Best UK Wedding Venues On Instagram 2017

Instagram is home to stunning photography and social networking through a photographic medium. To-date over 40 billion photos & videos have been shared on Instagram! [1]

Wedding venues have a unique ability to take advantage of Instagram due to the very nature of their businesses.

Everyday 1,000’s of weddings take place across the UK, resulting in millions of photos that wedding venues can harness. With each wedding comes a unique new take on the location, providing an endless supply of ever-changing photographic content for venues to publish.

Below you’ll find 10 of the top wedding venues to follow on Instagram in 2017!

Aynhoe Park
1,024 Posts | 11,300+ Followers

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“A private family home embodying British eccentricity, just one hour from London.”

Got to be honest, I was won over by the silver tray croc, and that was before I saw the other incredible photos from this curious English wedding venue.

@AynhoePark

Calcot Manor
677 Posts | 2,400+ Followers

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“Celebrated country house hotel with world-class spa, restaurant, pub and meeting rooms set in 220 acres of Cotswolds meadowland.”

Calcot Manor are very active on social media, with beautiful promotional and ‘behind the scenes’ published posts.

@Calcot_Manor

Limewood Hotel
1,304 Posts | 19,500+ Followers

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“5 star luxury country house hotel and spa in the New Forest.”

Limewood Hotel is a fantastic country escape wedding venue that loves to celebrate their incredible culinary expertise. Lots of mouth watering imagery used in their posts.

@LimewoodHotel

Hedsor House
642 Posts | 8,700+ Followers

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“Tatler & Vogue’s dream wedding venue, filming & corporate retreat location.”

Weddings at Hedsor House are magnificent. With spectacular spaces both indoors and out, it’s easy to understand why it’s a dream wedding venue for so many brides.

@Hedsor

Woods’ Silver Fleet
695 Posts | 880+ Followers

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“Luxe river cruisers Silver Sturgeon, Silver Barracuda & Silver Darling.”

Ultimate luxury British wedding venue, a private yacht charter on the River Thames, Laurent-Perrier champagne in hand!

@Woods_Silver_Fleet

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
1,505 Posts | 10,100+ Followers

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“Steeped in history, it’s one of London’s most romantic wedding venues.”

This hotel venue is an icon for London luxury. Instagram posts are elegant and artistic, but still with a sense of fun and excitement for this historic wedding venue.

@StPancrasRen

Hotel Café Royal
1,392 Posts | 23,700+ Followers

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“A British institution in the heart of London.”

Continuing the London luxury venue theme, Hotel Café Royal on Regent Street presents Instagram followers with images of high-end luxury, quality, fine food and British elegance.

@HotelCafeRoyal

Tunnels Beaches
72 Posts | 347+ Followers

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“A uniquely designed coastal wedding venue – accessed via a hand carved tunnel through the cliff”

Whilst not the most followed Instagram wedding venue, Tunnels Beaches makes our list simply due to its awe-inspiring location and photographic content.

@TunnelsBeaches

Great Fosters
602 Posts | 2,400+ Followers

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“A luxury hotel with 2 restaurants in a Grade One listed building set in 50 acres of stunning gardens.”

Hugely romanticised, this historic wedding venue gardens provide an idyllic backdrop for Brides & Grooms, even including a Japanese bridge.

@GreatFosters

Blenheim Palace
326 Posts | 35,400+ Followers

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“The Palace is surrounded by over 90 acres of Formal Gardens including the Water Terraces, Rose Garden and the Duke’s Italian Garden, which provide a romantic and charming backdrop for your special occasion.”

Who wouldn’t want to get married in a palace! Much of this wedding venue’s Instagram posts depict the stunning grounds upon which Blenheim Palace is found.

@BlenheimPalace

This is just a handful of the fantastic UK wedding venues using Instagram in 2017. For information on more locations take a look at Instagram accounts like:

TheWeddingVenueGroupRusticBarnWeddingWedding_VenuesUKWeddingVenues & ElegantWeddingVenues – or search #WeddingVenueon Instagram (618,000+ public posts, May 2017).


Does your Wedding venue use Instagram or other social media platforms to engage with potential Brides? If not, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to be seen by young Brides & Grooms who are making their wedding location decisions online!

LeadDigital support wedding venues and hospitality brands with their digital marketing, across social and paid channels. We can help you devise the perfect strategy and support its implementation for maximum results!

 

Need Help Increasing Your Wedding Venue Bookings?

