In times of crisis, as in the current Covid-19 pandemic, design and visual messaging are more important than ever.
Throughout history, visual communication has been key to conveying vital messages. At a time of global crisis such as we are facing with Covid-19, when the public is being asked to make major and often drastic changes to their behaviour and way of life, it is imperative to use visual messaging that can evoke an emotional response that resonates with people of all cultures and backgrounds and drives the message home.
As hotels re-open, they must reassure their guests by demonstrating that they are Covid-19 compliant. Hotels should also provide guests with guidelines they should adhere to.
There are several ways that hotels can implement this whilst still maintaining their brand identity.
Branded materials can include signage, leaflets, information cards and posters displayed in communal areas of hotels such as the reception desk, concierge or restaurant, as well as in individual guest rooms. These could provide details on health and safety procedures, personal hygiene, social distancing, recognising the symptoms, frequently asked questions, and where to get help. Have a clear message and focus on the facts in your branded materials.
Stay ‘on brand’
Consistency is important; continue to follow your brand guidelines such as your brand colours and fonts. Staying consistent and ‘on brand’ will strengthen recognition and reinforce a sense of comfort with your guests, which in turn will put them at ease and make them more receptive to your products and services. A cohesive brand sets you apart from the competition and informs guests about your business DNA.
Help customers know what to expect
A brand that is reliably consistent and clear in its messaging removes doubt and confusion in the mind of the guest because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand. You know what to expect at a Marriott or W hotel anywhere in the world, for example. Being understanding and empathetic is crucial at such a time as guests may be feeling nervous.
Create an emotional connection
Hotels need to think about the entire customer experience, increasingly important in these challenging times…everything from a logo, website, social media experiences, the way the phone is answered, to the way guests experience your staff. A good, strong brand connects with guests at an emotional level; they feel good when they buy the brand and engage with the organisation.
At this current time, hotels need to do as much as possible to give reassurance to their hotel guests as well as re-engage with staff.
By creating visuals and graphics that engage at an emotional level, hotels can reassure guests that their safety has been prioritised. Clear and effective communication is more important now than ever before. Posters can inform guests of pandemic-related updates, or signage to direct guests to a hand sanitiser station, for example. Ensuring the well-being of guests at all times is essential.
The artwork on your walls can play an important part in creating the right mood. Guests may be wanting to stay at a hotel as a form of escapism, for some much needed time to spend with friends and family post lockdown, to celebrate a special birthday or milestone anniversary.
A hotel’s graphics and visuals can create a relaxing and uplifting atmosphere. At this time, these could be dreamy and fantasy-like where guests can escape into their world of imagination and take the strain off the daily challenges caused by the pandemic – one way to make the ‘new normal’ more enjoyable.
Illustrations and infographics can also be used on your materials for clear, easy to follow messaging.
Mind the cultures
A study has revealed that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME) have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 deaths. Hotels should be mindful and sensitive to guests from those communities who may have lost many loved ones and feel particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged. Empathy and understanding will go a long way to making them feel at ease.
Hotels should use inclusive imagery in their communications. Guests want to see themselves in the communication, social media, posters and leaflets, and know that hotels relate to them and their needs. For a diverse, international audience, hotels should show global representation in skin colour, features, hair styles, and overall look.
By Vaishali Shah, of Creative ID