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Strategic Brand Audit of Banyan Tree

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 2875 words Published: 26th Oct 2020

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Introduction: Banyan Tree

Banyan Tree was founded by the Singaporean couple Ho Kwon Ping and Claire Chiang. They were on a vacation in Bang Tao Bay, Thailand when they decided that it will be a great location for a resort. They then purchased the area to realize that due to long term tin mining in the area, the area is too toxic to support any plantation or development. (Lansing) However, they did not give up the land by selling it, instead, they went on a ten-year regeneration program to open the first Banyan Tree Phuket in 1994. Today, there are over 25 Banyan Tree Hotel and Resorts in 9 countries. (Brand Story)

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Target Market

Banyan Tree’s primary target is the luxury travel customers mainly couples that are searching for a romantic getaway, typically around the age of 30s and 40s. These are couples that are typically looking for a less over-tourist destinations to celebrate important lifetime events such as weddings, honeymoon, anniversaries, or simple romantic getaway. They are willing pay a premium such as 2,500 for a 4-day trip. Banyan Tree also seek companies that are interested in having off site training or meeting spaces, families and friends looking for unique cultural experiences. (Shen)

Recently, Bayan Tree also added more packages targeting travelers that are interested in experiences outside of romance and business. They now offer packages such as “Sense of exploration”, “Local Culture and Sights”, and “Unique Phuket Itinerary”. They are also offering wellness packages such as “sense of rejuvenation” that focuses on spa, massage, and meditation vacation. (Offers)


Banyan Tree’s top competitors are Aman Resorts, Six Senses, Four Seasons, and Shangri-La Hotels and resorts. (Banyan Tree Hotel & Resorts Competitors) All of these competitors are well known in the luxury hotel industry to provide the highest quality of rooms, the best services such as 5+ star hotel rating, butler services, hyper customized offering and services, world renowned SPA offering, and having the riches and most famous cliental in the world. All these hotels are known for the luxurious average daily rate of thousands to tens of thousands no matter the location of the hotel.

Brand Positioning

With so many luxury hotel brands leading the heated luxury market, Banyan Tree found an opportunity no one else has taken advantage of. Banyan Tree found the wide gap between high end luxury hotels such as Aman and the more affordable, still high-quality hotels. (Shen) By providing a Brand that is focused on providing great services that are naturally luxurious, ecological, and culturally sensitive experiences to its guests at the same time is relatively more affordable than Aman. (Brand Story) By delivering these goals, Banyan Tree has been able to win over 400 internationally recognized awards to boost the Brand.

Unique Selling Points

One can be easily fooled by Banyan Tree to be a substitute product to Aman Hotels and Shangri-La. However, if one look closely at Banyan Tree, one can see multiple aspects it has been able to differentiate itself from the rest of the competitors other than price. Banyan Tree does not only highlight the SPA and luxury side of visiting their resorts, they have a large portion of their product offering to be focused around sustainability. With their first resort to be converted from a toxic tin mine, the entire brand has been built on the idea of doing good to not just the guest but also the employees, locals, environment, and world. They have multiple programs that made sure the guests are aware of their sustainability goals and how they integrate their goals into their day to day operations such as wasting less, selling local art, and sourcing local. Guests can enjoy the luxury experience without the fear of harming the environment or locals. (Sustainability Report 2018) In 2009, they created Banyan Tree Global Foundation to have a centralized, global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.

They have a unique partnership with Accor Hotels so the Le Club Accor Loyalty Members can book through Accor website and still collect membership points. This is a way smaller hotels chains can still build their brand awareness without being directly in competition with Marriott and not having any loyalty incentive for guests to book Banyan Tree. (Accor Hotels)

Brand Essence

David Aaker defined Brand Essence as the summary, the soul of what the brand stands for. (Aaker)

Banyan Tree’s essence comes down to “A Sanctuary for the Senses”. Banyan Tree has been successful in their resort, pool, and SPA designs. Their hotel amenities are designed to “rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul” in unique destinations and “tropical garden villas and suites” in cities to create a sense of modern getaway. (Brand Story)

The resorts are chosen for their natural beauty. Banyan Tree has been known to build gorgeous resorts to fit into the natural elements without destroying the nature and locals. They focus on building large areas of greenery, planting variety of flowers and trees, have great air quality, and quality furniture choices to make sure guests are comfortable throughout their full stay at the resort. They also have their renowned SPA in all of their resorts where they focused more on “high-touch, low-tech” approach to relaxation. Using the finest natural ingredients to make all of their SPA products, the employees are able to provide encourage guests to relax their mind, body, soul.

