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  • Nikki Trailor

Quick digital marketing hacks for hospitality brands

How to navigate the road to 'normality', improve your online customer experience, and stay ahead of the competition.


Hospitality has been hard-hit in the last year. But that’s why now is the perfect time to improve the digital presence of your hospitality business. By focusing on marketing, you can keep both existing customers and potential new ones informed, staying one step ahead of your competitors.


It’s amazing how many brands have ceased updating social media channels and have neglected their websites. Giving them some TLC doesn’t have to cost the earth and it doesn’t have to take up too much of your time.


If, like many, you’re budget or time are limited then a bit of freelance help can go a long way. Getting someone in for 2 or 3 days allows you to spend your time, money and attention on keeping customers happy (hurrah!)


Here are my quick-fix suggestions to improve your customer experience with minimum effort:


1/ Open, closed or fully booked? Make it clear


It may sound obvious but this should be the first thing people find when searching for your business. This applies to social media, search engines, your website, and any local directories you may feature in.


How?

  • Make sure your opening hours are up-to-date everywhere and flag any drastic changes to regular customers.

  • Advertise pockets of availability on your website using pop-ups or post about it on social media.

  • Fully booked over the weekend? Don’t wait for your customers to call or do a lengthy search, add a pop-up to your website and use this to advertise when the next window of availability is.


2/ Add ‘anywhere/anytime’ functionality to search and reservation tools


Adding a little tick box that doesn’t limit people to search by location or time slot can save people hours of trawling and frustration. If you make searching as easy as possible then they won’t need to look or book elsewhere.


For travel companies, restaurant chains or hotel chains this is a no-brainer as you can direct them to other parts of your business instead of losing them completely. Duh.


Searching directly for availability on your website means they’re more likely to place a reservation. Don't waste the opportunity.



3/ Adopting new H&S guidelines?


Navigating the ever-changing government advice is a nightmare but as restrictions ease, it pays to keep on top of it. By making it clear you’re adhering to guidelines or even implementing your own, it provides a sense of safety to potential customers.


How?

  • Add a page on your website that outlines what new H&S practises you have in place. AND make this page accessible from anywhere on your website so it’s easy to find. Remember that people don't always magically land on your homepage.

  • If you use social media channels, add a story highlight to Instagram or a pinned Facebook post to show what rules are in place.

  • You could even send guests an email to remind them of their reservation - use the opportunity to remind them to bring a mask or anything else they may need to be aware of.


4/ Put fresh content out there


Many hospitality venues and travel businesses have ceased posting on social media for lack of new things to talk about or a lack of positive news. Now is the time to start a fresh conversation with your customers and remind them you exist.


If you’re struggling to restart content marketing, enlist freelance help for the strategy or even creation part. A fresh perspective can breathe life into something which may seem daunting right now.


How?

  • Start a blog or update your existing blog with fresh, relevant content. It’s an easy way to boost SEO and help your business be found on Google. You could repurpose old articles, amend the date so they appear new and tweak any data or facts.

  • Leverage social media - a combination of consistent posting and real-time conversations with customers is the best way to boost engagement and build trust.

  • Use new, high-quality imagery to get people’s imaginations going - make them want to eat your food or treat themselves to a spa treatment or buy whatever it is you're offering.

  • Pair strong imagery with story-telling, two sure-fire ways to grab the attention of your audience - if your images and copy don’t ‘wow’ then you have to try harder and, frankly, who has the time or energy right now!?


5/ Get people on your side


Operating with fewer staff? Serving a reduced menu? Not offering all your usual services? Be upfront! People are likely to be understanding and want to show support right now. Honesty is the best way to get people on your side.


How?

  • Make sure you only show up-to-date menus or service lists on your website and keep these up to date

  • Remove images from your website of products people won't have access to - no point setting them up for disappointment

  • In booking confirmation emails, be clear about what people can expect on arrival or any changes from usual business

  • Any changes that may arise on the day, let people know as soon as possible!


If you're still not sure where to start or simply don't have time to action these points then there's no shame asking for help.


Need a quick and effective marketing boost for your hospitality business? I've partnered up with Marco Joe Fazio Creative Agency to offer a 25% discount on copywriting and photography packages. For more details, click here.


**Please note - This offer is limited to 2 hospitality brands per month**

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