Chewton Glen’s take to the trees to revitalise their brand
I was lucky enough to spend a night in one of Chewton Glen's amazing Treehouse Suites this week. And it got me thinking about the power of core brand extension to revitalise a service brand like Chewton Glen, a luxury country hotel in Hampshire, South England. The Treehouse suites are built on stilts and have fabulous views over woodland. They opened two years ago and have had 75%+ occupancy ever since.
1. The power of product
Chewton Glen could have relied on communication to build its brand and business. Open any lifestyle magazine and it is likely to be full of adverts for luxury hotels. However, I suggest that investment in product, like Chewton Glen's Treehouse Suites, is a more effective route to growing the core. First, these new suites have become a distinctive brand property that helps Chewton Glen stand out and get remembered. "Oh, is that the hotel with the treehouses?", people might say. Second, the treehouses create a memorable experience for customers that will talked about, both face-to-face, in social media and in magazine articles.
2. Recruit new customers
All brands need to drive reach and trial to keep growing, and not rely on existing customers. Core brand extension is one way to do this. I would guess there are many people who knew about Chewton Glen, but didn't consider it, perhaps because they saw it as being a bit stuffy and traditional. And communication alone would have a limited effect on changing these perceptions. In contrast, product innovation like the treehouses has more chance of "provoking positive re-evaluation", and getting the brand into the consideration set for a place to stay.
3. Remember and refresh what made you famous
Like all hotels, Chewton Glen needs to stay loyal to what has made it successful, whilst rejuvenating itself to stay relevant. The key to doing this is to remember and refresh what made you famous.
Remember = Look back: Chewton Glen is famous for a being a British, country, luxury hotel with exceptional service
Refresh = Look forward: a new generation of potential customers want a lighter, brighter, fresher take on country chic
The treehouses beautifully blend both of these aspects. The suites are litterally close to nature, being in the treetops, so very much loyal to the country roots of the brand. Lots of little features deliver great service, such as breakfast hampers that appear, as if by magic, in a secret compartment next to the door. And the decor inside the suites is contemporary and fresh, with British traditional touches, such as modern designed sofas with tweed fabric finish.