Updated: Aug 26, 2019
You know you have the best chefs in the business; you know you only use fresh ingredients; plus, you know that your Grandmother's secret recipe for home-made apple pie is mouth-wateringly addictive.
But none of this will matter if you can’t get new patrons through your doors and prove it to them.
Marketing for hospitality is in a constant state of change due to the volatile modern digital platforms out there. To give your brand the edge over your competitors, every hospitality company needs to be shrewd with their marketing strategy.
Here are 3 helpful tips.
-VISUAL CONTENT HAS POWER
The nature of the hospitality industry lends itself well to nice photos, so you can use that to your advantage. Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube are three platforms that should be your best friends.
Visual content, like images and videos, are 40 times more likely to get shared than other types of content.
The future is smartphones, so if you’re not already planning to utilise this platform, you should be! Smartphones connect to all social media platforms which are becoming increasingly image- and video-focused.
Writing about your unique venue won’t work nearly as well as photos of the real thing.
When it comes to retaining digital advertising information, 49% of consumers recall a visual image, compared to the 41% who recall a price or deal.
A unique and tasty appearance is crucial for standing out from other hospitality companies and making your customers tummy's rumble.
Lock in a style so your brand voice (visuals and tone) are used by the whole company. This keeps your branding consistent across all channels.
-LOVE AND REWARD YOUR CUSTOMERS
Start a loyalty programme if you haven’t already got one and encourage your customers to engage with your digital marketing platforms, such as a Facebook page.
Digital advertising tends to be more cost-effective than traditional methods for a few reasons:
· It’s 24/7 - you can post whenever you need to, at any time
· Targeting is more direct, so the right people see your ads
· Communication is two-way
· Your customers can share your content to a wider audience
Don’t just assume your customers will be completely loyal, though. They need rewards, stimulating advertising and a menu that doesn't go past its used by date, otherwise they could drift off.
Even though it’s not one of the newer marketing trends in the hospitality industry, the loyalty programmes' are here to stay and will get progressively more digital.
Social platforms connect your brand with customers new and old, as well as providing an outlet to address any inquiries they have (which increases customer satisfaction).
The more conversations that come online around your brand, the stronger your brand gets. So, engage with audiences on social media and encourage your customers to post pictures of their food on their own social media profiles and tag your business.
You may have to offer them something in return, but it’s a way to get free advertising and have customers tell their friends how good you are.
If you have great visual content, they’re more likely to share that online, so try to go for an original photograph rather than a stock image.
-OFFER A PAINLESS CUSTOMER RESERVATION PROCESS
Today, the most convenient way to make a booking is not a phone call.
A relatively new digital system trickling into Australia, is booking at bars and restaurants through third party apps. Apps like EatClub allow businesses to list their restaurants to promote last-minute bookings on empty tables.
In NZ, RestaurantHub is similar. Being available on such apps gives your business an extra avenue of exposure, as well as the opportunity to offer discounts to get new bums on seats.
It’s then up to you to turn them into a satisfied and returning customer.
Social Media Reservations
If someone messages you to make a booking through social media, you’re already doing something right. They’ve found you and something on your profile has prompted a visitor enough to get them to take action.
However, your job isn’t over until that booking has been confirmed. Ensure one of your staff is in charge of all social media accounts to deliver a timely, friendly response that completes a booking.
You don’t want to send them to your website or a phone number, you just need to confirm the reservation ASAP.
People expect to be able to do everything online. If you don’t have a user-friendly online booking system, you’re missing out on customers. It’s as simple as that.