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Effective marketing strategies for the hospitality industry

I’ve seen it time and time again, there are many different issues that cause these establishments to close. However, there are effectively 5 reasons why hospitality establishments fail including:

Hotel location
Poor management
Poor customer service
Poor accounting
Poor or non-existent marketing/advertising

In this article I’m going to focus on the last, but certainly not least, point – advertising and marketing; highlighting key areas that managers and owners in the hospitality sector need to be aware of and more importantly take advantage of.

Digital Presence & Social Media

Unfortunately, the days are gone where having a beautiful hotel or restaurant in the perfect location will be enough to ensure success – thinking about it, did a time like that ever exist?

In the digital age, social media MUST be a part of hospitality marketing and it goes without saying that every hotel or restaurant needs to have a high quality website – preferably with an online booking system. With hotel review sites such as Trip Advisor becoming more and more popular it’s important to have a digital presence and be involved! Here, customers can review your establishment honestly; you can get some real insight into what your customers think and how you can improve. These types of sites can make or break a business, so you must take notice!

Of course, this is not the only way to keep up to date with your customers; you should also have a Facebook page and Twitter page where you can interact with your customer – plus you can highlight special offers and events at your business and throughout the local area. Think about it, the more followers you have digitally, the more people you can connect with and attract to your establishment. The important thing to remember is that you must be professional, even if someone has posted a negative review; apologise and explain – don’t attack or be overly defensive.

Customer Insight Marketing

This point overlaps with customer service, however this doesn’t make it any less important – in fact it could make it more-so. Whether a hospitality establishment is successful or not can depend entirely on customer perception – if they find fault with anything, they will shout it from the roof tops...metaphorically speaking. Therefore, it’s exceptionally important to gauge who your customers are, what they want and how you, as a business, can improve.

Customer insight marketing can be simple to implement; simply by asking your guests to fill in a quick survey, or even fill in a guest book if you want something a little more old-school and personal, you can have a positive effect. Customers like to feel important, and like to know their opinions matter – which they do! If your customers don’t like your establishment, you won’t have a business for much longer. You’ve probably heard it before, and I feel a little bit cheesy mentioning it but...the customer is key!

Email & Content Marketing

You may be thinking that this is a little outdated, however, email marketing is still hugely effective – so long as you’re not bombarding customers with them daily. Emailing marketing campaigns are a fantastic way to remind customers of your existence, especially during low-season. Here you can highlight special offers, special events or awards that you’ve won.

Make your website even more engaging by having a blog: this is an excellent way to give your business a ‘personality’, so to speak, and be more than another faceless enterprise. TV advertising is expensive, so a blog, together with excellent branding, is definitely a more affordable alternative that you can get involved with! Of course, it doesn’t just have to end with digital methods of marketing; direct marketing with leaflets and promotional gifts can also be hugely beneficial, however you must ensure that they look professional and represent your business effectively.

When it comes to marketing in the hospitality industry, remember the customer is what matters - you need to cater to what they want and the above methods are an excellent way to gain insight. Keep your customers returning and welcome them back when they do – with effective marketing strategies you’re one step closer to business success!