For any business, marketing is how you build your brand, how you attract new customers, how you retain customers, hospitality is no different.
Despite the tumultuous year we’ve all had, the hospitality industry is on the up again. And it is competitive. If you want to not only get ahead with your hospitality business, but retain customers, you need to have a clear marketing strategy in place to help you get to where you want to go.
Why is marketing important?
In any business, marketing is important for multiple reasons:
- Educates. It informs and educates your customers, hopefully in a fun way. You may know why you’re the best at what you do, but does everyone else? Marketing is how you communicate your value proposition to customers.
- Equalises. If you do it right, it can level the playing field with your big name competitors. You don’t have to have a massive marketing budget to compete against household names – by simply using social media and email campaigns, you can target customers in a much more cost effective manner.
- Sustains. It’s what feeds your business. You need to work at it everyday, because your marketing is how your business grows. You may have a loyal customer base, but if you want to grow your business, you need to expand that footprint, and you do that through marketing.
- Engagement. It sustains your relationship with the customer long after they’ve left your establishment.
- Sales. It sells your services and drives sales because it leads customers to your business. You may have the best hospitality business going, but if customers don’t know about it, how can you persuade them to buy from you?
Saying that, in the current climate, your marketing efforts need to be adapted. What worked pre-COVID to make your brand stand out and appeal to customers, will likely not work now.
You need to think outside of the box to appeal to customers, old and new, to encourage repeat customers, and to develop your brand awareness.
5 pillars of hospitality marketing
Before you begin your marketing campaign, be aware of these 5 pillars of hospitality marketing, and consider giving them a go to give your marketing efforts an extra boost.
Why do you customers choose you? This is essential knowledge to build your marketing strategy on. It goes without saying, therefore, you should carry out research. How will you know what your customers want or expect if you don’t ask them?
Ask questions like:
- What’s your USP?
- Why do customers choose you over someone else?
- How do customers find you?
If you can’t ask your customers these questions directly, look on review sites such as TripAdvisor. Let your research into customer reviews guide your marketing efforts. Perhaps you need to deal with negative reviews. Perhaps you need to improve your customer service?
It’s not just customer research you need to do, carry out competitor research too. Why are customers choosing your competitors over you? What are they doing that you don’t? What are the gaps that you can fill?
2. Build brand awareness
Spreading awareness about your brand is crucial to building it. How can you convert potential customers into real ones if they don’t know who you are?
Determine your target audience and then aim your marketing efforts in their direction.
- Are you a local hospitality business?
- Are you attracting international visitors?
For local business, think local marketing tactics – flyers, leaflets, posters, business cards. It’s extremely cost effective and very targeted. For businesses aiming at attracting global customers, your marketing efforts will be mainly digital.
Regardless of your business, you should have an online presence – you need to design and build a website, be present on social media channels (and be active on them), create an email marketing list, carry out basic SEO.
While we’re at it, a few more top marketing strategies for hospitality businesses include:
Do what it takes to get your business on page one of the results when your potential customers are searching for hospitality businesses like yours.
3. Nurture existing relationships
As always, there’s a lot to be said for nurturing existing relationships. It is an awful lot cheaper to sell to an existing customer than it is to start from scratch with a new one.
Think about ways you can entice existing customers to come back to your hospitality business – loyalty schemes? Vouchers? Discount codes? Points scheme?
4. Be customer focused
Make sure your marketing campaigns are promoting the service you want to provide, and they’re aimed clearly at the group of individuals you’re targeting.
Remember, though, your marketing campaign can only take you so far. If your service isn’t up to scratch, isn’t high enough quality, isn’t engaging, you won’t generate the buzz you hope for.
You know this already, but make sure your customers are at the heart of your business, and that every decision you make enhances their customer experience. Happy customers = loyal customers.
5. Measure the results
Don’t forget, for all of your efforts, measure the results. How will you know if what you’re doing is working if you aren’t keeping track of the metrics?
If things aren’t working out as well as you liked, you’ll know early on, giving you time to switch your tactics up before you throw good money after bad.
Market Jar – digital marketing for hospitality business
If you need help with your marketing strategy for your hospitality business, get in touch with us. Market Jar is an affordable digital marketing agency – let us help grow your hospitality business.
Check out our hospitality sectors where you’ll find examples of the type of work we’ve done for our hospitality clients.