Líbere hospitality - Your way, your rules

Year2021

AreaHospitality & Tourism

DisciplinesBrand Identity Design
Graphic Design
Copywriting
Brand Strategy
Naming
Product Conceptualization
Signage
Typography
Copywritting

In 2020, one of the most interesting projects we have ever had the chance to take on was added to our portfolio. Just days before lockdown, we began creating a new hospitality brand for a new client: All Iron Group,

the business group led by Jon Uriarte y Ander Michelena, fundadores en su día de la exitosa Ticketbis,

who founded the once successful Ticketbis, and who subsequently carried out one of the biggest transactions in the sector when they sold it to the giant eBay.

All Iron Group is based in Bilbao and has diversified investments always related to highly innovative start-ups. This is something that runs through the DNA of all its operations, which include around 40 participating companies, some of which are very well known, such as Lookiero, Jeff, Job and Talent, Lingokids, Seedtag and Spotahome, as well as several in Europe, the USA and Latin America.

The group’s real estate branch, All Iron Real Estate, is focused on investments in real estate assets: building plots, buildings (hotels, offices, residential), and conversion and renovation opportunities in prime and semi-prime areas of major Spanish and European cities. The company already has several buildings in Madrid, Valencia, San Sebastian, Vitoria, Valencia, Cordoba, and Barcelona in Spain, and Budapest and Lisbon internationally.

The project’s objective was to create a new marketing brand to use these buildings for the hospitality sector including the group’s REITs and the third-party owned properties which make up: urban aparthotels, student or cooperative residences, hotels or hotels.

The brand architecture should allow different lines to be created based on the type of business unit (hotel, hostel, flats) and also provide a solution to the additional services and products offered as add-ons to the accommodation itself.

The new hotel sector: investment funds and REITs

This project is a clear example showing how investment funds and REITs, which first revitalised the real estate sector and were instrumental in helping it to regain strength after ten years of crisis, have recently jumped into the hospitality sector, attracted by its high-profit margins and providing a competitive edge to traditional hotel companies. Initially, this led to a boom in purchases, mainly in holiday destinations.

In recent years this has shifted to urban and secondary markets such as those operated by our client. Time will tell how the purchases resulting from the COVID crisis, which has strangled many small hoteliers, might be the solution to the liquidity problems of many companies in the sector.

From "you can't" to "what if?"

We quickly discovered that we were dealing with a unique client. Jon and Ander are extremely direct, tight-knit and radiate a corporate culture that trickles through a very horizontal structure where teamwork, collaboration and co-creation, communication and a good atmosphere, self-management, demand and vocation for leadership, disruption and technological thinking including, questioning, simplifying, technifying and scaling are all priorities. Daring to redefine established concepts and turn them upside down, to improve the customer experience through technology and generate scalable operating models is what perfectly defines the spirit of this investor and entrepreneur duo as well as their entire team. It is a creative and rebellious personality that they combine with profound wisdom and insight into investment business and technology, perceiving the (dis)advantage of not having previous operational experience in the sector as an opportunity to let go of the burdens that prevent them from redefining roles and processes.

A consequence of this spirit is also their commitment to generating value instead of pure speculation. The aim is to question the established norms and continue operating from Bilbao, far away from the large tourist business centres and with a view to generate a hospitality niche under the protection provided by the post-industrial, high-tech economy that characterises the Basque business fabric.

This wisdom and ability to see outside the box allowed us to look for differentiation from other international hospitality brands focused on this same type of product, such as Oyo, Sonder, Domio, or Cuckozz. They base their proposal on a “feel at home” feeling based on the spaces’ physical attributes (urban, cosy & chic design), with a high social and multicultural component (locally inspired vibe) focused on an urban and active profile, more outward than inward, and reinforced with shared activities in common spaces.

So we were aware that our task was none other than to pick up this corporate culture and give it life and narrative through a new brand that would also question many of the sector’s clichés. It would take advantage of the gap left by the rest, offering medium and long stays to families and also to companies. Furthermore, it was necessary to contextualise it considering the exceptional moment we are living through, in the midst of a pandemic that is going to alter many of our behavioural and consumption habits, including the use of spaces and specifically the concept and use of what we consider to be home.

And that was the starting point

We asked ourselves some questions: What is home, especially during this pandemic? When hoteliers talk about home, are they talking about the one you want, the one you like, the one you need, or the one they create for you and which is the same for all their clients? What do we mean when we talk about personalisation? Is technology dehumanising us? Do we want to / can we continue to live “outwards” with this high social component in our relationships?

And what if we redefine the “feel at home” hotelier, which is the mantra of 99% of the sector?

On the basis of these reflections and taking in the company’s culture and its possibilities for development through technology, we reformulated the product and experience. We then summarised it in five insights that are the soul of the new brand:

Aligning product and experience

On the basis of these reflections and taking in the company’s culture and its possibilities for development through technology, we reformulated the product and experience. We then summarised it in five insights that are the soul of the new brand:

Para el desarrollo de los diferentes servicios asociados, planteamos un modelo monolítico flexible que permite un escalado natural agrupándolos por temáticas.

Para redondear esta arquitectura y dotarla de un sentido unitario, planteamos el la propuesta de valor que define la experiencia Líbere en todas sus líneas de negocio y de producto: “Your way, your rules”. Vivir, disfrutar, decidir todos los aspectos de tu vida desde la libertad y sin tener que ceñirse a límites establecidos por terceros. 

Finally, our proposed positioning is accompanied by an ad-hoc tone of voice. A brand that offers such a significant change in service needs new concepts to talk about tourism. As such, in Líbere’s message, we question the concepts most commonly used in the sector (customer, home, personalised service, etc.), and we will make them evolve towards Líbere’s domain, turning technology into a close asset that evokes emotion and gives back freedom and intimacy to our customers. A friendly and inspiring voice, a tone that speaks of freedom, but from a position of serenity and closeness; a style of communication that is not noticeable but is appreciated, minimalist and very efficient with its messages, supporting them without being redundant or excessive.

The Visual Identity

The visual identity is born around a simple, typographic logo where different characters choose their own alignment, height and position within the final composition. The serene and natural tones convey a sense of welcoming, cosiness, comfort and closeness; and of nature and sustainability. They also evoke simplicity, minimalism and the serene rebelliousness of those who aspire to inner fulfilment, with the conviction that they know what they want for themselves and their loved ones.

All in all, a new brand for a new type of tourism that is highly technological and digitalised in favour of experience, that moves away from stereotypes, that seeks relevance and more authentic proposals, where it is essential to be aligned with the concerns of our target audience. This is unquestionably a new type of hotel for the unprecedented times we live in.

Mandarina Brand Society Mandarina Brand Society

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