Hospitality Marketing – 9 Killer Tips For Marketing Your Hospitality Business With Social Media

Hospitality Marketing - 9 Killer Tips To Market With Social MediaWhile it is undoubtedly a must in today’s world, social media marketing is not a quick pitch overnight success strategy. There is an art to fostering an engaged audience and winning over new business and the loyalty of existing customers. It is vital to have a good understanding of what to avoid as well as a strong concept of what to include when using social media to market your hospitality business.

4 things you should NOT DO when marketing your hospitality business with Social Media:

  1. DO NOT “Suggest” that all of your personal connections “like” your page – repeatedly. ONCE is fine! Each member of your team or staff may, ONE TIME, invite all “friends” to “like” or “follow” your business page. After that you’ll want to limit your calls for follows to your professional network, the signature line in your business email client, your newsletter, your business collateral, a link on your website, and paid promotional efforts. Pestering your personal friends is not marketing, and will irritate even your closest allies. You must go beyond the 300 people on your personal list to reach the masses.
  2. DO NOT fail to plan. Every business should have a comprehensive marketing strategy. Map out in advance the tools, networks, analytics, and timelines that you will employ and put all effort into successfully executing the tasks according to your plan. Use apps like HootSuite or Buffer to help you schedule some of your posts in advance.
  3. DO NOT post sales links or comments on other pages and call it “marketing”. If there is anything that will get you black listed, un-liked, and un-followed it’s spammy, pitchy posts on other people’s pages. A better approach would be to look for legitimate opportunities to offer value and expertise as your brand’s identity or a representative of your hospitality business. Always use conversational format when commenting and be knowledgeable – people will naturally follow you back to your business page.
  4. DO NOT respond to all negative comments or feedback. While it may seem counter-intuitive, defending yourself against every single negative comment is not an ideal marketing strategy. Complaints about service in your hotel or restaurant provide opportunities to respond openly, honestly, and publicly. Choose your battles wisely, and be cautious when you do respond to negative comments. Craft your responses professionally and always stay positive. Additionally, don’t remove negative posts unless they are not relevant to your company. Deleting posts sends the message that you don’t care about your customer’s experience, and becomes a huge turn off. Some comments will simply go un-noticed, and you may find that generally your loyal happy customers will rise to your defense on their own, which gives you a third party validation that speaks louder than your reply.

Now that you know the common pitfalls to avoid when marketing your hospitality business through social media channels, it’s important to know what to do.

Here are 5 things you SHOULD do to market your market your hospitality business with Social Media:

  1. Engage your audience. Rather than post sales & promotions in an advertorial way, it is much more effective to “converse” with your followers and get them talking to you – and to others about you. Instead of, “ON SALE NOW. Weekend getaway packages, just $99!” try “The summer heat is crazy! Where in the world would you go with our $99 Getaway package if you could leave today?” Not only does it get your followers to engage, it gets them to start visualizing themselves taking advantage of your offer.
  2. Picture it! Photos get more likes and comments across the board. People are very visual and it takes less time for them to process an image than text. Use your own original images shot from a unique angle or showing interesting uses of your products or services. Encourage followers to post their own photos of themselves benefiting from the use of your hospitality business – on vacation, their favorite dish, before and after pictures of their makeover, etc.
  3. Be human and available. Your goal is to get people to ask questions, to comment on your posts, and to become advocates for your hospitality business so that you can demonstrate your ability to provide solutions. They won’t ask if there’s no one answering. People like to know that there are real humans behind any organization, and they want to know you care about and value their business. By being accessible and available you build trust and loyalty and increase the likelihood that they will choose to spend their money with you.
  4. Avoid anything religious or political. While some controversy has served some businesses well, generally speaking it serves to alienate rather than align. Your hospitality business should remain completely neutral when it comes to politics, religion, and controversial social issues, UNLESS serving those particular markets IS your business.
  5. Find, “like”, and support other pages in your community. Making yourself a friend of other complimentary businesses in the community you serve is not only good networking, it demonstrates to your followers that you are connected to other service providers and able to make recommendations beyond the scope of your own hospitality business. Be sure to “share” interesting tidbits from those other pages frequently. Not only will it help your followers find additional resources, it will also lead their followers back to you.

[Hospitality Marketing] 5 Ways Social Media Can Benefit Travel and Hospitality Businesses

[Hospitality Marketing] 5 Ways Social Media Can Benefit Travel and Hospitality BusinessesThe key element of social media as a marketing tool is that it’s the users who create the content. The element of engagement on social networks is invaluable for the travel and hospitality industries, allowing customers a platform to share their thoughts and experiences of any given company. Here are five ways to use social media effectively to gain customers and increase revenues..