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/139-facts-and-stats-about-instagram-you-should-be-aware-2017-infographic

Why are Venues Using Survey Software?

It’s 7am Monday morning. You wake up, grab a coffee and read an email from your senior events planner telling you how Saturday’s event at your venue was an incredible success.

At this point it would be very easy to think “job done” and go about the rest of your day. Instead you pause and ask yourself – how does my team actually know the event was successful?

In our experience, most venues get event feedback from just one source, the event organiser. Of course they’re going to give good feedback, it was their event, they planned it and unless something went dramatically wrong, it was always going to be how they wanted it. However, let’s say this was a corporate event for 300 people, what did the other 299 guests think of the experience?

For all you know, the food could have been cold for half the guests and one of your waitresses could have been incredibly rude – but if this isn’t being fed back, it won’t be corrected.

So what’s the solution? Our recommendation is the use of online survey software, and our preferred solution is SurveyMonkey. Below I’ll explain why, and how it can benefit your venue.

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Guest feedback is vitally important. It’s the key to understanding your target market, their wants, needs and expectations, and it can provide insights that shape future business and marketing plans.

Typically for venues there are three stages of event survey: Planning, Real-Time & Post Event

Stage 1 – Event Planning

Survey software helps decision making become quick and (reasonably) painless. Rather than lots of back and forth questioning over email or phone, you can obtain all the event information you need in a single form. This can be as simple or complex as required, from just confirming headcount to gathering info on dietary restrictions or individual requests.

Event planning surveys give you a head start on guest expectations. Used as a research tool, surveys provide insights that enable you to plan the perfect occasion. Collected data can also be saved for future sales and marketing efforts, such as finding out where they originally saw your venue.

Stage 2 – Real-Time Surveys

Also known as “mid-event” or “during-event” surveys, this stage is about two things, encouraging engagement and gaining immediate feedback. Here are a few examples:

  • An event includes a meal. Between the starter and main course, have servers use a tablet to conduct a short and sweet survey. This way, you can immediately make corrections there and then before the meal’s second half begins.
  • You’re running a corporate conference. Between speakers, ask attendees to quickly complete a live survey on their mobiles about the event so-far. This feedback can then be shared with upcoming speakers who can adapt their talk accordingly.
  • Guests want to access your free wifi during an event. When they try to connect ask them first to complete a poll including their email address. This way you’ll get live feedback and a possible future sales lead!

More often than not, venues only ever have contact details for the event planner. We 100% recommend obtaining contact details for all attendees whenever possible, and real-time surveys provide the perfect opportunity to collect this info.

Stage 3 – Post Event Surveys

Of all the stages, post event surveys are the most important to action. This is because, using a well considered email strategy you can reach event goers just a day or two after the occasion, and get fresh feedback on their overall experience.

If you only did one survey, we’d recommend this option, as information collected will encompass the entire event from start to finish. It is also the perfect opportunity to build a relationship with each event guest individually, which if incentivised, could lead to future bookings.

Why SurveyMonkey?

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SurveyMonkey report over 25+ million business customers worldwide, with 99% of the Fortune 500 using this survey platform and over 3 million survey responses collected every day [1]. Their mission states:

“We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get at the knowledge you need to make smart, informed choices” [2]

There are five dominant reasons we love SurveyMonkey:

  1. Ease of use. SurveyMonkey is a very accessible and user friendly platform. Whilst it can be made more complex, it’s not overly complicated to get up and running with a new survey. Their survey builder is logically laid out and offers many design features, although you need a paid plan to take advantage of all options available.
  2. Templates. They provide over 200 expertly written surveys covering pretty much every subject you could imagine. So whether time is limited or imagination is lacking, there’s probably a template available to help get you started.
  3. Tips & Advice. SurveyMonkey offer a massive amount of online support, with tips and best practices on everything from the dos and don’ts of question writing, to help analysing survey results and next best steps.
  4. Integrations. In this digital world it’s becoming vital that software can talk to other platforms, and SurveyMonkey does this brilliantly. For example: Integrate with MailChimp for your email marketing, Eventbrite to contact event attendees, SalesForce for enriched CRM data or select one of the many other integrations available.
  5. Reporting. SurveyMonkey provide advanced but understandable analytics data for every survey you create; meaning that not only can you share stunning surveys, you can also discover exactly how to use data gathered wisely.

