one of the leading marketing specialists in the extended stay sector.
He talks to us about the design and marketing challenges for this niche sector for the hospitality market.
When did you start working with extended stay hotels and what did you do?
Back in 2005 I was commissioned by IHG to develop the positioning and values for the Staybridge Suites brand in Europe and the Middle East prior to its launch. The project turned into an exciting five year relationship during which I was responsible for leading the development of all the marketing communications for the then nascent concept of extended stay.
The project’s climax was the successful launch of the first hotel under the Staybridge Suites brand flag in Liverpool, which became IHG’s “template for how a new hotel brand should be launched.”
What other extended stay brands have you worked with?
The experience of launching Staybridge Suites was put to good use when we were appointed by Cycas Hospitality, specialist extended stay hotel operator, to develop their brand ready for future growth. The Integrated Marketing team carried out a complete overhaul of the company’s branding culminating in the development of a new website supporting the new positioning with a fresh look and feel that reflected their unique approach to hotel management.
What have you been working on most recently?
More recently we have been working with regional serviced apartment operator, Cotels Serviced Apartments, to develop the concept, branding and launch programme for 7Zero1, a new branded apart hotel style building in central Milton Keynes.
What is different about 7Zero1?
We identified a growing trend amongst travellers for wellness so we responded with a concept for these apartments featuring on a health and wellbeing focus.
At 7Zero1 we’ve taken fitness a step further than most, kitting out each apartment with exercise equipment, nutribullets and hypoallergenic bedding making them the perfect solution for guests who want to maintain their wellbeing and fitness regime away from home.
Of course, you don’t have to be fitness fanatic; each apartment also comes with a comfy sofa and Smart TV, with full Sky Package including Sports and Movies, for great nights in too!
What will the future of design in the extended stay market look like?
The direction of travel is definitely towards a domestic/home from home with all amenities and less ‘hotel room with kitchen’. I can also see the impact of the millennials who will be more prevalent in this market influencing more elements of communal living into the sector. This could mean public areas that serve as social hubs/work spaces and even communal kitchen/dining rooms. Essentially bringing elements of their student life into the world of work.
Technology will also feature strongly and fast broadband Wi-Fi will be the standard feature for apartments and common areas.
In your opinion, how best can brands out there stay ahead of the game in terms of branding and/or marketing?
Branding and/or marketing will need to reflect and keep pace with the consumer, as ever. The best brands will reflect (or even pre-empt) changes in current style and tastes. They need to focus on distribution and communication channels that are central to contemporary life, for example, in addition to web sites with booking engines, brands will also need apps with booking facilities.
For the sector in general there needs to be more of a concerted emphasis on establishing a real understanding in the market of the concept of extended stay/serviced apartments. The sector is now well into its second decade and yet still has no common vocabulary that is meaningful; compare that to how quickly budget hotels established their concept in the hotel market.
The best of the small brands will need to apply the basic lessons of how brands build their strength consistency and more importantly unique concepts.
Integrated Marketing is a branding and design agency based in Milton Keynes specialising in the hospitality sector. It offers a full range of design services from graphic design to digital solutions.
Run by experienced marketers who provide consultancy services supported by a creative team – Integrated Marketing provides a combination of strategy and creativity. The core team’s client side experience brings a unique view to Integrated Marketing’s client partnerships.
For more information click here