The Ritz-Carlton ‘modernises’ its brand to appeal to the Airbnb generation

The Ritz-Carlton has launched a new logo and is “modernising” its brand voice according to Lisa Holladay, its VP of global brand marketing, as the luxury hotel chain changes its marketing in a bid to appeal to Generation Y.

The Ritz-Carlton is aiming to modernise its brand and change its marketing approach

The new logo, which is a lighter blue than previously but retains the brand’s signature lion and crown, has been changed for the first time in the 32-year history of The Ritz-Carlton.

Holladay says it is part of a wider approach, which has seen the hotel chain look to open hipper restaurants within its sites, remove the formal dining experience and serve guests in a more informal way.

The brand has also moved to change its design so that no two properties are alike and instead reflect their locations, with local and cultural influences integrated into each site’s look.

“This is about modernising the brand and making sure we are relevant to the next phase of luxury travellers, who do perhaps also enjoy boutique hotels and Airbnb,” she told Marketing Week.

“In the US we have almost 100% brand awareness but in our growing markets such as Asia and the Middle East that drops significantly, so we’re hoping the bolder logo and its completely unique colour in this space will help us to stand out.”

The logo change will be backed by a digital campaign, which will mix interactive and video content, according to Holladay.

Modernising the business

Two years ago the brand decided to change its internal strategy with a focus of “modernising” every aspect of the business.

“Our target over the last two years has been to make sure everything from food to marketing is appealing to ‘Generation Y’ and that will be the focus until 2020,” explained Holladay.

“The Berner’s Tavern in the London Edition Hotel is proof that you can have restaurants inside hotels that are really cool and can stand alone as unique brands. That is a big focus for us as traditionally our food outlets are about fine dining and elegance; we want to make sure they evolve.”

Holladay believes that a lot of luxury hotel brands are continuing to pursue “outdated” strategies and risking “getting left behind” with the rise of alternative services.

Over the last five years, Airbnb, for example, has grown its summer guests from 47,000 to 17 million in summer 2015; a growth of 353%.

Holladay concluded: “The new generation are not looking for luxury hotel brands that stay the same and don’t have relevancy.

“Today’s luxury traveller wants brands digging in their heels and offering something surprising. We want to make sure The Ritz-Carlton is leading the way and doesn’t get left behind.”

  • Do you want to ensure your brand’s travel campaign gets the recognition it deserves? Enter the travel marketing category in this year’s Masters of Marketing. Go to the Masters site for details of how to enter.

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