7 Marketing Tips For A Hospitality Startup in 2020
With the tension in the world and its association with a tiring life, people sometimes take a break just to escape their reality for a while. From deriving more joy when they hang out with friends and family, to visiting places just to enjoy nature, to feeling a sense of freshness that traveling gives. The hospitality industry has been booming and doors of opportunities have been opened to make this industry thrive.
When starting any kind of business, you have to be able to deliver enough value to your audience but most importantly, you have to be able to sell out your goods and services to these audiences. A very good marketing strategy must be in place so that you can make good sales, satisfy your customers, attract new visitors that would later become good customers and maintain loyalty.
This is also applicable to the hospitality industry. But, sales in the hospitality industry are a little bit different from sales in other industries because you sell both tangible and intangible products. Though the marketing is channeled towards services rather than goods, satisfaction only comes when you’re so certain about the right-feeling you’ve instilled in the customer.
Marketing in the hospitality industry encompasses a whole lot of skills and strategies. It is multifaceted and requires multiple channels and strategies in order to stay on top of one’s game.
With the great transformation, the hospitality industry has been experiencing from a couple of years back and with the transformation going on currently, opportunities as well as competition, have greatly increased. As a startup, you won’t want to miss out on the opportunities but, you have to stay on top of your game to keep thriving in spite of the competition arising.
You also want to be sure that there are little to no technical glitches, staff are well-behaved and not negligent and that all slip-ups are well handled as these are some of the mistakes most startups make.
The hospitality industry is made up of 4 major aspects, food and beverages, travel and tourism, lodging and recreation. In spite of the strong competition arising, your brand should be recognized in the industry. These will make existing customers use your services over and over again as it has been discovered that repeating customers bring in a sizable portion of revenue. Your marketing strategies should be divided into 2. A part of the strategy should be directed towards maintaining a great relationship with past customers and the other should be targeted towards bringing in a new set of customers.
There are various marketing strategies to implement but these are 7 tips you’ll be thankful for.
1. Know And Understand Your Audience
Knowing one’s audience is one of the most important steps in any business as it is one of the pillars upholding marketing. You need to get an answer to some questions, questions like, who are my audience? Why did they choose my services over other multiple alternatives? And so on.
In order to know your audience, you have to know why they are visiting. For example, a group of girls just hanging out will have different needs and preferences when compared to couples on their honeymoon or someone on a business trip.
If you don’t know why they are visiting, you can ask them by making them feel a short survey. You can incentivize the survey depending on your resources. Make the survey short so that they won’t feel bugged.
You have to know why they are visiting in order to deliver the value they will appreciate. It will help you maximize your resources and your focus will only be on what they value. For example, if you run a hotel and your audience visits for a business meeting, high-speed Wi-Fi would be more valuable than a family-friendly breakfast.
Answering these questions will make you know their needs; it will help you serve them better without wasting resources on unnecessary things. It will make it easier to attract the right set of customers, improve their stay thereby growing the business.
You may discover that you have various audiences. These audiences will be targeted differently and catered for differently. You have to split them into various classes and use different strategies for them. With this, you can be so sure you’re sending the right message to the right prospects.
Allocate time to define your audiences so that you can deliver services that will be of great value.
2. Leverage On Technology
Technology has long taken over. In 2020, COVID-19 which is one of the major highlights of the year has made technology a force to be reckoned with. In this era, you can’t be thinking of marketing and not mention technology.
Talking about technology, you have to be sure you’re easily searchable online; you have to be everywhere relevant online. Knowing your customers will help you to know the right place to be online.
Most people now use search engines to know the right restaurants to go, the right hotels to lodge amidst others. Therefore, you must be on top of your SEO game. Use keywords relevant to the industry.
Your website is very important as it is the crux of any good online marketing strategy, it is an online place where people get to know about your business and make a decision to either patronize you or not. Most people go through customer reviews to make this decision. You can create a vacation rental website or even a hotel website depending on what you’re into.
Make sure your website is simple and breathtaking. Use professional photographs and videos of high quality, ensure your booking process is short and be sure your website loads within a short period of time.
You can also make use of softwares. You can use eZee Front desk which is a hotel software that is used for hotel reservations, event management, etc. There are other software such as hotelogix, 5stelle*,snappil and lots more for you to explore
3. Market Your Location
This works more for the lodging as well as the traveling and tourism aspects of the industry. You don’t just market your business, you market the location too. Chances are that people are indecisive about visiting the city where your hotel is located; this is why you should not just market what your hotel has to offer alone.
Tell them what makes the city or town a lovely place to visit. Leverage on the local attractions in your location. Tell people about the carnival they do, their culture. In short, promote what your location is well known for.
4. Your Customer Service Must Be Top-Notch
Gone are those days when ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ or a beautiful smile makes the customers happy. Although they are important especially in the hospitality industry, they are not enough as the guests are looking forward to having a relaxing, fun-filled, and comfortable stay.
Nowadays, customer service and marketing go hand in hand. If the customer is satisfied with your services especially if it is way beyond their expectations, they return this favor by referring others, giving awesome reviews on your website which can convince your online visitor into doing business with you.
In order to achieve this, train your staff with a customer-first mentality. Teach them little gestures such as providing guests with a bottle of drink or writing beautiful notes to apologize for a slipup. You can also teach them the basics of photography as a lot of guests will want to keep memories.
Little gestures like this will make the customer feel so loved and valued and it will make a lasting impact on them.
5. Differentiate Yourself From The Crowd
It is no longer news that a lot of competition is going on in the industry. To really stay on top of your game, you have to offer something unique and distinct to draw more guests.
Your customer service can make you stand out but you should also consider giving incentives to create a sense of urgency that will spur people into doing business with you. You can give them free access to your fitness facilities when they stay for 2 or more nights in your hotel.
6. Channel More Funds Into Marketing When The Booking Season Is At Its Peak
Make sure you know when everything is booming in the industry. Know when people book their trips, know the season for vacations. This boils down to you knowing and understanding your customers.
You’ll just be smart to spend more of your annual budget during the busy seasons. You need to plan ahead towards this season. Run lots of ads this season and market more so that you can attract enough customers during this period.
Build genuine relationships with local businesses, and global brands. Collaborate with bloggers, fashion designers, boutiques, people within the industry and companies with different backgrounds.
A good way to market is also by collaborating with social influencers as they have their own media platforms. You can pay them, offer them your services for free, or at a discount depending on what your collaboration entails and they in return share their experience with their audience.
As a startup, thriving in the hospitality industry can be a bit challenging with the competition increasing daily. But, you can surely gain more grounds when you know and understand your audience, leverage greatly on technology, satisfy your customers’ needs, know the season to channel more funds into marketing, and collaborate with the right set of people amidst others.