1. Contests

Everybody loves to win, and contests are extremely popular. Especially when the prize is a romantic getaway or an amazing cruise to somewhere exciting, people are compelled to submit entries in the hopes of winning something of value.

Social media makes contests extremely accessible. It’s no not necessary to mail, text, or call to submit your entry, in today’s world all that it takes is to send a tweet, share a post, or ‘Like’ a Facebook page. Many travel companies are now using contests on social media to increase their followers and ‘fans’ on Facebook and experiencing great success.

2. Group deals on Daily Deals sites

Group deals on popular daily deal sites are a great way to build brand awareness. In order to take advantage of the special savings, consumers are required to share with friends or via posts on their own social media profiles, which in turn increases awareness for your promotion and therefore your brand. Typically the advertiser has little to no up front costs to take advantage of this type of advertising, and can set limits as to how many deals they will allow consumers to purchase.

3. SEO and boosting awareness

Search Engine Optimization allows a company to increase online presence and increase their search engine ranking making them easier to be found when potential customers are seeking their services.

The use of SEO Optimized videos, articles, webinars, infographics causes the brand’s name to appear more frequently throughout the internet and increases the likelihood that interested consumers will “share” your interesting content, which in turn increases brand awareness.

4. Consumer reviews

Consumers will take the word of one of their friends over that of an advertisement nine times out of ten. Your company’s social networking pages offer an outlet for your satisfied customers to share their great experiences out loud. Encourage positive customer reviews on your social pages by first providing great service, and then giving incentives for those who share. Be aware that the flip side is that they will also generously spout any bad experiences as well, so stay on top of the consumer experience by meeting conflicts quickly and effectively.

5. Engage with your customers regularly

Social media gives companies a platform to connect with and engage their customers on a personal level. This lends itself to creating a highly personalized interaction for your customers and potential customers. When they feel as though they can converse at their convenience with a real person behind the page they are more likely to do business with you and recommend you to their peers. Take advantage of opportunities to stimulate conversations among your fans by posting fun videos, questions, and photos of interesting things that are pertinent to your industry or services. When people leave comments, reply back and nurture those relationships.

25 Ideas – Video Marketing for the Hospitality and Travel Industries

Oh ho, rarely is there a better fit for video marketing than the Hospitality and Travel industries!

Video marketing is made for this industry. Here are my top 25 video ideas in no particular order…

  1. Happy people having fun – humans like to see humans!
  2. People eating at your restaurant
  3. People checking into your hotel, resort or spa
  4. How you do manicures or onsite beauty treatments
  5. What it is like to once you get there (sitting down to eat, finding you room, etc.)
  6. Gorgeous locations or destinations
  7. Other amenities nearby
  8. How to sign up or register online
  9. What you rooms, conference rooms look like
  10. Customer testimonials
  11. What to do with your kids while you are there
  12. Do you allow pets? – show Fido having fun!
  13. Videos of your amazing food, brunches, bar food
  14. Videos of back of house things like the cook, kitchen, getting ready for the show
  15. Tricks your bartenders can do
  16. How you source your food (visiting the fishmonger or local whole foods store)
  17. Why your food is healthier, better tasting or better
  18. Special features that separate you from the competition
  19. Introductions to your staff “in person”
  20. A walk around the grounds or facility
  21. A personal invitation to come and visit you
  22. A heartfelt thank you for visiting
  23. Unpacking new products that just came in
  24. The history of your establishment
  25. Unveiling new services that you just implemented
  26. BONUS – An overview with a little bit of each of these areas that can be your big “sales video”

Some notes:

While it may not seem scary to you, a walk around and some videos about what they can expect once they get there go a long way to relieving any fear they may have about booking.

Kids and pets are our favorite little friends but we want to know they will be treated well if we bring them along. Showing that some kid or dog had a good time makes people feel like everything will be okay.

We have all heard the horror stories about the snotty staff. Showing your people care and that they are there to make the visitor’s experience exceptional is a great idea. All people are afraid of being rejected or mocked.

I KNOW, you are wondering why some of these are invitations or thank yous, they serve two purposes. They can be used in video email marketing PLUS even though your business only survives from people visiting, many humans want to know that they will be welcome with open arms.

Well there you have it, our favorite video marketing ideas for the hospitality and travel industries!

