by Tamara Baldanza-Dekker
To achieve success as a “lifestyle brand,” the most important thing is to discover what makes your brand special, and then let that be your navigation.
What started as a song over 40 years ago has steadily evolved into a lifestyle synonymous with fun and escapism. The team at Margaritaville works tirelessly to bring feelings of paradise to travelers around the globe who are seeking out authentic, engaging experiences and proclaiming their preference for lifestyle hotels and resorts. The Margaritaville state of mind, and the authentic brand it inspired, is at the core of our lodging portfolio’s culture and DNA.
Brands that want to succeed within the competitive landscape need to respond to evolving consumer expectations, maintaining their identity while offering a unique value proposition to stay fresh and relevant.
Put Design at the Forefront
Travelers should be able to sink into your lifestyle from the moment they arrive. From an enthusiastic team member’s friendly “Fins Up” to the lobby décor, the first impression means everything, and the arrival experience sets the tone for the rest of a guest’s stay. It’s important to introduce signature design elements early – like a larger-than-life flip flop at the front door – and to have consistent touches throughout the property in guestrooms, dining venues and more.
Offer More than a Room to Sleep In
Travelers are seeking experiences that will transform their vacation into memories that will last a lifetime, not just a place to spend the night. When offering a lifestyle experience, we’ve found people are primarily looking to connect with others during their trip. Communal and social opportunities for interaction are key.
Serve up a Taste of the Good Life
Food and drinks are at the heart of Margaritaville and another critical component of the lifestyle resort experience. A delicious meal or a toast at 5 O’Clock allows resort guests, as well as neighbors, to come together, relax and have fun. Everything from the restaurant’s menu and customer service to the staff uniforms and décor should be carefully thought out to reflect your brand image.
Deliver Memorable Customer Service
Something that should remain consistent throughout your brand is a passion for phenomenal customer service. When your employees truly believe in what you do, and love their job, they will spread that positivity to guests.
Lean in to the Location
While it’s necessary to have brand standards guests can count on from location to location, it’s also nice to mix your lifestyle within the community and culture. Bring in local ingredients for a menu item, serve locally sourced lionfish, feature a popular band from the area, or regionalize the décor. A 70:30 split is a good formula to follow – 70 percent signature Margaritaville and 30 percent destination-specific elements sprinkled throughout. This is the perfect recipe for a unique property.
A lifestyle and its corresponding brand can’t be manufactured – it has to originate from a real place. To be successful, a lifestyle brand must convey its unique experience with a natural authenticity to every guest, every time. The feeling that will come for guests will be hard for them to put a finger on, and it’s important to offer an experience that is captivating, unforgettable, and can’t be found anywhere else.