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How to Choose an Inspiring Brand Name for Your Hotel
Looking to come up with a brand name for your hotel? It’s a big decision. After all, your name is the key to communicating your identity and the experience you will offer to your guests. But how do you come up with an original name that’s unique, memorable, and sets you apart from your competitors?
To inspire you, we’ve picked five examples of hotels with catchy and meaningful names, followed by a series of methods you can use to come up with your own brand name ideas during your next brainstorm.
1. The Upper House, Hong Kong
The name of this upscale property in Hong Kong evokes a sense of understated luxury. It hints at a superior level of service, without sounding overly showy and ostentatious. Located in the central business district on top of Pacific Place shopping complex, the name Upper House also serves another purpose. As described on the hotel website, it’s intended to signify “an upward journey…” that transports guests “above the bustling city to a serene house…”. It’s a well-chosen name that appeals to the idea of escaping the urban environment for a place of detachment and calm.
2. Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, USA.
Certain hotel names have the power to instantly transport you to a specific destination. Shutters on the Beach is one such example. Just steps from the sand in Santa Monica, this elegant beach house has a catchy name that appeals to the senses — an invitation to imagine flinging open the shutters of your room to the sunlight and salt-air breeze. In this case, we’re invited to picture ourselves enjoying a lazy oceanside getaway.
3. The Fortress Resort & Spa, Galle, Sri Lanka.
With its imposing high walls and towering columns, this 5-star property has a name that instantly conjures up thoughts of colonial grandeur. In fact, it was designed to resemble Galle’s famous Dutch Fort, built by the Portuguese back in the 17th century.
Today, luxury hotel brands often choose names more reserved and unassuming in nature. That certainly isn’t the case here. The Fortress is an assertive name that’s very much rooted in the history and architecture of the area’s colonial past.
4. Urban Cowboy, Nashville and Brooklyn, USA.
We’re not sure if the name of this boutique B&B is directly inspired by the 1980 John Travolta movie. But it’s clearly designed to grab attention and let guests know about the experience that awaits them. The phrase “Urban Cowboy” is used to describe a city dweller that wears Western-style clothes. That’s a pretty good description for the two properties in Nashville and Brooklyn. Both offer a hip-meets-rustic experience in an urban location.
5. Hotel Boheme, San Francisco, USA.
This boutique San Francisco property is located in the city’s North Beach neighborhood, known for being the heart of the 1950s Beat movement. As a name, Hotel Boheme has romantic connotations — a nod to the area’s counterculture past. It’s also an accurate description of the no-frills interiors, designed with a retro flair that will appeal to anyone wanting to experience a taste of the bohemian lifestyle.
How to come up with your own hotel name
Coming up with a name for your hotel is worth careful consideration. As illustrated by the examples above, a great hotel name is distinctive, memorable, and often infused with an underlying meaning.
Below, we’ve listed some methods to help inspire you when choosing your own name.
Focus on Unique Selling Points
One approach is to think about your hotel’s unique selling points. These might include:
- Geography: Does your hotel have a noteworthy geographical setting? For example, words such as “Bayfront”, “Waterside”, “Hillcrest”, or “Oak Wood” all conjure up specific images that can be used to create an attractive-sounding hotel name.
- Culture and history: The cultural or historic context of your hotel may also be relevant. For instance, the name “Hotel Boheme” is inspired by the ‘50s beat movement that took place in its North Beach neighborhood. If your property or neighborhood has an interesting cultural or historical background, this can become part of your name and your overall brand story.
- Address: Could you choose a name inspired by your neighborhood? This could involve creating a name based on your physical address. For instance, a property on “10 Westwood Avenue” could become “Hotel 10 Westwood”.
- Values and purpose: It might be helpful to think about your values and purpose. For example, eco-friendly resorts often use names that reflect nature or have a sensual quality (such as “Element by Westin” and “Six Senses”).
- Architecture and design: Does your property have a distinctive physical attribute or building material? The architecture and design of a hotel can prove a source of inspiration. For instance, words such as “Red Brick”, “Cobblestone”, and “Cedarwood” have a pleasing rhythm and calming quality that can become part of a name.
Think about the guest experience
Another way to approach your name is to consider things from your guests’ perspective. What do you want them to feel and think about your hotel? Is there a certain mood or experience you want to communicate to them?
As part of this process, it can be helpful to come up with a guest persona. This involves digging deep into who your typical guest is. Once you’ve identified who your main customer is, brainstorm different words that relate to the experience they’re looking for.
For example, hotels targeting business travelers (such as The Peninsula, InterContinental, and Renaissance Hotels) have names that feel dynamic, prestigious and aspirational. They speak to a lifestyle or persona that many of their guests may wish to embody.
If there isn’t an obvious fit — don’t force it. Many of the world’s biggest hotel brands don’t have names with a clear and obvious meaning. This isn’t a license to pick any old name, but it is worth reflecting on if you can’t find an obvious connection.
Another option to help spark your initial ideas is to use a name generator site, such as squadhelp and Fantasy Name Generators. These shouldn’t be seen as the final solution, but a stepping stone to coming up with your own original identity.
Do your research
Finally, carry out your research to check the name you’re considering hasn’t already been registered. It should be unique for a number of reasons — not least of which to ensure you’re not competing with another property on the exact same name in the search results.
If you’re marketing overseas, check how your name translates into different languages. The last thing you want is a name that has an embarrassing or offensive meaning in another country.
Time to create your hotel name
Whether you’re starting a brand-new property or relaunching an existing brand, the name of your hotel is a huge part of your identity. While it’s nice to have a name that has some deeper meaning or symbolism, what really matters is that it feels true to your values and communicates a clear message to your guests.
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