Increase Your Hospitality Brand’s Visibility
To achieve success in business, you need to have an active and engaged customer base – especially in an industry as large and diverse as Hospitality, where constant growth and changes in customer expectations are continually altering the accepted level of minimum standards of service.
As more and more people are using digital platforms such as Social Media sites, Review Sites and various Mobile Apps to decide where they will stay, visit and eat – and whether they will engage with a brand at all, it’s vital for Hospitality venues to have a dynamic online presence that puts them at the front of the consumer consciousness for the right reasons.
Your venue needs to appeal to tourists coming into the country to visit, and your local customers who also make use of different digital platforms to discover new venues for everything from a casual weekend getaway, to large-scale corporate events.
To stand out and make yourself seen, you need to have a presence that people are drawn to and are excited to engage with. It needs to match the energy and enthusiasm you put into the service you deliver at your physical location and speak with the same company voice.
Your digital presence is often the first point of interaction a potential customer has with your brand, to turn them from a ‘potential’ into an ‘actual’, you need to make a positive and memorable impact.
How do I Make an Impact?
In crowded markets, there is a lot of competition for audience attention. Knowing where you currently place online is a key starting point – this can be done through a review of your company, and its current strategies towards Social Media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Public Relations (PR), the content on your website and by evaluating third-party reviews and Influencer attention.
Once you know where your business is positioned, you can begin to formulate a data-driven analytical plan to increase your brand visibility in a positive, productive fashion.
It may take time to do the extensive research and data gathering, but this will allow you to identify your target audience, know how and when to engage with them, and enable you to produce content that is designed to capture their attention.
If you rush forward without this information, at best you may make a short-term impression on a small group of people – but this impression may not be targeted at the people who are willing to spend money, and will not last. The more you try to generate interest with short-term tactics – the more you risk alienating paying customers and damaging the integrity and trust of your brand.
Identifying your customer demographic and appealing to these people, will increase your brand’s visibility and encourage influencers to follow and share your content – generating a higher level of trusted advertising that speaks directly to the market.
Creating a Strategy
Once you know who your target audience is and what they are expecting from your venue, a workable strategy needs to be created and set to work.
To gain visibility, you need to include:
This means looking at the way your website is worded, what keywords you are using -and how well it is being picked up by search engines such as Google.
To see a steady increase in traffic being generated, you will need to ensure that your SEO techniques are updated regularly, and current trends are monitored.
Mobile Friendly Website/s
Mobile access is the future of the internet, if you don’t have a website that is fully functioning and accessible from a mobile device, your brand will not be as visible – and you will miss out on bookings and enquiries as a result.
Sharing content and linking to outside posts is one way of engaging your audience. But if you want them to connect with your company, and recognize your experience as a Hospitality Leader, you need to produce original content that has been specifically targeted for your audience – taking into account their age, gender, posting habits, location and any other pertinent factors.
Ideas could include videos, blogs and Instagram accounts that showcase your venue, menu and any local or historical highlights that may appeal to visitors.
Publishing or Linking to Reviews
There are lots of third-party review sites on the web, such as Zomato or Trip Advisor. You should be monitoring these channels and engaging with the people who are talking about your brand.
If the comments are good, thank them for their time.
If the comments are negative – don’t ignore them, this is your chance to turn their bad experience into a good one and potentially create a Brand Champion (someone who will promote your brand on their own social media networks).
Replying to customer feedback gives you the chance to learn and improve your service, and double the positive marketing sentiment.
It is also a good idea to post feedback and comments on your own website – allow people to see what others are saying about your company without leaving the site.
Public Relations are important – how you and your staff conduct themselves is a direct reflection of your brand and business as a whole. Employing someone to cultivate good will and engage with any issues that arise online will bring your company to the forefront – if people see that you are active, they will want to join in. If they see you care, they will remember you, and if they’ve had excellent service – they will recommend you.
Social Media Channels
In this digital world, Social Media is one of the most important tools that you can use for your business. These channels give you access to a massive audience that your company cannot afford to ignore.
Although the various platforms are grouped together under the umbrella of ‘social media’, they are all different and require different approaches to work effectively.
Instagram is popular amongst many travelers, who like to document their meals, hotel rooms, and the sights of their chosen city.
YouTube has a similar impact, with V-Loggers (Video Bloggers) documenting their journeys from start to finish.
Twitter, with its 140 character limit is often used for expressing emotions or sentiment – and more recently, as a popular method of contacting a brand’s customer services.
Facebook with the ability to post images and videos, and long textual comments often sees use for feedback and reviews, and engaging with brands directly.
Putting It into Practice
You need to decide on the key areas that your business wants to focus on – your brand needs to recognize where it wants to go, and how you want to get there.
With all these different approaches, it is important to determine who your audience is, and to be consistent – using one brand voice and styling, and posting on a regular basis. If your channels engage irregularly, your audience will grow bored of waiting for new content, and stop visiting.
Brand recognition will not happen overnight, it’s an ongoing process that requires time and dedication. You may not get it right the first time, and there will be changes you need to make along the way – but if you continue with it, and be sure to monitor and make use of the data you gather, your business will grow and be better for it.