This last year has been a weird one. It has probably thrown everything you thought you knew about your business plan out the window, or at least put it on pause for a while. But things are getting back to normal and after a year and half of having to wait at home, your audience are raring to get back out into the world to explore.
One of the best ways to put the last year behind you is to reconnect with your business and your customers by taking a look at your marketing. Set aside a few hours from your week and go through each area a bit at a time, making sure it is as good as it can be and identifying the biggest gaps you need to plug in your marketing funnel.
“It’s never too late to be wise” - Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
If you don't know where to start - here are our suggestions for the key areas to take a look at first:
1. Know your audience.
Who are you actually marketing to? What are their wants, needs and main channels of communication? This is a cornerstone of your marketing strategy that is too often overlooked. But this failure to consider who you are talking to can have negative impacts throughout all of your marketing activities.
It’s time to take a step back and consider your offering from your guests point of view. If you can determine who you will best satisfy with your offering then you will be in a better position to review the rest of your marketing activities.
2. Know your competition
Knowing your competitors goes beyond simply being able to list off every other hotel or restaurant in your city. In order to get ahead, you need to be able to understand your competitors, their audience, their successes and their downfalls.
Don’t be afraid to learn from what your competitors, or rivals as we call them, are doing well. Imitation is the best form of flattery, but improvement is better. Identify opportunities for your hotel or venue to outperform your rivals, or to avoid making the same mistakes that they have.
3. Get Social
To stand out in the crowd, your brand needs to seamlessly fit into your customers' lifestyle. And these days, it’s a safe bet that a lot of your guests' lifestyles are shaped and influenced by their lives on social media.
Whether you’re a hotel, restaurant or entertainment venue, the research shows that more and more of your customers are looking to social media to get a feel for your offering before they choose whether to spend with you. Plus, don’t ignore the opportunity that paid social media ads provide for your hotel or restaurant.
4. Search Engine Optimisation
Your website is your workhorse, telling customers about you whilst you are busy doing other things. Give it the best chance of reaching them by telling Google what you’re all about and why you’re so great. But great SEO doesn’t end when you think you’ve ticked all the boxes you can. Fresh, original content is a search engine’s best friend.
SEO can be broken down into 4 types; On-page, Off-page, Technical and Local. All of these need attention if you’re going to succeed.
- On-page SEO is optimising all of the copy on your website, from your blogs to your headings and even your image alt tags.
- Off-page SEO involves reaching out to external influences to gain valuable, relevant and trusted links back to your website.
- Technical SEO goes on behind the scenes and includes some on-page factors as well as taking steps to speed up your page load times and adding Schema markup to your content.
- Local SEO is vital for hospitality. Your customers are coming to you after all. Make sure your Google My Business page is top notch so that Google knows exactly who you are, what you do and where you are.
5. Paid Advertising
Don’t just use Google - there is a whole world out there now, including social media. The majority of searchers do use Google, but what about the almost 10% of people searching on Bing? And don’t forget about re-marketing. How about catching those website visitors who didn’t convert while they’re browsing Facebook or scrolling through Instagram?
No matter where you are putting your paid ads, whether it’s search, social or even in publications (online and offline), the key to success is targeting. Making sure you’re getting the right message to the right audience at the right time. Couple this with curated landing pages that are optimised for conversion and give your audience the information they need to move down their funnel and you’ll be unstoppable.
6. Focus on increasing your conversions
More website visitors is great, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to more rooms booked, or tables reserved. Understand your conversion funnel(s) and before spending money at the top, take a look at the bottom to see where you’re losing visitors and where you could be converting more visitors into customers.
So where do you start? Take a look at your website and consider the purpose of each page. A good rule of thumb is to have one desired action (or conversion) on each ‘landing page’ - that’s right, landing pages aren’t just stand alone pages for a specific campaign. Take a look at your CTAs, make sure they stand out, contrast is more important than colour, and consider their position on the page. Our top tip - users tend to read a webpage in an ‘F’ pattern, so don’t hide your most important information in the bottom right corner!
7. Check and update your marketing tools
There are so many cool new tools out there these days, it can be daunting knowing where to begin and you may even have some you have signed up for and never use! Whether you want to understand your users behaviour on your website better, save time on some of your marketing activities or listen out for your brand mentions across social media, there are so many tools out there for you to explore!
Some of our favourites are of course from Google, with Analytics, Keyword Planner and Optimize, but we are also currently loving Mouseflow for tracking website visitor behaviour and Later for scheduling our Instagram posts!
8. Time to throw out those stock images and add some video
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many pictures is a video worth? Video is the future. It has the power to capture the attention of your audience and let them get a feel for your hotel or restaurant in an instant. With them now being easier than ever to create with just a smartphone and gimbal, good quality video snippets can be used to replace images across your website, or be shared across social media on Instagram Stories, TikTok or Youtube.
Keeping on top of your marketing can feel like you’re trying to spin twenty plates at once with only two hands. There is no quick fix or catch all solution to get it right the first time but regularly checking in with your marketing strategy to keep things on track is a good start.
The areas we’ve covered in this article are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to establishing a great strategy for your hotel or restaurant marketing. Give us a call or drop us a message if you’d like some more guidance or want to see what we could do for your business.