Marketing 101: your hospitality business
Define your branding
It seems an obvious statement that to be a successful business you need to define your brand, but it’s the most important step and where a lot of businesses go wrong. Taking the time and effort to create a strong brand identity gives you a good basis to create a solid marketing plan that is specifically tailored to your company. It is also important to keep in mind your budget before you get started, as you don’t want to underestimate costs.
A few factors to consider are:
- Target audience
- What methods are best for your target audience
- How to successfully monitor your results
- Your service recovery
It’s important to consider the service recovery tools that you can put in place, such as a live chat or a customer hotline. Service recovery is meant to reduce the impact of negative emotions and transform these into a positive experience. Bad reviews can be detrimental to your hospitality business, so handling them in the right way and implementing the correct tools can lead to reduced complaints behaviour, positive word of mouth, satisfaction and increased re-visit intention.
Social media strategy
Each social media platform caters to a different audience. Whilst it’s important to stay consistent with your branding across all platforms, you need to know which channels appeal to different demographics, so you can focus more time and money into the right channel for the best results.
Facebook is an important channel for hospitality businesses because there are no limits in words or video size. You can encourage people to engage in user generated content in exchange for rewards and run contests to boost engagement.
LinkedIn is ideal for creating business ventures alongside the hospitality business you’re running. LinkedIn attracts business professionals so it would be a great space to promote your venue for events and conferences. You can also use this opportunity to network: creating partnerships and potential investors.
Instagram is a platform where users are constantly engaged, so it’s a great way to keep customers engaged with your brand. You can use the channel to answer questions on your story, give updates about your business and highlight key elements such as discounts and deals. You also have the option of having a busines account which means you get access to better analytics, reach new audiences and can promote your posts to people who aren’t following you.
When promoting your company, it is important to ensure your website is user friendly. A slow load speed on a webpage can lead to a loss of traffic, as consumers are more likely to search for a new page than wait for the current page to load. Studies highlight that pages that take more than three seconds to load lose approximately 50 % of mobile users. This is important to consider when looking at your rankings, as google uses a website page load time as a significant factor in determining your site’s search engine ranking. This means that the lower you score the lower down you’ll be on the page, causing fewer people to come across your website. The ideal number for the page loading speed for google is 2 seconds, and any slower than that could have a negative effect on your ranking.
Loyalty programmes can be used as a key tool in increasing customer retention rate, whilst also predicting future customer activities. By having a loyalty programme, you can effectively market products that appeal to your customers’ needs and desires. Typically, loyalty programmes improve repeat buying and thereby improve retention rates by providing incentives for customers to purchase more frequently and in larger volumes. Research highlights this can improve purchasing by around £1000 annually. However more than half of consumers have stated that they have abandoned at least one loyalty program due to reasons such as lack of reward relevance, rigid reward structure and poor-quality service. Therefore, to effectively implement a loyalty reward system you need to ensure that your service recovery and customer service are of a high standard.