Whether you run a boutique hotel, a small restaurant, or manage an event-planning firm, you know that the hospitality industry is becoming an increasingly competitive field. With many small and large players on the worldwide market, it is becoming increasingly vital to stay relevant to your customer base — and stand out from the crowd.
Any business that works in the hospitality field should understand the dynamics of acquiring new customers. It isn’t an overnight process, but rather a strategic game plan that takes a lot of moving parts. Regardless of how much marketing you perform in your role, understanding its basic function within the hospitality arena will be invaluable.
Here is a four-pronged approach to generating customers for your hospitality business. While this is the basic path for generating new business within the hospitality sector, it really applies to all types of companies regardless of industry.
- Acquire new clients
- Engage them through the brand experience
- Convert them through a smart sales engine
- Retain them through ongoing marketing and branding efforts (online and offline)
Are you ramping up your marketing plan for your hospitality brand? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that social media is the ‘new kid on the block’ and making a serious impact in the marketing realm. Here are a few ideas to kick-start an enhanced marketing campaign for your hotel or hospitality business:
- List your hotel, restaurant or hospitality service on review and travel-related websites. These are quite influential: surveys show that nearly half of visitors changed reservations at hotels or restaurants after reading a review website.
- Don’t underestimate the power of social media marketing. Build a Twitter and Facebook page to share particulars of your company with potential customers. Special event taking place at your hotel? Why not share a picture of the event to promote your company’s capabilities? Catering a large wedding? Sharing a testimonial on Facebook can get you great word of mouth!
- Maximize your ROI through email marketing campaigns. Whether you’re working with an existing customer base or want to target those potential guests that may not have booked with you yet, creating email campaigns that instill brand awareness are a cost-effective way to help drive conversions.
- Content marketing is a long-term strategy that helps you build a relationship with past, current, and future guests. Whether you share a great article on romantic tourist spots in your city or provide a pictorial guide of your hotel property, providing information they will use and enjoy reading will keep them engaged with your brand.
Positioning your brand as unique will be one of the first priorities in establishing a smart marketing campaign for your business. What sets your restaurant, hotel, or service apart from other players in the market? Is your hotel located near a top tourist attraction? Is your restaurant rated very highly online? Using these positive assets makes your business stand out from the crowd. Be sure to incorporate that messaging into your marketing efforts.
Also remember that while acquiring and converting the prospect will get you the customer, retaining them and engaging them with a continually positive brand experience will ultimately help you earn a lifelong, loyal customer. Enlisting some of the strategies listed earlier can help enhance this experience and make your company memorable in the eyes of your customer.