For Banyan Tree in really crowded cities, they are still able to provide the brand essence through a different approach. They designed the hotels in a way that guests can forget the fact that they are still in a busy city. Providing the same quality service and most amenities the space provides, guests are still able to rejuvenate themselves before returning to the busy city life outside of the hotel. It all comes down to the employees that are able to consistently provide the quality service that help guests to relax and recharge before leaving the resort or hotel.

Brand Trust

Banyan Tree does not have a large corporation such as Marriott or Hilton to be the main driver of their trust. However, Banyan Tree has been able to build their own brand trust through little advertising efforts. Banyan Tree relies on the great reviews guests leave post stay and the effective word of mouth to build brand trust. Trip Advisor shows that all of Banyan Tree resorts and Hotels have a rating above 4.5 stars, this is difficult to achieve for one brand that is in 9 different countries. (Search Result: Banyan Tree)

Brand Motto

Banyan Tree has an interesting Motto in that they want to be a “Brand for Good” and a Brand that “embrace the environment and empower people”. The Motto aligns with their goal to be sustainable in every aspect possible. they want the guests to relax, recharge, leave more energized than entering Banyan Tree. On top of the guests, they ensure they use the land without destroying the natural habitat. Even though they haven’t done any large land restoration similar to the first Banyan Tree Hotel, they have been careful with all of their developments by getting all of their buildings LEED certified, they keep track of their waste management, and they are always setting new goals to improve their environmental foot print. Banyan Tree invests in their employees by providing them training, education, and great benefits. The employee satisfaction is high 80%. Banyan Tree also invest in the local’s wellbeing. They donate a large sum of money each year to educate and provide for the local communities on top of employing local employees into the hospitality industry. They also provide mentorship to young adult. Finally, Banyan Tree also donate and sponsor multiple worldwide initiatives such as endangered sea animal conservation. (Sustainability Report)

Brand Pillars

Banyan Tree breaks down their brand pillars into 10 sections

Discover our heritage and culture

This is Banyan Tree’s core in that Banyan tree itself historically provided shelter to travelers. It symbolizes relief and comfort from nature. And Banyan tree hotel and resort wants to be the modern Banyan Tree to the travelers by providing “naturally-luxurious, ecological, culturally-sensitive experiences”.

Sustainability from The Start

This state the beginning of the Brand and every employee needs to understand how the brand was built on the land UN declared to be too toxic for plantation and development. How the regeneration was successful and how the brand needs to prevent something so tragic to happening again.

The Experience for the Needs of the travelers

Banyan Tree has created different experiences for different types of travelers. Even though they started off the brand focusing on traveling for romance, they are now providing more and more offering for families, business, friends, and explorers.

Stay for Good – Do Well and Do Good

This is the pillar to expand on the sustainability outside of environment but to be sustainable to the employees, communities, locals, and the world. This also started their initiative to have guest participate in their educational and experiential conservation practices to cut down waste, support local economy, and learning about the culture.

Banyan Tree was the first hotel group to earn accreditation by Earth Check’s Responsible Meetings & Events Standard in 2015. With six hotels in five destination verified as responsible events operator, businesses that are environmentally focused can choose to host events at Banyan Tree without worrying the environmental footprint for hosting a gathering.

Banyan Tree has many more initiatives such as Green Imperative Fund matches every dollar guest stays with a dollar and in since 2001, banyan tree has been able to disburse over 4.1 million to support social and environmental. From 1 – 7 June all our hotels around the world commit to plant two trees per room night as a gesture of environment conservation and habit protection. You are invited to get involved and be part of this planting effort during this week each year. A week in June, all the hotels commit to plant two trees per room. 2007 they launch the seedling mentorship to nurture young adults to prepare them to enter the labor force. A week in October, all the hotels support and feed local communities. (Brand Story)

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Reasons to Believe

Banyan Tree provides numerous reports, certificates, rewards, and credible reviews to support all the things they claim the brand supports and provides. They have annual sustainability report to provide their progress and future goals in corporate social responsibility (CSR). They have incredible ratings through all the popular platforms. These reviews, reports, and word of mouth marketing are so strong that Banyan Tree has been able to achieve financial success without the support of large hotel chains such as Intercontinental or Marriott.