Restaurant Marketing – Using Emails To Get Customers In

Restaurant Marketing - Using Emails To Get Customers InUsing emails to get customers in is one of the easiest forms of restaurant marketing there is. We work with many different eateries around the country and let me tell you, a good restaurant with great service and amazing food draws raving fans like bees to honey!

The best part? Your customers want to know about what you are doing! They want to know when the events are, which days they should come in for their special favorites and especially be reminded of how much fun they had the last time they were in!

Now, I go to restaurants A LOT and I can count on one hand the times that I have been asked for my email address. Treating each and every customer as a one off is a recipe for disaster! By simply adding an email component to your restaurant marketing, you can guarantee that you can fill your restaurant whenever you like!

So how do you get their emails?

Low Tech/Low Cost: Ask! Put cards on the table and ask for their name and email address in return for a free beverage or dessert.

High Tech/Low Cost: Have a website you drive your customers to and gather their names in return for a dollar savings coupon.

High Tech/High Cost: As you notice, all these ideas YOU control. One of the worst things we have seen lately is the proliferation of half off deals that where the restaurant gets 25% of the revenue for one customer coming in the door. Equally as bad are the ones where you pick one geo-targeting brand like FourSquare and pay them to do your promotion. Seriously, you can do this on your own and keep control of your customers and their contact info!

Whatever data collection technique you choose, start today. Have your hostess start collecting emails when she takes a reservation, have a contest with your servers to see who can get the most email address or spiff your bartenders a buck for every address they collect.

Internet marketers have a saying, the money is in the list and nowhere is that more true or less utilized in restaurant marketing!

The Top 7 Reasons Social Media Works So Well For Hospitality Marketing

Why Social Media Marketing Works For HospitalitySocial media and hospitality marketing go hand in hand like fingers in a glove! Think about it, in hospitality, you are talking with, entertaining and basically caring for humans at your place of business. In social media marketing, you are growing relationships with humans and oftentimes extending the enjoyment they felt at visiting your location. These are ALL very good things…

So what are the top reasons that social media works well for hospitality? Here we go…

1. It is all about people!

If you were an accountant, it would be all about numbers. Hospitality like spas, restaurants, bars and hotels are all about people. Making sure they have a good time and enjoy their visit. While social media is done on a computer, please remember that the there is just one person on the other end who is liking or commenting about your biz!

2. They can tell more people how much they love you!

Used to be if someone had a great time at your business, they would tell a few of their closest friends about it and then it would fade away (they sure would not shell out a couple hundred dollars to take an ad out in the local paper to tell you!) Now, they can tell hundreds or thousands of their friends what a good time they had! They can share pictures and stories about the experience.

3. Social media is more affordable than print advertising.

Now, I KNOW everyone says social media is free, free, free, but most restaurant, spa or hotel owners are not marketing experts so in general you should budget some money to hire a social media marketing company that specializes in hospitality marketing. Our company does this for between $400-1,000 a month which is still less than the cost of doing traditional print ads!

4. You are still at the front of the pack.

We talk to a LOT of hospitality owners and they think social media is stupid, boring or too hard so they are just ignoring it. Ignoring social media is like ignoring the internet (which is fine if you want a little mom and pop catering to the people on your block, but will not cut it if you want to grow your business!) If you get in the social media marketing game now, you will still be ahead of the vast majority of the competition!

5. You can guide the conversation.

A lot of restaurants, spas and hotels think that if they ignore social media, it is not going on. That is just not the case! People are out there making pages, writing reviews and generally talking about you, whether you are there or not. Jumping in, solving problems, and thanking them for their efforts means that more people will want to talk about your biz! It is a vicious upward cycle…:)

6. There are so many places to jump in.

This one is actually the downfall of most restaurants, bars, spas and hotels. They feel like there is too much to tackle all once with the Google, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Yelp, and all the other social sites out there. If you are going to do your marketing in house, PLEASE start today. Pick one, research how to best utilize it and then start posting, liking, tweeting or whatever is a appropriate. Do that for a month until it becomes a habit and then check out the next one. If you are only going to do one, I would start with Google Plus as it is now the home for Google places which is vital for physical locations like yours!

7. You can easily get even more people to say how much they love you!

There are some really simple ways to encourage more posting, tweeting, etc. We recommend table-toppers with a free something attached to get the ball rolling. Once you train your customers and staff to start being aware of the social media, it just becomes a day to day function, like telling the specials or sweeping the floors.

So, now that you are all social media savvy and read to go, get out there and start using social media for your hospitality marketing TODAY!!!