Hospitality and Restaurant Marketing – Don’t lose sight of what makes you Special!

Don’t lose sight of what makes you special – my thoughts on an approach to engaging and creating tools to successfully market and build relationships with consumers in the Hospitality industry.

I think that a systematic approach to interacting with your customers should be fundamentally based on the customers needs, reinforce the customer’s needs at every chance, and treat customer service as a competence and not a function. It needs to be a mindset of the service staff, and extend into organizations online initiatives.

Starting with a look at campaigns; Smart Marketers should emphasize on local relevant marketing programs over high cost glossy mass advertising. All programs need to be measured and KPI’s clearly understood prior to the development of the program in order to ensure that money spent is not taking away from the brand experience in your venues. Consumers are now spending more time online than watching TV, and all consumers are shifting their time spent on traditional media to the internet. It is paramount to develop a long term strategy because that is what will deliver long term loyalty. Your organization needs to be committed to building trust and loyalty through your on and offline initiatives. Concentrate on the brand experience. The most important part of this strategy is the commitment to creating trust and a bond with your guests and a responsiveness to doing the things they want to see…

When it comes to your website, the design and development of the home page is where 81% of people feel is where the focus and key priority of your programs needs to be, according to Forrester Research. If you are considering online ordering, or purchasing tickets for your special events, this needs to be prevalent on the homepage, as does a store locator. These key pages need to be accessible and built for mobile devices in order to maximize your ability to be found and interact with your customers where they are today. Creating easy to use tools such as photo galleries that are engaging, event specific, timely and easy to send photos to friends are exactly what people want to engage with. With the emergence of Facebook Connect and easy to use upload and share functions there is no reason that this cant be a key part of your viral strategy.

There are lots of great tools for restaurateurs and the hospitality industry already existing, and more to come!  There is a $320 Billion Dollar out of home dining market in the USA, and 30% of US web buyers have purchased food or beverages through the web at some point. Ecommerce has transformed numerous businesses-to-consumer facing industries like travel, auto, books and apparel, and smart hospitality organizations are beginning to consider how to better serve their customers with web based applications. With Opentable as one of the more successful up and comers, there are a variety of ways the web can be used to efficiently service customers and reduce costs for your organization when properly integrated.

Lastly, Social Communities are valuable. Organizations need to tap into the value of social communities and connect frequently and meaningfully with your brand enthusiasts to learn how to improve every part of the business.  Listen to the voice of the Customer and create a repeatable process for collecting insights, that encapsulates analyzing and responding to those insights.

 Engage your employees – if you cant figure out how to develop a strong engaging Twitter Strategy for example, or you think its useless put it out to your employees to come up with ideas, or send me an email and we look at ways to help you. Kent.Speakman@raremthod.com

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About Kent Speakman

Kent Speakman is a producer & entrepreneur who is experienced on both sides of the camera, for the big screen, small screen and the second screen. Examiner.com has called him one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry and has won the iMedia Entertainment Marketing Award for best digital campaign. He writes for trade publications, speaks at conferences and film festivals as well sharing knowledge through media interviews.
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