Monthly Archives: September 2011

Key Steps for Protecting your Restaurant Reputation Online

Guest blog by Ken Burgin, Profitable Hospitality

Are you prepared for negative comments or critical reviews online? When they happen, most people go into an offended, helpless rage – it’s not a position of strength!

This video introduces a 3-step strategy to manage your reputation online. It was recorded from the recent webinar ‘Fast-Track Social Media Marketing for Restaurants, Cafes and Bars’.

 

For more from Ken go to Profitable Hospitality


Facebook – Fad, fan or fear

To what extent have you embraced social media to help market your hotel or restaurant? Are you already a fan of Facebook or do you still think it’s just as fad, or do you fear it.

I have to confess that I’ve been in the last category; I’m fine with LinkedIn and Twitter but up till now just couldn’t get my head round Facebook. Maybe I was a bit sceptical about the value of Facebook as a way to market a hotel or hospitality business.

After attending a webinar earlier this week with Barry Chandler, The Bar Blogger, looking at Facebook specifically for hospitality businesses I’ve been convinced!

Here are just 10 of the tips I picked up on how to use Facebook to help market your hotel or restaurant

  1. You need a Facebook page (opposed to a profile or group) as you can:
    – Ask people to like your page
    – Customise your page
    – Add contact forms
    – Not be limited to the number of fans (with a Facebook profile your limit is 5000)
  2. Choose your name carefully once set up you can’t ever rename your page
  3. Customise your URL to match your business name to make it easier for people to find you
  4. On the welcome tab encourage people to click your like button by giving them some incentive in the same way you would be getting people to sign up for your newsletter
  5. Use the page to capture contact details
  6. Add menu tabs to give more details on specific themes of interest such as your menu
  7. Offer exclusive deals or behind-the-scenes content for your Facebook fans to encourage them to interact
  8. Encourage people to take pictures and add your tag, so all their friends find their way back to your Facebook page
  9. Interact with your fans to get feedback and build the relationship e.g. asking them to vote their preferences
  10. Remember to track how people find you so you know whether or not your Facebook (or any other marketing) activity is working for you

How to Reward Referrals for your Hotel or Restaurant

As an absolute minimum, ensure that you thank anyone who makes referrals for your hotel or restaurant to encourage them to continue to do so in future. Don’t wait to see if this actually leads to business, as what you are looking to reward is the referral process. The more referrals you have the greater the likelihood of gaining new guests.

Consider what other tangible incentives you might give that are of high value to the person making the referral, but don’t cost you the earth. Naturally you’ll want to ensure that the cost of the incentive does not outweigh the life time value of the referral.  But bear in mind what you give as a thank you may also be a way of adding to the life time value of the person making the referral too.

The nature of this incentive will obviously depend on where the referral came from.

For hotel guests or restaurant customers they might include such things as a gift, discount off their next meal, a room upgrade, an invitation to an exclusive event. Perhaps team up with one of your joint venture partners; this could be services or maybe branded products. A win–win–win for you, your joint venture partner and the customer.

For corporate users make the incentive something your guest can benefit from personally. It’s little incentive for them if it is something they’d normally put though business expenses. So can you offer something as a thank you which will encourage them to come back on a personal visit and maybe bring their family and friends too?

For suppliers, joint venture partners or other local businesses you may want to look at alternate ways to say thank you. This might be an opportunity to get in front of some of your other customers or guests through promotional activities or hosting joint special events. Talk to them directly to see how you can return the favour. Just by asking the question will in itself show you appreciate the referral.

Encourage your staff too to make referrals. Let them show they are proud of where they work. The reward obviously needs to reflect the value of the business; recommending your restaurant to a friend doesn’t warrant the same level of recognition as inviting a friend or relative for a wedding show round and subsequent wedding booking.

What might appeal to them may be dependent on the profile of your team. A cash bonus might work for some, but is soon forgotten whereas a couple of tickets for a show or concert, or a night in a sister hotel or meal with a JV partner will be far more memorable – and visible to other team members too to encourage the same from them.

Once you have a referral system in place, keep track of where and how you’re getting successful referrals. This will enable you to find out what works and what doesn’t, so you can continue to refine the process.

For more articles and resources https://www.naturallyloyal.com/products-resources/


Make the referral process easy for your hotel or restaurant customers

For hotel guests or restaurant diners the sooner you ask for referrals after they have stayed or visited, the better. This is the time they are likely to be most positive about what you delivered.

The way you ask for referrals is key. If you ask: “Do you know anyone who might be interested in receiving details of our promotions?” you are likely to get  “No” or at best “I’ll think about it.”

But if you ask a specific question, for example:

Who else do you know who is celebrating [their birthday, wedding anniversary, retirement …] in the next few months and may be interested in our [all-inclusive weekend breaks, wine promotion…]?

Creating a simple referral form that you include with the bill can encourage existing guests to make referrals. Make this prominent, and offer incentives for them to give you names.

Maintain relationships with your customers, even if the likelihood of more business with them is limited. They are more likely to refer you to friends, colleagues or others if they have had recent communication from you. Even if a guest only stays with you once they have a network of friends and colleagues who may also be your ideal guests. The lifetime value of one guest can be their connections to other guests, too.

On Monday we’ll go on to look at what you can do the reward those who give you referrals to encourage them to do it again, and again.

For more articles and resources https://www.naturallyloyal.com/products-resources/


How to encourage referrals

Yesterday I was asked what type of incentives hotels or restaurants can provide for loyal customers to encourage them to become ambassadors and drum up business for you. But before we cover that, let’s consider why and how you’d encourage this type of loyalty.

We all know of the importance of online reviews, but I’m not talking here about general comments open to anyone. And offering any incentive for positive reviews will soon get you into hot water with most of the online review sites.

I’m referring here to your regulars, those who are already loyal to you, and if given a little encouragement are happy to refer you to friends, family and colleagues.

Referrals are a great way to build your customer base – if a person comes to you as a result of a referral, you don’t need to go out and find them. This is a much easier way to market a hotel! The person who made the referral has already experienced what you offer and will do the selling for you.

Referrals build loyalty with the people who recommend you – they will want to be seen to stand by their referral by continuing to come to you themselves.

Give people a reason to talk about you

So how do you get people talking about you, and how do you get referrals? As I’ve stated before, they won’t say good things about you unless you meet and exceed their expectations. So first, do something exceptional.  Identify things that are of high value to your guests but low cost to you so you can give added value. Give people that reason to talk about you.

If you don’t ask you don’t get

But referrals won’t always happen unless you ask for them.

If you don’t ask you often don’t get. So don’t be afraid to ask people directly who else they know who may be interested in specific packages or services you offer.

The obvious people to ask for referrals are your existing guests. Focus on those guests or customers who are your ‘perfect guests’ as the people they refer will be a better match to your preferred type of guest.

Think about other people who know you well enough to recommend you. This might include colleagues, suppliers, local businesses, joint venture partners, your own team and others in your network.

This will be easier the better they know you and when they fully understand the extent of everything you offer. So let them experience this first hand. A prime example is your local tourist office – they won’t want to recommend you unless they’ve experience your hospitality first hand. The same goes for local businesses of joint venture partners, who may have customers needing a place to say. So invite them to a showcase event or to a more personalised invitation for dinner, overnight or event.

The same goes for your staff too, they need to experience what your guest experiences. When was the last time any of your team ate in your restaurant, slept in one of your beds, or was pampered in your spa?

Tomorrow we’ll look at how to make the referral process easy.

For more articles and resources https://www.naturallyloyal.com/products-resources/