Whatever the type of business, a strong marketing strategy is essential when you’re building and shaping your brand.
Enticing new customers and maintaining a loyal relationship with ones you already have is a critical factor when defining your business’ success.
In terms of marketing, the hospitality industry relies heavily on customer loyalty and relationships; there’s simply too much competition nowadays to not invest a lot of your time in a solid marketing strategy. How many great sushi spots have you been to, next to another great sushi spot, next to anoth… you get our drift.
Within hospitality, it’s vital marketing teams focus heavily on building brand awareness, from both print (not always) and digital marketing collateral to a great social media presence and interconnected campaigns.
The 7 P’s of Hospitality Marketing
When it comes to crafting a marketing strategy, you can refer to a basic marketing principle referred to as the ‘marketing mix’. The ‘marketing mix’ originally consisted of the “4 P’s”, defined as Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. Recently, however, three more P’s were added in the form of People, Packaging, and Positioning.
Just think of them as the 7 deadly sins that you actually need to commit. All 7 of them.
First, we start with product.
When it comes to marketing your product, think about what you’re selling, all of its features, and the benefits your customers will gain when they buy.
Consumers want to know that if they choose you, you’re going to deliver on what you promised, whether it’s taste, health, or just an overall better value than a competitor.
Take the classic battle of Cadbury vs Nestlé. Everyone prefers one over the other. But why?
Flavor is only part of the issue. The other is the customer identifying with the brand. Nestlé takes a millennial-centric approach to its marketing, often using the power of humor to make an impact on customers.
Cadbury, however, sets itself as a luxurious experience. Biting into a Cadbury candy exemplifies your maturity and sophisticated palette.
Price refers to how you set up your prices and how they will affect your customers.
You need to identify how much your demographic is willing to pay for your food and catering services and plan for overhead and overall costs including discounts, sales, or any other special promotions.
Now here comes the fun part.
Promotions are an exciting way to make your customers (and future customers) aware of your brand. Design these marketing tactics as interestingly and engaging as possible.
Think social media competitions, celebrity appearances (if you have the budget), and loyalty programs.
Buy one, get one free for a friend – what’s not to love?
Location, location, location.
It’s not enough to have mouth-watering dishes; you also need to be easily accessible and fit the right vibe of the neighborhood.
This is where your customer will meet your staff for the first, or hundredth, time. It’s where you practice where you preach: if you’re all about excellent customer service, this is where your customers are sure of it.
Remember, standing out from your competitors is what sets you apart in the hospitality business.
Consider a memorable fit-out of your retail space or hotel, as this could make for engaging content on social media.
Take Chin Chin for example. The modern-Asian restaurant features a Pink Bunny wall for customers to photograph and post online. Great place = great engagement.
Think of a time you’ve been disappointed with the service you received.
Remember it straight away?
That’s the thing about a bad experience – you never forget it. If your business provides outstanding service, you’ll create positive reinforcement in your customers about your brand.
Then, word will spread when you treat people right.
Provide bad service? It’s probably going to go viral on the ‘net:
This couple from the UK stayed at a hotel with a pretty crazy clause in the reservation agreement – leaving a negative review would result in a £100 fine.
Of course, the customers took their story straight to the press… and let’s just say if you Google the hotel, their click-through rate is high.
This alone should convince EVERYONE to do better – friendly and helpful interactions that put customers first should be at the forefront of what you do.
Well, it’s as simple as it sounds.
We’re talking every single element that goes into the visual aesthetics of your product or service, from the ambiance of the restaurant to product packaging.
You’re going to need to align the physical environment of your business with what you offer.
Take Taco Bell and Chipotle for example.
Taco Bell, America’s favorite Tex-Mex go-to, was on the top of the coveted fast food mountain.
Then came Chipotle.
Instead of trying to best Taco Bell with cheaper prices, they decided to beat them in quality. Chipotle positioned their food as more wholesome, advertising itself as hormone-free.
Remember to always think about positioning your brand to differentiate it in the crowded market by pushing what your audience will embrace.
Why go to Taco Bell for cheap food when you can go to Chipotle and enjoy REAL CHICKENS?
So what are we really saying?
Sure, there are a huge number of factors that will heavily impact the marketing development of your business in the hospitality industry, but by following the marketing mix, you’re definitely in for one hell of a shot.