Conclusion

So why are venues using survey software? It’s because they can collect vital information about their venue and organised events otherwise unavailable, that can assist in decision making across all areas of a hospitality business. It also enables greater greater levels of guest satisfaction, which can lead to retention, referrals and brand loyalty.

At LeadDigital we can help with all your venues survey requirements. Starting with an initial consultation to develop a strategy plan, we support survey designs, implementation, integrations with other platforms and results reporting.

 

Want to Speak to us About Survey Software?

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/event-planning-surveys/?ut_source=header
[2] https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/mp/aboutus/

Top Hospitality News Resources 2017

It’s not hard in 2017 to find information online about the hospitality industry. In fact, with content blogging sites such as WordPress quoting 84.3 million new content posts each month [1], we’re now entering an age of information overload!

With this being the case, finding reliable resources online that can provide the latest news related to hotels, restaurants, events venues and hospitality in general, can be difficult.

To help, LeadDigital have complied a list of eight news and learning resources that hospitality professionals should be using in 2017. Let us know your thoughts on these and any other resources in the comments section below.

BigHospitality

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“BigHospitality is an on-line resource for those working in, and interested in, the hospitality industry.” [2]

A great ‘all rounder’ website for UK hospitality news, they feature sector specific news, expert advice articles, interviews and much more. Check the website regularly, or sign up to their free newsletter.

www.bighospitality.co.uk

Event Magazine

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“Event is the UK’s leading brand for the event industry, focusing on brand experiences and the channel of experiential.” [3]

Event is a fantastic website for brand marketers and event professionals. It does provide news articles, but also has a large knowledge data base to help inspire memorable events and experiences for venues.

www.eventmagazine.co.uk

Event Industry News

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“Event Industry News (EIN) is an online event magazine that provides the latest news to the events industry.” [4]

With 49,000 unique readers viewing 683,000 pages each month, it’s no surprise EIN is considered a leader in news for the event industry. With guest blogs, Podcasts and even TV video pages, this is a website you could easily spend many hours exploring!

www.eventindustrynews.com

Event Manager Blog

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EventMB has become the go-to online resource for Trends, Technology, Innovation and Education for the event industry.” [5]

Compared to the above websites, EventMB is a much simpler, easy to navigate resource specifically for trends and technology. A great site for hospitality professionals interested in the rise of AI, virtual reality, drone videos and similar technological changes in the industry.

www.eventmanagerblog.com

Hospitality Net

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It’s massive. As resources go, Hospitality Net is huge and if you can’t find the information you need here, good luck finding it anywhere else. However, keep in mind it’s a global resource, and although you can do some filtering, finding information purely for the UK market is difficult. Londoners, check out their ‘London Hot Spot’ page here.

www.hospitalitynet.org

The Hotel Marketing Association

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“The Hotel Marketing Association is the leading professional body for hotel marketers and advocates for best marketing practices within the hospitality sector.” [6]

If you are a hotel owner or marketer, you’ve probably come across the HMA in your travels. Whilst their news section is normally only about HMA specific stories, their blog pages are particularly good sources of information for those interested in hotel marketing best practices.

www.hotelmarketingassociation.com

HotelMarketing.Com

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Where Hospitality Net mentioned above can be somewhat overwhelming, HotelMarketing.com is the polar opposite. Simple, clean, easily digestible news articles designed for hoteliers and marketing professionals. If this sounds like you, join 45,000+ subscribers in receiving their daily news roundup.

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The Caterer

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“We offer the most valuable content, the best jobs and the most sophisticated digital platform available to hotel, restaurant, foodservice and pub and bar operators across the country.” [7]

As you can probably guess from a name like ‘The Caterer’, whilst they discuss news from the whole hospitality industry, there is certainly a focus towards food and drink. This is most obvious when viewing the ‘Chef’ pages, with articles like “Best Chef of March 2017”, “Menuwatch” and “Chef Revelations”.

www.thecaterer.com


LeadDigital are a passionate team of digital marketing experts, specialising in best practices and marketing technologies for UK hotels, venues, restaurants and hospitality businesses. We help brands attract, convert and retain customers, looking to blur lines between the physical and digital worlds!

 

Ready to See What LeadDigital Can Do for You?

