One of the longest-standing industries, the hospitality industry or hotel industry encompassing accommodation, food and beverages for holiday makers and business people alike. This is an industry where you could say there is an on-going and ever lasting demand but no business is exempt from common challenges, then you’re thrown in a recession and we have compounded those challenges ten fold.
Before we begin the challenges aren’t limited to seasonality, uncertainty on costs and pricing, increased difficulties in maintaining profitability, increase wages compared to productivity and competition. Then we have customers and customer satisfaction.
As we start to build a picture the marketing in the hospitality industry has some unique opportunities and where a company has a truly customer oriented service they are well on their way to marketing success.
With all these factors in mind, hoteliers and marketers in this industry face a playing field, which looks very different. We’re marketing something intangible and this intangible thing is so multifaceted. We have a broad customer segmentation and all with different reasons for buying. You can see that marketing in the hospitality industry requires a different approach and a special marketing strategy.
We’ve highlighted some key points that really should be in your marketing strategy:
We’ve often heard people saying that keeping an existing customer is far more economical than finding a new one. What are you doing to build customer loyalty? These strategies don’t have to be costly and often the simplest way of saying ‘thank you’ can be the most effective.
Social Media Marketing
Social media has got to be apart of your activity; there are no ifs or buts about it. The social media revolution is changing the way people find services, hotels included. Whilst ‘Googling’ a hotel in a location is still popular, we have found posting a status on Facebook or Tweet on Twitter asking users to recommend a great place to eat or stay, is rapidly catching up.
Build a social media team and if you can include one person from each department that is the best way to get real personality behind the online brand and it lightens the load! Social Media is not a sales tool and it will take a long time to build meaningful relationships, keep chipping away at it and just understand the basics. Observe other good hotels on Twitter and Facebook and listen to what people are talking about. Don’t scared of negative feedback on Facebook or Twitter, listen to it and respond in a creative, professional way to show what you’re made of.
Have you got a FourSquare profile? Promotions with check in features could be a great way of spreading your brand online.
Social media has not replaced email but it does mean you have to be better and better at it. Have segmented email campaigns so content is relevant to your audience, have great landing pages for linking to content and don’t continue emailing people who do unsubscribe. On that note, make sure it is clear and easy to unsubscribe, you might send a great email but not every one agrees and that’s ok.
Customer Services is the new Marketing
In today’s work for consumers, currency means something different – every one wants more time, convenience and control over what they are exposed to! Relationships with brands have to be more down to earth, less pushy and more genuine.
Finding new ways of being innovative doesn’t have to be ground breaking and it can come from anywhere, one department and any one. Value is only what people perceive it to be. When a returning guest arrives that can be as simple as knowing that they are a returning guest and welcoming them back instead of asking if they have stayed with you before! Perfecting your customer service systems doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and that is marketing you can’t put a price on.
Consistency and knowing your customer (who and why) is your route to successfully marketing in the hospitality industry.