How hoteliers can build their personal brand
by RUPESH PATEL
What would you like people to say about you? If you’re like most hotel hoteliers, you’re proud of your accomplishments. You want to be remembered for your hard work and successes. Today, I’m here to share how you can create a legacy with your personal brand.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos notably said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Today, personal branding isn’t just for celebrities and sports stars. Professionals like you and I are also taking advantage of this growth strategy. You may not know it, but you also have a personal brand out there. A personal brand is how others know you inside and outside of the hotel industry. It’s your unique story, your values, your reputation, and your impression upon the world.
EVERYONE HAS A PERSONAL BRAND.
Since 2015, I’ve been diligently creating my personal brand through the steps I’m going to share with you now. I have a successful brand that gets more than 250K views per month on my social posts with 32,000-plus followers. I’ve had the honor of being invited to speak at conferences, podcasts, and hospitality events. I get early leads on real estate deals, become a hospitality influencer, and now they’re actually hiring me to speak! This is all due to a powerful personal brand I’ve built! You can do it, too!
Think of it as marketing for your life.
Your personal brand is important to your legacy. It’s more important today as we live in a super-connected world. Building a solid personal brand can open many personal and professional doors.
Here are four actionable ways you can create your own personal brand:
- CREATE YOUR UNIQUE VALUE MESSAGE
Creating a memorable personal brand requires effort. Your personal brand can stick to you for a lifetime; that’s why it’s important to start by asking yourself the following questions.
• What am I passionate about?
• What’s my purpose?
• What are my interests?
• What can I contribute to the hotel industry, my network, or the world?
• Why am I creating a legacy?
• Who is my audience?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll better understand yourself and what value you can provide for others. For me, I choose to share my passions for hotel operations, leadership, and marketing. Your unique voice and experience is unlike anyone else’s, so don’t be afraid to be original.
- BE VISIBLE
The next step in branding yourself is to be visible to your target audience. For hoteliers, this means you should be visible in communities where other hoteliers reside. You can share your stories and experiences on multiple social channels.
Here are 10 channels you can use to start building your personal brand:
• Facebook and Facebook hotel groups
• Your personal blog site
• YouTube and videos
• Phone calls (coaching)
• Messaging (WhatsApp chats groups)
Get started by focusing on just a few of these channels. I started with LinkedIn and remain focused on it because I have the most-engaged audience there. Don’t worry about how many followers/connections you have; just show up and share! I started off with about 200 connections, and I’m now up to 32,000 followers.
Personal branding doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long game. You must build rapport with people. They have to know, like, and trust you. People know me on LinkedIn because I show up every day! I share my real-life hotel experiences. This visibility and openness has helped me connect with other amazing hoteliers, industry leaders, and like-minded professionals.
As they say, you’re only as strong as your network, and it’s not who you know, but who knows you. Your network is key to creating your personal brand. You won’t be able to create a personal brand all by yourself. You will need to rely on the connections, the people, who will be there to support and follow your brand.
Here are six tried-and-true networking tips for hoteliers:
• Attend hospitality conventions and conferences
• Show up to local hotel/lodging association gatherings
• Sign up to attend hotel brand regional meetings
• Make connections at conventions and visitors’ bureaus or chambers of commerce meetings
• Network at local interest meetup groups
• Reach out to like-minded folks on social sites
Now that you’ve picked out the events you want to attend, it’s time to actually make the connections you need to start building your personal brand. How? Let me explain. According to Steve Bressert, Ph.D., 40 percent to 60 percent of adults report being shy. That means more than half of the people attending a meetup or conference could be apprehensive to introduce themselves to a stranger.
Here are a few ways an introvert can overcome their shyness:
• Act confidently
• Make yourself vulnerable
• Just talk
• Understand we are all the same people
• Go with a friend
Building your network is important to your personal brand. Use these tips to have solid connections.
This step is actually my favorite part of the personal branding process. It’s on the top on my personal list because I love to share my real-life hotel and marketing experiences. I teach and share every day because I know it’s helping shape people’s lives. I also love being creative!
Now, I understand not everyone has the creative juices running through their veins, so here are 10 ideas you can use to help you start building your personal brand:
• Share your interests
• Talk about your life experiences
• Teach a topic or strategy
• Show a step-by-step procedure
• Inspire others with your favorite quote
• Highlight someone else’s successes
• Interview your mentor
• Create an engaging meme
• Make a video on how you got started in the hotel business
• Tell people about your personal life
Creating a personal brand seems like a lot of work but it’s really not, especially if it’s coming from your authentic self. My best advice is to simply START NOW and KEEP SHOWING UP!
Rupesh Patel is an award-winning hotel owner, hospitality influencer, and passionate entrepreneur. His website, smartguests.com, has helped more than 4,000 hotels improve their customer service, operations, and guest feedback. Rupesh hosts a live weekly hospitality show and regularly shares ideas, insights, and inspiration to his 32K+ followers on LinkedIn. Rupesh’s creative ideas and fun approach can help any business grow! He can be reached at www.rupesh.co.