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] https://wordpress.com/activity/
[2] http://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Info/About-us
[3] http://www.eventmagazine.co.uk/about-event
[4] https://www.eventindustrynews.com/event-magazine-event-management/
[5] http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/about-me
[6] http://www.hotelmarketingassociation.com/what-is-the-hma.html
[7] https://www.thecaterer.com/s/aboutus

Top 5 Marketing Automation Tools 2017

Marketing automation platforms are designed to manage and automate repetitive tasks for marketing professionals and organisations. As a hospitality business owner or marketing employee, we know that correctly structured marketing plans require forethought and a long term strategy. Much of this can be planned, scheduled and actioned using a marketing automation software tool.

Common capabilities include management of social media and scheduled posts, email marketing, digital adverts, lead generation tools and insightful analytical reporting systems.

Below are five of LeadDigital’s preferred marketing automation software platforms in 2017:

Pardot by Salesforce | Pardot.com

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Pardot is the popular B2B marketing platform brought to us from the huge CRM provider Salesforce. Pardot focuses on the lead generation side of marketing automation, and is structured towards creating more meaningful conversations with existing and new clients. Going beyond features, if you’re a Salesforce CRM user, this platform is ideal given its air-tight integration with the CRM.

Pro: All the features you could need. Tight integration with Salesforce.

Con: Doesn’t play well with others, few additional integrations. At the higher price end for a marketing automation platform (standard £800/mo).

ActiveCampaign | Activecampaign.com

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ActiveCampaign are a much more affordable marketing automation provider, perfect for small hotels or events venues. They may be less known than some other platforms, but it’s very hard to critique AC. They have a huge feature collection including the ability to create automated workflows and the various integration possibilities.

Pro: Cost effective, from around £15/mo for their basic package. Lots of features and a strong focus on email marketing.

Con: Some areas of the tool feel outdated, such as the email builder, when compared to alternatives available.

Act-On | Act-on.com

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Act-on believe their niche comes in the form of “outstanding experiences for customers“. Much of their marketing automation capabilities are around lead nurturing, and their support for clients is very highly rated. We would like to see some improvements to their reporting features, but otherwise this is a strong, easy to use contender.

Pro: Flexible platform, built for marketing teams not developers/engineers.

Con: Reporting is somewhat limited, some tools can be quite basic.

Marketo | uk.Marketo.com

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If you’re somewhere between the small hotel and enterprise-sized corporate events company, then Marketo could be the right tool for you. It’s not for the faint hearted, but is very intuitive and offers solutions that go much deeper than many of its competitors. We particularly like how current they are, regularly developing new services to match the digital landscape.

Pro: An industry leader, huge range of solutions, always updating services.

Con: In the higher price bracket, considered to have limited reporting & analytics abilities.

HubSpot | Hubspot.com/Marketing

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HubSpot is very features rich. It’s a platform that can do basically everything, and in our opinion, does it all to an incredibly high standard. Although they do offer HubSpot Marketing as a separate platform, when combined with their CRM and Sales tools this software becomes an all-in-one tool for complete business management.

Pro: Easy to use, designed for small businesses, lots of support and educational learning facilities available. Always trying to help clients get the most from the platform.

Con: Expensive compared to alternatives. Some features only available at additional costs, and often there are lower cost software options that provide the same functionality.

Conclusion

Whilst we only name five platforms here, there are various other tools available online today which can serve the same or similar marketing automation tasks. The important thing to consider is what your hospitality business actually needs, what you will actually use, and choosing a platform that fits.

At LeadDigital we have experience working with a wide range of marketing automation software tools for various clients, so understand the best ways to get more from the software.

 

Would You Like to Speak to LeadDigital About Marketing Automation?

Contact Us Today

 

 

Ten of 2017’s Best Hotel & Venue Blogs

Blogging is Brilliant!

It’s not easy, and certainly takes a great deal of time management, careful planning and content organisation to get right. However, when successfully crafted, blogs can inspire customer engagement and loyalty, they can provide insights into your hotel or venue for prospective guests, and are fantastic for inbound marketing.

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On WordPress alone 87.6 million new blog posts are produced each month [1]. With so much new content being shared in 2017, hospitality businesses need to be relevant, niche and overall interesting to keep the attention of blog subscribers. The following overviews 10 of our favourite blogs, from hotels and venues across the UK.

The Grove
blog.thegrove.co.uk

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The Grove is a luxury 5 star country estate hotel, located in Watford, Hertfordshire. Their blog makes our list for two reasons: 1. they don’t shy away from longer articles, and 2. they have a clear sense of brand personality (particularly suitable for golf lovers). When writing blog articles it’s important to think about word count, as longer content tends to perform better in search engines.

