The hospitality industry is one of the largest, most global industries. In almost any corner of this Earth, you can find a place to stay, or eat—for the right price. Traditionally, the margins for this industry are horrendously low. This can make spending on advertising a particularly severe sting, especially for smaller brands and businesses.
However, some hospitality investors continue to dump exorbitant amounts of budget into such promotional efforts. More often than not, their money could be better spent in other ways. The lines around an advertising budget can be incredibly thin, especially when a brand’s margins are.
While incredibly important, promotional efforts should never put you in the red. There are more effective ways to use your budget that could provide an equal, or greater return.
Invest in Your Space
The hospitality industry is all about providing an experience. That experience is encapsulated by whatever space you’re working with. Ensure the quality of all your spaces meet or exceed the quality of your brand. And vice versa.
You can spend a lot of money to create high expectations through advertising, but if your space doesn’t match up? You can kiss your ROI goodbye.
Spend the money to improve and maintain all areas of your resort, restaurant, bed and breakfast, or bar. Create spaces worth talking about, recommending, and remembering. This kind of word-of-mouth marketing will be more efficient and effective than an exaggeratedly-edited print campaign. Especially in our increasingly digital, ‘everybody’s an influencer’ world.
Invest in Your Staff
In addition to having well-manicured, updated spaces—you should have similarly high expectations for your staff. Especially in the hospitality industry, the people you hire are the people you choose to represent your brand.
Don’t micromanage, but take the time and make the effort to work with all of your staff on what it means to be a part of your team. Provide specialized training, treat them well, trust and respect their opinions and suggestions. These people are a huge piece of your marketing. The ways they act and communicate say a lot about your brand. They are often your consumer’s deciding factor on whether or not they’ll return.
Capitalize on Free & Earned Media
Once you’ve established an unforgettable space and experience, get it out there.
Social media, as we know, is vital. Especially in the hospitality industry. Usually, the best avoid any sales-related content. Sharing photos and videos that highlight the honest experience of being there. Encourage your guests to share content they create while there. Then, request to repurpose the best on your own feed.
Perhaps you commit to comping the tabs of a few top influencers from your area, to attract their audiences for your opening weekend, or other event/timeframe. Maybe you could donate your space for a non-profit’s event, or provide a platform for local up-and-coming artists (open mic nights, gallery-style shows, etc).
The potential here is endless. In the hospitality space, creativity provides just as much opportunity for success as budget. If not more.
What kind of promotions have you seen work exceptionally well for businesses and brands in the hospitality industry? What ones do you think are more of a waste…
Let’s talk about it in the comments!