The power of digital marketing for your hospitality business
You may well have the best restaurant furniture design, the best venue on earth, serve the best food and drink, employ the best employees and offer the most fabulous service. But how do you drive business to your venue? How can you make sure you are discovered? How can you make sure that customers who have already frequented your establishment come back time and time again? This guide aims to uncover the most powerful digital marketing methods to ensure you’re bursting at the seams with continued custom.
Define your target audience
Before selecting which mix of media you’re going to use for your marketing, first define your target audience. Who are they? What’s important to them? What are they really like as individuals and where are they looking online when it comes to researching hospitality venues? What floats their boat? Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you can decide which route will influence them best.
Measure, measure and measure some more
While it’s true that digital marketing can be highly beneficial, it’s necessary to make sure of your return on investment. So before you do anything, please bear this in mind. At first, your marketing strategy may be a mix of trial and error. Some areas may work effectively and others, not so successfully. However, you can track this by keeping clear records of your spend vs. your return. A pattern will very quickly emerge and you will be able to improve your strategy very quickly.
As we all know, a website is the shop front of any business and is vital for 99% of businesses. And, it’s generally observed that the simpler the website and the easier to navigate, the stronger relation it will have to the number of bookings received.
So, keep it simple. Make sure the design, copy and imagery reflects and upholds your brand and matches your venue. Really try and portray the mood of your setting. If you serve food,feature your menu. Ensure each page has a clear call to action (an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action). Allow them to book a table quickly and easily online, not just via telephone call.
PPC vs SEO
Pay Per Click (PPC) is a targeted way of buying visits to your site that will hopefully end in conversions, i.e. sales, or in this instance, bookings.We then have SEO which is the activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings. Search results in Google display the pages it considers relevant and authoritative.
It’s common in the early days of your digital marketing strategy for the potential need to make more use of PPC. The main reason for this is that SEO takes time and if you don’t fancy waiting up to six months to see improvement in your search rankings, then paid search could help prospects visit your website today. However, organic results have a sense of authority and so in the long-term this may work better.
We would recommend using a mixture of both to maximise your search presence, just make sure you keep an eye on performance vs cost to enable you to make informed decisions for your strategy moving forward.
Content is still King
In support of your SEO strategy, content really is still king. Remember,that in the hospitality industry, potential visitors spend a lot of time thoroughly checking the venue in question, before booking a room or a table etc. So, well written content on hospitality websites and on distribution channels will definitely increase your booking ratio. Make sure you publish regular blogs, downloads, press releases and case studies, always taking into consideration your keywords, i.e. which search terms your guests will be putting into the search engine to find you or your competition!
Ramp up your social media presence
It’s imperative to have a strong social media presence. Make sure you keep in mind that you need an integrated approach to your digital marketing and prospects will be looking in this area as well as on search engines to find you. Facebook will undoubtedly be your strongest platform and ‘check-ins’ from guests will attract more guests from the network. This is the same as a referral essentially and if users see their friends and family frequenting avenue with something great to say about it, then they will more than likely visit the same venue also.
It’s important to manage your online reputation and respond to any negative posts or pictures and utilise all of your platforms to drive visitors back to your website. This is where content is key. You can use social media to promote your web content, i.e. blogs, case studies etc. and you can utilise these channels to show promotions and offers etc.
Make sure you ask guests to like and share your page – you could even think about offering a promotion to get as many follows on your page, because, the more followers you have, the greater reach you have on social media and this will obviously increase your visibility.
Social media is a full-time job in itself and so it’s really important to ensure you’re effectively managing your time, because it can become all-consuming. Social media management tools such as Hootsuite are ideal because they allow you to automatically schedule content, reply with a single click and track performance/grow your audience.
Attract guests with offers
Mentioned above, social media is a great way to promote discounts and offersetc. However, don’t forget to make these visible on your website as well aswell via email marketing and printed marketing such as flyers etc.
Manage your online reputation
Again, we’ve discussed previously the role of social media marketing and managing your reputation on here. However, what about online reputation management? Nowadays, travellers, diners, visitors etc. listen to what other fellow visitors are saying about pubs, hotels, restaurants and cafes etc. Keep a close eye on ratings on key review sites and manage accordingly.
Engage prospects with compelling emails
Email marketing can be so powerful and so if you have a database, then make sure you make use of it! This is a great way of promoting your offers and your content, again, driving people back to your website. In addition, you can send automated pre-arrival emails, communication during their stay and post-departure emails, taking their experience to another level.
Digital marketing plays a vital role in revenue generation for the hospitality business. Competition is fierce and the marketplace oversaturated. Prospects are becoming more tech-savvy than ever before. So, make sure you use an integrated approach to your marketing to gain maximum advantage, ensuring no opportunities for revenue generation are left uncovered.