Andrew Brownsword Hotels
brownswordhotels.co.uk/blog

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“A renowned collection of privately owned properties situated in some of Great Britain’s most memorable locations.” – This hospitality blog strikes a chord with us because of its use of very high quality photography. In 2017 photos and videos dominate content marketing [2], so it’s important to be optimizing these wherever possible.

Ace Hotel
blog.acehotel.com

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The Shoreditch London Ace Hotel is home to creatives, artists and theatrics. Their blog highlights this wonderfully, talking about the resident artists that stay with them and the creations they produce, whilst continuing to promote the location. This develops an impression and sense of expectation about the hotel to potential guests, before they even book a room.

Eden Hotel Collection
edenhotelcollection.com/eden-life

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Each hotel we review approaches blogging differently, and in the case of Eden Hotel Collection their blog titled ‘Eden Life’ looks to engage readers with an honest insight into hotel life. A stand out for us was their use of guest bloggers, as this not only promotes the Eden Hotel Collection, but also opens the door for guests to equally promote new articles in their social circles, leading to additional influencer associated marketing.

The Admirable Crichton
admirable-crichton.co.uk/blog

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Also known as ‘The AC’ this events company is known for producing some of the world’s most stunning and creative events – from intimate occasions to huge parties! When it comes to their blog, for one we enjoy their use of tiled photos on the top page. Another business not afraid to use photography, their blog articles are visually rich but also have engaging written content that you don’t just want to skim read.

Beds on Board
blog.bedsonboard.com

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Ever wanted to sleep aboard a Sunseeker yacht? Meet Beds on Board, the boat hotel company. The written content within their blog is very good, but we were impressed more by their approach to readers – with two separate blog options, one for guests, the other for boat owners. It’s vital to understand the different demographics within your audience and produce content that appeals to them uniquely!

Watergate Bay Hotel
watergatebay.co.uk/blog

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“An inspiring group of foodies, surfers, cyclists, music-lovers, beach dwellers, equestrians, creators & friends.” – If this sounds like you, then you’ll love Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall. Their blog is all about telling the hotels story, whether thats by highlighting their stunning beach location, talking BBQ’s or showing off their fantastic cocktail range!

The Idle Rocks
idlerocks.com/blog

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Consistency can be the life and death of a good blog. Post too little or too much and you’ll lose your readers interest pretty quick. The Idle Rocks have this down to an art, with regular, consistant posts that are wonderfully relevant to the hotel. They also score points for separating out their blog articles into specific groups e.g. ‘Cocktail of the Month’.

Bourne & Hollingsworth
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Bourne & Hollingsworth take a unique approach to their core blog, treating it more like a social media platform, with polaroid-style images and text snippets that give you the reader, a brief glance into their venues and events. Whilst we generally recommend more written content, this approach may be better suited to 2017’s visually driven subscriber / event goer.

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Castle Howard
castlehoward.co.uk/news-room/blog

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Finally, Castle Howard in York. We love a castle at LeadDigital, and being set within 1,000 acres of country landscape, it’s understandable they’d have a lot to talk about! Their blog is promoted across the Castle Howard website, and covers everything from horticulture, to bird watching and gift guides. We rate them highly based on how they personalise each writer on the team, so a clear range of personalities can be enjoyed.


Do you need support improving how readers engage with your hotel or venues current blog?

Looking to start blogging but not sure where to start, or how to get a subscriber list in the first place?

Speak to LeadDigital today. We can help guide and structure your digital marketing, ensuring you reach the right people, at the right time, with the best content marketing designed around increasing bookings & event sales.

 

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] https://wordpress.com/activity/
[2] https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.000010dglkdknbd6tvkb1ahqiboih

10 Examples Of Awesome Venue Websites

Venue websites must be beautifully designed and engaging to entice visitors into choosing their location over the various alternatives available. It’s not simply enough to have an online presence in 2017, venues must also think about a website’s goals and functionality. Keep in mind your website may be the first interaction a new customer has with your business, so it will speak volumes about your brand and quality expectations.

With this in mind, here are 10 UK venues that have awesome websites live today!

Tower Bridge

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“The most famous bridge in the world houses three stunning venue areas, each one a unique and memorable setting for celebrations of every kind.” – This is both a practical and structurally well designed website for event planners, making it simple to learn more about Tower Bridge and make an enquiry. The use of virtual tours aids in providing insight into the venue before a real world visit.

