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Hara House - The Now Protocol

Hara House

THE BRIEF

The owners of the Ovens Valley Motor Inn in the picturesque town of Bright, Victoria had a vision: Transform their quaint motel into a standard-setting boutique hotel. After 18 years managing the 24 room venture, it was time to unlock its true potential.
With a quality accommodation model, plans to enhance and expand the capacity and amenity of the inn, and solid reputation as a ‘multi-experience’ destination (Cycling/Skiing/Bus Tours etc.) Ovens Valley Motor Inn (OVMI) could create a superior branded experience, benefitting the:
  • Owners
  • Bright community
  • Region
  • Clientele.
This was an important project at a challenging time. Because of budget, manpower and supply chain issues post-Covid, delivering a high value, cost effective plan to optimise and monetise every opportunity was critical.
But we love a challenge. Working closely with the senior design team at Corlette Design, we got to work.

THE SOLUTION

For all the disruption and havoc the pandemic brought, other factors were (and are) in play; creating new opportunities for brands to develop, position and monetise their service offering.

Long before Covid, the Peer-to-Peer business model had disrupted the Sector. By providing travellers with another accommodation type they could experience ‘place and space’ on their own terms. AirBnB let people choose what they wanted; aligned with their needs, and expectations.

That Genie is never going back in the bottle.

Another factor is how people responded to lockdown living. As Work-From-Home (WFH) became the dominant aspect of peoples’ lived experience in ‘20/’21, the home environment took on a new importance. How people interacted with their own space changed the perception of how they lived. Domestic spaces were augmented with additional features, becoming a personalised cocoon; somewhere comforting; individual and expressive; where someone could get more from the environment they’d previously spent less time in.

Psychologically, this shifted perceptions of what spaces look and feel like; now considered through the lens of individual expression and expectations.

So we created a logic to optimise space and place: Niche Thinking.

This is a once-in-a generation chance to set the gold standard for the ‘travel-at-home’ domestic holiday experience.

Unlocking this, to create greater client value requires specific skills which:

  • Define the commercial, actionable and efficient strategy to monetise every opportunity
  • Concurrently design and integrate multiple branded experiences that contribute to, and integrate with, the updated brand and revenue model
  • Efficiently and cost-effectively activate revenue generating, value enhancing strategies for each branded entity
  • Support and drive ongoing commercial benefits from each activity
  • Position and represent this value and benefit to community stakeholders and businesses to build engagement and buy-in.

You know you have great clients when you pitch an approach like this, and their response is, “Right-o, let’s get cracking.”

The proposed re-development, and wide range of experiences available in the area create a unique opportunity for an evolved and future-focused brand to own and drive the future of tourism, and local participation, here.

Building engaging, varied and memorable destination experiences requires all activities to project their special character, benefit; and seamlessly integrate so the perception of the experience is clearly and naturally connected to the brand.

This also can become a replicable strategy applied to other areas of opportunity, creating new revenue streams and reinforcing the client’s thought-and-commercial leadership status in the sector.

We developed a brand strategy, platform and delivery structure that:

  • Represents and projects facilities and attractions to activate multiple, memorable experiences for guests and visitors; and enhance revenue for the business

Any expenditure must deliver the best return on that investment. Our strategy was based on a staged approach where each activity proves its worth by creating:

  • Visibility
  • Attraction
  • Revenue
  • Reputation
  • Repeat Custom

STAGE 1:

Create the Environment for Success

  • Identify the rules for what success looks like, and use this as the framework/criteria for all activity
  • Map high value ‘Brand=Value’ opportunities that can be efficiently and cost-effectively developed and delivered
  • Develop a Stage-by-Stage plan to realise these opportunities in a structured, manageable and consistent way
  • Identify and engage and key stakeholders in business, community and Local/State/Federal Government

STAGE 2:

Make the Most of What You Already Have

  • Identify and review the high-value brand attributes of your current Identity, offer and point-of-difference
  • Make recommendations on where/how to leverage existing output/offers, enhance the client experience, and add value in new areas
  • Develop an engaging, practical and versatile Master Brand Identity with your brand at its centre, and the platform for additional brand-building activity
  • Allow for the staged release of brand activities that maximise revenue and enhance reputation (based on your priorities and intended outcomes)
  • Align output with your Sales and Marketing Strategy and Content/Channel Strategy

