These are difficult times for the hospitality industry
After months of lockdown, many people are eager to enjoy restaurants and hotels again. However consumer confidence has taken a hit and none of us can predict when it will return to pre-pandemic levels.
Hospitality businesses are still grappling with the ‘new normal’ – finding creative ways of pivoting and managing cash flow through a period of reduced business. In response, we’ve pulled together a guide on how to attract customers at a time when they’re more vital than ever.
Whether you opt for traditional or digital channels, the most important thing to consider when choosing an advertising platform is – where is your target audience most likely to see your ad?
Reliant on local custom? Consider local publications. Attracting staycation tourists? Advertise further afield – with Google Ads, social media advertising or even on a travel podcast.
Create a website
Now more than ever it is vital for hospitality businesses to showcase and re-create their in-house experience online. Don’t have a website? With user-friendly platforms such as Wix and Squarespace it’s easy to get started – even for free.
Already have a website? Consider maximising its performance with search engine optimisation (SEO) and conversion rate optimisation (CRO). For instance, make sure each page of your website has relevant metadata and a clear call-to-action (CTA).
Consider a blog
Blogs are a fantastic way of keeping your website fresh and improving how it ranks on Google – making it more likely for prospective customers to find you. Consider using SEO tools such as Google Trends to find and answer the queries that people are searching for in your industry.
For instance, searches for ‘staycation ideas’ in England have increased by 200% in recent months. Swimming pools, hot tubs, lodging, spas, lakes, glamping and campsites all feature heavily in related searches.
Destinations such as Newquay, Whitby and the Lake District are highly popular in searches right now – meaning that if you have a hospitality business in one of these locations with any of the features above, highlighting this on your website would be very wise indeed!
Maximise social media
Social media is one of the best ways of engaging with your warm audience and attracting new prospects. Reassure customers old and new by communicating what you’re doing to keep your team, customers and the public safe.
Incorporate popular industry hashtags into your posts and tag relevant pages to increase the visibility of your posts. Tools such as Focalmark can help you identify which hashtags to use. Remember, each post should have a clear call-to-action.
Pivot your service offering
Many hospitality businesses have chosen to pivot in recent months, introducing shops and takeaway services which are continuing even as ‘normal’ trade resumes. If you haven’t yet considered your pivot options, now might be a good time to do so. Our free course includes an easy-to-digest module on how to make the most of Deliveroo and other takeaway services.
Run promotions & incentives
The UK Government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, running through August 2020, is just one example of a promotion or incentive designed to boost footfall. Whether you choose to participate in this initiative or not, there are many other ways to encourage custom.
Consider running a social media competition for instance. Just make sure you are compliant with the platform’s competition rules and have full Ts & Cs available on your website.
Engaging with the media is relatively easy when you know how. The trick is sharing a ‘news-worthy’ story. In a time of such significant change, it is more than likely your business has at least one of these.
Has your business pivoted for instance? Or done something to help your community during the coronavirus pandemic? Consider writing and distributing a succinct press release.
Research the best outlets and journalists to send your release to. This might be local media outlets (print, radio and television) or trade publications (if relevant). Tools such as Prowly can help you to gather this information. Send a personalised email to each individual journalist.
Alternatively, spend a little time each week searching the #journorequest and #prrequest hashtags on Twitter looking for relevant PR opportunities for your business.
Just be aware that beyond what information you supply in a press release or during an interview with a journalist, you have no control over how the story is run.
Update Google My Business
Your Google My Business listing is often the first impression a prospective customer has of your business – so make sure it is a positive one. Provide up-to-date information (opening hours, website address and telephone number) and engaging content, highlighting any blogs you’ve created recently on Google Posts.
The most effective marketing campaigns don’t use one tool in isolation. Integrated marketing campaigns use a range of appropriate methods simultaneously, communicating a clear and consistent message across the board.
For instance if you’re promoting a new or revised offering, spend time clarifying your message and exactly who you want to share it with before choosing the best communication methods from the list above or elsewhere.
Navigating your way through this crisis can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to tackle it alone. We specialise in supporting hospitality businesses in situations just like these. Book a free consultation call and discover how we can help you.
DISCLAIMER: This article has been produced for guidance only and does not constitute advice. Copyright © 2020 Virgate Accounts. All rights reserved.