Hotels looking to differentiate themselves in the market are hoping to lure experience-seeking travellers and locals with stunning social spaces centred around their food and beverage products.
From trendy rooftop bars and award-winning restaurants to boutique bakeries and coffee shops, F&B has become almost as critical to the guest experience as the location.
Yet, despite all the time and attention and development dollars spent creating these wonderful venues, hotel F&B continues to struggle for the attention of marketing dollars.
As hotels invest more in the quality of the product, a few simple tactics supported by a modest budget can help transform your F&B from a guest only experience to a celebrated local destination.
Here are four tactics to help support your hotel’s F&B.
1. Saturate your local market
One of the smartest digital tactics to increase your restaurant’s footprint in the local market is to leverage social media advertising.
Facebook’s Reach & Frequency campaign feature can be a powerful tool to this end, allowing you to identify the size of your local audience and set a fixed frequency controlling the amount of times your audience sees your ads.
Think of it as setting up a “virtual billboard” in the Facebook and Instagram feeds of users in your local market, which you don’t take down or change until your audience has viewed the ad at least five or six times.
If your budget permits, you can saturate the local market in the first three months of the campaign, and then follow-up that effort with targeted remarketing campaigns throughout the remainder of the year.
This is especially useful for new opens or restaurant re-brands looking to jump-start awareness.
2. Control your search
A surprising amount of hotels don’t invest the time or budget into formulating the basic building blocks of a searchable online presence for their f&b outlets.
Don’t make that mistake. Be sure that you are properly represented across all digital channels.
Take control of your search appeal, starting with a vital, yet underutilised tool: your Google My Business listing.
Make sure you’ve “claimed” this listing, and set it up properly with useful information, photos, hours of operation, etc. Then do the same for Bing Places. Each of these services are free and require minimal setup time.
You’ll also want to take similar action with your Yelp listing. Again, these listings need to be formally “claimed” by your business, in order for you to control the information provided.
Your budget may not permit running ads on Yelp, but setting the basic listing up at least lets you control your persona there, and there are some affordable fee-based services that can offer greater control.
Remember to review your presence across all digital and social channels. For example, when someone looks up your hotel’s restaurant on Instagram, what do they see? Make sure it’s the image you want to convey.
This extends to search, too: If your brand isn’t coming up prominently in search engine results, perhaps it’s time to explore using Google AdWords. If your budget allows, you can then add search and display ads to the mix.
Another highly effective method of supporting your hotel’s F&B offering is to remarket to users who have already shown interest in your establishment. Start by utilising Facebook and Instagram’s abilities to layer-on marketing messages after a first interaction, to build a relationship with users.
Facebook remarketing ads are known to get as much as three times more engagement than regular Facebook ads, since the targeting is so precise.
The same strategy can be applied to your hotel guests. You can entice your lodging customers to make reservations at the restaurant, by sending them a welcome email after booking, which spotlights the restaurant and/or offers a promotion.
You can also train your front desk staff to always offer guests the opportunity to make a dinner reservation at check-in.
4. Build a restaurant microsite.
Finally, don’t neglect the many benefits of building a dedicated website for your F&B outlet(s). Your F&B offering deserves a site all its own, and having one will go a long way toward creating a branded persona for the restaurant/outlet.
When building the microsite, establish clear key performance indicators for what you hope to achieve, whether it’s online reservations, menu views, phone calls, etc. Then, optimise the site for the conversions that matter most to the business.
This may include offering Open Table online reservations functionality, map and menu views and a “click to call” button that goes straight to your reservations line. The latter is an essential, but frequently overlooked, feature that mobile-using diners greatly appreciate.
Tambourine is a US-based marketing, booking and distribution service that helps hotel and travel marketers sort it all out. It delivers a 360º program that reduces stress and increases revenue.