STAGE 3:

Release Next Stage Brand Experiences into the new Brand Universe

Concurrent with the activities identified in Stage 1 & 2, design and develop aligned brand experiences (e.g ‘En Plein Air’ Art Classes/Glamping)

Take a strategic approach the release of these experiences, based on:

  • Ease of Development (e.g. The Farmers Market @)
  • Enhancing and reinforcing Brand reputation (new initiatives that utilise/re-purpose existing spaces/environments)
  • Collaboration with other Establishments/Providers/Area Initiatives
  • Developing a ‘Take-Us-Home’ Lifestyle Brand for sales of  products/homewares

STAGE 4:

Spread your Influence and Value for the Biggest Impact

  • Activate and populate thought and opinion leadership opportunities
  • Reinforce your ‘Employer of Choice’ status to attract and retain high quality staff
  • Identify areas with a similar tourism profile you can replicate your model in
  • Share/Monetise your expertise to assist/educate entrepreneurs/local institutions/community groups

Developing the Hara House name was a collaborative affair. In many cultures ‘Hara’ describes the belly; the inner tranquillity and balance that flows from it. In the local Dhudhuroa language, Bandarra (pronounced “barnyhara”) also means belly. The alliteration of the two H’s and two syllable/one syllable flow is a nice touch, too.

 

The Key Attributes of the Hara House Brand Story

  • The sense of space and place where people are welcomed and cared for
  • The joy and shared benefit of making people feel comfortable and at home
  • A vision to create future memories that reflect a life well-travelled
  • Change and reinvigoration that the seasons represent
  • Appreciation of the gifts nature has bestowed on us, and its traditional owners
  • An experience that words can’t describe, or do justice to
  • The indigenous perspective that spaces and nature’s bounty are meant to be shared
  • Our name represents what and how you feel when you are here; not where you are
  • Custodians of this place; caring for those who come here, and for the land we’re on
  • To tell our story, we need to share the story of the traditional owners
  • The abundant natural and human energy that enlivens and motivates all who experience this

In creating a consistently engaging experience, a brand’s tone of voice should engage, across every communication. Whether it’s written, spoken or physicalised, the message needs to be clear and human. That’s why the language we use to welcome a new guest reflects the same respect and commitment handling a complaint does.

To validate this approach, we carefully consider our language against every touchpoint in the journey a guest takes with us. By doing this, you’ll find out pretty quickly if you’ve made the right choice.

Rooms that entice, cocoon and inspire

Suites and rooms feature classic exposed bricks; subtle lighting; wood veneer accents; gloriously patterned tiles and brilliant Utopia Goods graphic elements. Add in eclectic art representing nature and individual expression, accentuated by beautiful local native flowers, and harmony reigns supreme here.

Room themes are also beautifully curated to match the core attributes of the region: the glory of Nature and invigorating change our seasons reflect; the freedom and life-affirming joy of exploration; exhilaration and meditation of a journey riding the paths and tracks.

One of our special skills is to look at a space and innately feel what it can become. Plus, how it can create more revenue. At Hara House, two adjoining family rooms in a corner of the U-Shaped block were just felt they’d make the perfect Day Spa. Of course, having a mint condition 70’s sauna in one of the rooms may have been the trigger.

When you can create multiple spaces that satisfy different needs, you are helping create ‘by-the-hour’ revenue. As importantly, you’re giving guests more opportunities to get more from their time with you.

For us, that’s the indicator of a job well done.

The company you keep is an indicator of the character you possess. Sure, were in a world full of ‘Collabs’, but in reality two brands with an aligned ethos that are a good fit just work( like’ “Hey, you’ve got an amazing hotel set in a natural wonderland, and we make amazing personal products using native botanicals…!).

Co-branding isn’t just about how two logos look together (that’s a consideration, for sure), it’s how the combination of the two creates something right, better even. Then there’s the value for both brands in accessing the ‘followship’ of the other.

Doing the homework on the ‘why’ is where we start the process of partner identification. The ‘what’ is more like a proof point. And finding local creators is a biggie, as you’re doing something that enlivens the community, creates jobs and enhances the fabric your piece of the planet.