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Like it or not, every hotel has a ‘tone of voice’ – a way of writing that expresses their brand. It could be friendly and conversational, cool and aloof, professional and businesslike, quirky and off the wall.

For some brands it’s clearly defined and strategically planned - Mal Maison for example. But for others it’s a mish mash of inconsistent language and messages. This is because for most hotels the way they write has gradually evolved over time – and it’s often been the domain of different people, each with their own ‘style’.

There is no ‘quick fix’ for tone of voice, but these are our top five tips for making your words distinctive and hard working:

1) Think it through

First, consider what your brand is all about, what is your target audience, what language would they respond to… Your language should reflect who you are and what you stand for.

2) Get into character

It may help to think about your brand as a famous personality – someone who perhaps shares your values and would appeal to your audience. Having a well known voice in your head when writing can help breathe more life into your writing.

3) Be consistent

Every time your audience reads your literature they build an impression of your brand. It could be your website, your booking emails, your confirmation letter, keycards, even your laundry list… Think about how you can bring your tone of voice to life at every customer ‘touch point’.

4) Develop guidelines

You may find it useful to develop some language guidelines for your hotel. These could be as simple a single page set of tone of voice values, or a full manual of ‘dos and don’t’. You can then use this as a point of reference for everything you write – and use it to guide any designers or external copywriters who you might use.

5) Flex to suit your audience

Of course, it’s important that you have a clear tone of voice, but you should always have space to flex within this and adapt your voice for your audience. They way you speak to a business and leisure audience may need to be different.

At Ink, we've helped a long list of hotel brands, as well as individual hotels, find and implement their own distinctive tone of voice. To find out how we could help you, drop us a line at or call 01225 731 373

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We’re all familiar with text speak in one way or another, even if it’s just the basics of gr8, LOL and atm. But now there’s a new (ish) craze sweeping the nation, thanks to the predictive text function on mobile phones.

When you set your mobile to predictive text – often known as the T9 dictionary* – and type in a word, the first option it comes up with may be different to the one you actually want. For example, type in ‘cool’ and it comes up as ‘book’.

But it seems that teens – constantly striving to be misunderstood – are now using these alternatives instead of the actual words they represent. This is now so commonplace that, according to the Telegraph, the Oxford English Dictionary are considering entering ‘book’ into its dictionary, under the meaning ‘cool’.

Confused? You’re not alone. But while many will dismiss this craze as silly, David Crystal, a linguistics expert at Bangor University quoted in the Telegraph article, believes that ‘the language shows incredible ingenuity and a high degree of literacy on [the user’s] part’.

And he’s got a point. After all, the English language constantly adapts and changes. It embraces new words to describe new things, such as ‘internet’ and ‘petaFLOPS’ (a measure of computer processing speed). It borrows words from other languages such as ‘en route’ or ‘rendezvous’ and was a melting pot of German, Latin and other languages, in the first place.

Even punctuation had to change to fit in with the modern, online world. It’s much easier for people to recognise an em dash (–) than a semi-colon when reading text on a screen, for example. And most newspapers these days have little problem starting a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’ – something that would have been a huge ‘faux pas’ just a few years ago.

The evolution of English is nothing new. Shakespeare himself made up over 1,500 words for instances when no other would fit – something that has driven GCSE English students to distraction ever since.

So, while they’re getting their heads around Hamlet, maybe we should cut texting teenagers a bit of slack and accept the prevailing lingo of the day, gongu**.

Here’s some of our favourite textonyms – or T9onyms – to get you started:

**gongu = innit

book = cool

lips = kiss

poisoned = smirnoff

shot = pint

carnage = barmaid

eat = fat

nun = mum

*T9, which stands for ‘text on 9 keys’, is named after patented predictive text technology developed especially for use on mobile phones.