Banyan Tree has also been very successful in their Brand expansions such as opening individual SPA in other hotels or individual stores, they have more than 70 stores worldwide selling their Bath lines and other local art pieces. As Lee and Morrison stated in their research, brands that able to successfully launch these expansions must have a strong customer loyalty in their brand. Banyan Tree SPA is so successful that it opened in Greece where it is rare for an Asian brand to be able to enter the competitive SPA market in Europe. (Thorsteinsdottir)

Part 2. Critique of Key Brand Elements

Brand Name and Symbol

Banyan Tree has been known as the tree with large branches and leaves to provide shelter to travelers. It is a great name for the hotel because it automatically gives off a sense of nature, serenity, and peace. This is such a unique tree that it is easy for people to remember the name after hearing it once. The banyan tree logo also symbolizes the experience of recharging and relaxation one will receive by going to a Banyan Tree hotel.


Banyan Tree does not have its own website that is separate from all the other brands under Banyan Tree Holding. It does allow guests to book directly and there are a lot of information on the website about their brand. However, it is very confusing to try to navigate through the website to get to the areas one needs. In order to filter for only Banyan Tree hotel, one needs to unclick all the other brands instead of a simple drop-down menu.


Banyan Tree is very straightforward with their logo by making the logo a green banyan tree. This aligns with their brand because the customers can easily identify the green banyan tree to the Banyan Tree hotel and resorts. It is inviting everyone that needs a rest of their day to day busy lives to relax and recharge under the banyan tree.


Even though Banyan Tree has many slogans on their website, there is one that is consistently used in every aspect of their publications. The most used one would be “Banyan Tree provides naturally-luxurious, ecological, culture-sensitive experiences for the discerning, responsible traveler ". This shows the combination of what the brand stands for the what the brand offer to the guests. this slogan also pinpoints the cliental that wants to be responsible traveler.

Jingle / Character

Banyan Tree does not have a jingle nor a character. However, most of their YouTube Ads contain SPA music no matter which hotel they are introducing. They tend to pick sound tracks that make the viewer sense the SPA, Zen like experience to induce feeling of calmness at these resorts.


Banyan Tree does not have a lot signage throughout their hotel. The design of the hotel is usually clean, simple, and calming so they do not have many large and intense signages. They want the customers to enjoy the nature and peace as much as they can. So, they intentionally not have exciting signages.


Banyan Tree does offer a large selection of bath, SPA, and local products for guest to purchase. Along with their brand image of being sustainable and peaceful. They keep their packaging minimalistic yet still keeping the luxury look of the product.

Work Cited

  • “Sustainability Report 2018 Banyan Tree Holdings Limited.” 2018. http://investor.banyantree.com/PDF/Annual_Reports/2018/BTH_SR2018.pdf
  • Shen, Huawen. "Critical success factors for leading hotel brands in Asia: a case study of Banyan Tree." International Journal of Marketing Studies 7.3 (2015): 19.
  • “Brand Story.” Luxury Resorts Worldwide | Luxury Spa Hotels | Banyan Tree, www.banyantree.com/en/brand-story.
  • Aaker, David A., and Erich Joachimsthaler. Brand leadership. Simon and Schuster, 2012.
  • Lansing, Paul, and Paul De Vries. "Sustainable tourism: ethical alternative or marketing ploy?." Journal of Business Ethics 72.1 (2007): 77.
  • “Search Results: Banyan Tree.” TripAdvisor, www.tripadvisor.com/Search?geo=&searchNearby=&pid=3826&redirect=&startTime=1561689178688&uiOrigin=MASTHEAD&q=banyan tre&supportedSearchTypes=find_near_stand_alone_query&enableNearPage=true&returnTo=__2F__HotelHighlight__2D__g293916__2D__d302959__2D__Reviews__2D__Banyan__5F__Tree__5F__Bangkok__2D__Bangkok__2E__html&searchSessionId=B9CDA9D2BBA14C44516937AD3840B9661561689167928ssid&social_typeahead_2018_feature=true&sid=B9CDA9D2BBA14C44516937AD3840B9661561689184369.
  • “Le Club AccorHotels: Our World Revolves around You.” Www.accorhotels.com, www.accorhotels.com/leclub/join-loyalty-program/index.en.shtml.
  • Lee, J.K. and Morrison, A. M. “A Burst of Beds: Why Consumers Purchase Brand Extended Beds in the Upscale Hotel Industry?”  Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness
  • Thorsteinsdottir, Kristin. "The state of the European hotel spa sector." Journal of Retail & Leisure Property 4.3 (2005): 272-277.


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