by Laurent Guinci, founder of Lolo Creative (www.lolocreative.design)
Globally the majority of the hospitality industry has had an abundance of downtime due to C-19.Although these times have been tough this can be advantageous for planning and development such as focusing on strengthening branding and customer experience.The past year has been pretty bleak, therefore, it is likely customers will be looking for more immersive experiences than ever with the feeling of being brought into an entirely new world and ‘escaping’ reality – whether that’s dining, holidaying, or staying in a beautiful hotel.
Having been part of some of the most popular immersive experiences in the world – from various restaurants including Mourad Mazouz’s MOMO (Madonna’s favourite restaurant) to Universal, Lolo Creative are really passionate about revolutionising the industry.We’ve put together some downtime focus areas to help elevate your brand identity and improve customer immersion.
Aim to create a unique experience guests can’t get anywhere else so that they come back again and again. Be bold but also strategic – look at your target audience and what makes them tick.Take the talented restaurateur Mourad Mazouz as an example, he is a visionary who’s not scared of changes and new concepts. At the time when I met him in 1997, he was probably one of the first people who wanted to be different, from implementing unique uniforms, t-shirts to sell next door in the tearoom and even custom dinner plates. In more recent years, his other restaurant Sketch became one of London’s most Instagramable restaurants thanks to its quirky design features – from the funky stairs to the breath-taking interior.Take this time to really think about how you can offer guests a distinct experience which will create a buzz and lend itself as a marketing tool.
The devils in the detail. Small touches can really help reiterate your brand and create a coherent mood.This is more than plastering your logo everywhere, it means thinking about how every element works together and ensuring they complement the brand.You should deep dive into the customer experience thinking about how you want them to feel from the moment they walk in – what is your brands feeling and tone of voice? This could then be applied across every point of interaction. If you want to truly immerse someone you need to look at the particulars – from interior choices such as harmonious materials and colours, to symbolism in art- work or furniture, the music and lighting choice, feng shui, down to subtle logo details on the tablecloth, the list could go on… It’s important to reflect on the whole customer journey even down to the rest room.
Customer service is a key part of guest’s experience (often the difference between a bad and good review) which is why it’s so important that anyone consumer- facing embodies the brand values and personality. Uniform can sometimes get overlooked but it has an important role to play in this. I believe you should treat staff like ‘actors on a set’.They are not themselves anymore, they are becoming a character and brand ambassador.They could almost act differently to serve a purpose and entertain the crowds.This is what I call giving the customer an immersive experience. Uniform is a vital element to making that shift, allowing the staff to be someone else for few hours, playing a part in this new environment. In addition to this, custom uniform can help extend brand identities, making a point of differentiation. It can become a memorable association ingrained in guests’ minds, ultimately helping the business to stand out from the crowd.
Overall, powerful branding is vital for capturing consumer’s imaginations and creating positive immersive experiences can truly transform guest’s relationship with your business. It’s important to use this time strategically, placing yourself in the best possible position for when things begin to pick up again.