Here was a hotel, restaurant, and marina that had fallen into many years of neglect and disrepute it had become an eyesore to the local community. Located in an area that enjoyed a bustling boating season, most lodging in the area was cheap and basic, while another nearby area was flush with resorts. The new owner came to me with his vision of how he wanted to revolutionize the property, and was just starting to “gut” the older hotel. How do we begin promoting future reservations for a hotel without pictures and a dubious past? How do we bring back the “resort” class to the area?
We studied the websites of the resorts with which we wanted to position the hotel–all of which were located 20 miles away but on a different waterway. The new website, logo, branding, etc., all needed to be on par with these resorts in quality and sophistication of design. Initially, the new owner wanted to use the name of the old hotel, but was strongly advised to bury the past and not to look back. “Inn” was replaced with “Hotel” to convey a higher class of lodging. Generic images were chosen for the website and other promotions that featured various activities, rather than actual images of the hotel–which was under construction at the time. Images included water-skiing, fishing, fireworks, boating life, relaxation.
It worked! After a few people tried out the new hotel, they shared their positive experiences on TripAdvisor and other travel sites and social media channels, and reservations began growing–often selling out on summer weekends. Eventually, a unique restaurant/bar was added, called the Wave.