Some thoughts on Basic Marketing in the Hospitality Sector

Business, Hotels, Restaurants

This article pulls together some basic ideas about marketing in the hospitality sector and reminds us how often these basics are forgotten!

If you ever played sports, you know about practising the basics. Your coach probably had you doing basic drills over and over again. But learning those basics, built a solid foundation for you to keep improving.

The same is true in marketing; you need to know your fundamentals inside out, in order to be effective, according to Jeremy Bassett, Head of Strategic Marketing at Hospitality Business Development Limited, a company that specialises in helping CEO’s, owners and investors of hospitality firms re-engineer their business practices, to improve return on investment.

Just as people instinctively know the law of gravity they are aware of the fundamental principles of marketing in the hospitality sector, but unlike the law of gravity, which is hard to deny, many business owners often neglect to apply core principles to attract customers.

1. Know who your customers are and how to target them

There is a finite number of people who want and are willing to buy any given service and fundamental to any successful business is knowing who they are and why they buy the service.

Promoting your business to people who don’t want what you provide is a waste of time and money. We all know this, but so many businesses keep targeting their promotional communications to audiences who are never going to frequent the business, because they didn’t do basic segmentation and audience identification at the outset.

Do a Google search for your business type and location to see what results you get. This will tell you how the most important search engine sees your business and who it places you alongside. This is especially important when you are located in a tourist market. Many visiting tourists will Google in advance to see where they will be staying or dining. Where do you rank? Do you make it to the first page and if so, is it for meaningful search terms? Consider the competition that Google surrounds you with in the listings, will potential diners choose you from that search and are those diners your real target audience? Today, successful marketing in the hospitality sector includes having a well thought out, targeted website and a visible and active social media presence.

2. Understand Brand

All business need to understand the meaning of the oft misquoted word Brand. Brand has little, if anything, to do with names, colours, iconography, etc. Brand is about making a promise to your customers and keeping it, time after time.

What encourages people to make right and good decisions? What immediately connects you with customers? Price and reward is a component; greed is not. Trade is essential but exploitation is not. What truly matters in business is ethics and integrity.

You can promise the earth, however if your message does not come across as genuine, because you are never able to deliver on that promise to your market, the vast majority of customers will switch off. This is particularly important in the hospitality industry where, at the simplest entry level of delivery, customers expect warmth and a positive, memorable experience in your establishment. This is as true in the local fish and chip shop, as it is in any global five-star establishment.

3. So, manage your quality in every respect

Your business is continually advertising through the quality of your service, your communication and your ability to deliver your brand promise, time after time.

But marketing in the hospitality sector encompasses everything, from your signage, premises, vehicles, and publicity, through to your staff and suppliers affects your reputation and how your customers talk about you. All these create word of mouth comment and reviews, which can be bad as well as good.

We all know it, but how often do we consider that everything we do in business has an impact which goes way beyond isolated promotional activity?

4. I’ll say it again – be able to deliver what you promise!

In our eagerness to increase sales we often advertise new promotions, products and initiatives before we are able to deliver on the promise.

As we know, there is little point in having a brilliant social media and advertising campaign which generates lots of bookings, only to lose customers and damage your reputation by failing to meet promises or satisfy customer needs. It’s like pouring new business into a bucket which has a big hole in the bottom.

Failing to meet your brand promise, time after time, will leave you with a permanently damaged reputation.

Would you like to know more?

Download our latest White Paper entitled “Why Return on Hotel Investment Can Significantly Underperform” or contact me, Lucienne Mosquera (Managing Director) for an informal conversation about your Investment.