Twitter: @TowerBridge
Instagram: @towerbridgeevents
Website: www.towerbridgeevents.co.uk

One Events

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“Whether you’ve popped the question and you’re looking for somewhere intimate to tie the knot, you’re looking for somewhere to impress clients and colleagues, or you’ve got something to celebrate, you’re sure to find the perfect event venue with us.” – One MaryleboneOne BelgraviaOne Embankment and the recently added One Adelphi make up four of the most prestigious venues in London, all under the One Events brand. This sense of quality and exclusivity is mirrored on their website, with the use of gold, luxury fonts and detailed information on each venue (including 3D tours).

Twitter: @oneeventslondon
Instagram: @oneeventslondon
Website: one-events.co.uk

Burley Manor

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“Tasty food and bespoke services, offer you the chance to create your individual event in this beautiful rural location that is sure to impress your guests.” – A modern yet warming website, Burley Manor have clearly put a great deal of thought into the design, creating an impression of rustic luxury. From a visual perspective, we particuarly like the use of animated text on each page, which grabs the attention of visitors.

Twitter: @Burley_Manor
Instagram: @burleymanor
Website: www.burleymanor.com

Woods’ Silver Fleet

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“Create a stunning top deck canapé reception followed by an intimate dinner in the River Room, or invite a larger guest list to enjoy the entire vessel and the drama of your own private yacht, luxurious in space and service.” – Woods’ Silver Fleet create some of the most exclusive events in London, held on the iconic River Thames. A clean design and simple layout make this site easy to navigate, whilst contemporary fonts and images are on-brand and resonate the luxury status of the venue.

Twitter: @WoodsThames
Instagram: @woods_silver_fleet
Website: www.silverfleet.co.uk

Urban Guild

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“Big grins, flip flops, happy staff and happy customers, inspired, energetic environments.” – Urban Guild own a number of bars, restaurants & hotels on the UK’s south coast. For events, their ‘Urban Reef‘ restaurant offers a unique and beautiful beachfront location, perfect for private and corporate occasions. Their website mirrors the brand’s bright and exciting style, with an informal, yet high quality finish maintained throughout.

Twitter: @theurbanguild
Instagram: @theurbanguild
Website: urbanguild.co.uk

Natural History Museum

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“It’s magnificent architecture and collections create the perfect backdrop for any event.” – Already an icon of London, The Natural History Museum offers event planners an incredible opportunity to deliver any type of occasion within this spectacularly stunning setting. Their website is very practical and has been created to handle the wide range of activites going on at the museum. The venue hire area provides quick access to the different events the building accomodates, and makes it easy to get in contact.

Twitter: @NHM_London
Instagram: @natural_history_museum
Website: www.nhm.ac.uk

8 Northumberland Avenue

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“8 Northumberland Avenue is one of the finest and grandest venues in London. Our team are dedicated to making every event a success. For the best venue hire London has, look no further.” – This is a venue website that’s all about the photography! This is not just a case of using high definition, beautifully shot art, but also how it has been intelligently placed across the site to create the biggest impact. Colour management is another core strength of this site, and the venue look to highlight the reactive 16 million colour lighting system they have available.

Twitter: @8Northumberland
Instagram: @8northumberland
Website: www.8northumberland.co.uk

Aynhoe Park

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“A country house of stories and surprises – a place where the extraordinary happens every day.” – Aynhoe Park consider themselves a venue for unique and creative celebrations, promising a countryside escape like no other. From corporate retreats, to filming, weddings and even children’s parties, this venue has the flexibility to make any occasion magical. The website is very modern and sharp, with the bold use of charcoals on a crisp white background, alongside inspiring, artistic photography.

Twitter: @aynhoepark
Instagram: @aynhoepark
Website: aynhoepark.co.uk

The View From The Shard

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“The only place to take in over 1,000 years of the capital’s history all at once.” – “Pretty damn spectacular” is how TimeOut described The View From The Shard, and honestly there’s no better way to explain this exclusive venue. Up to 400 guests in the summer can marvel at the London panoramic, with premium breakfast and evening events and a dedicated support team available throughout. The website makes it quick to book an event, and celebrates the venue’s niche on every page.

Twitter: @shardview
Instagram: @shardview
Website: www.theviewfromtheshard.com

Château Rhianfa Hotel

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“A host of elegant rooms and outside spaces to choose from, opt for a private dinner starting with drinks in the Wine Caves. Or go all out and take over the whole Château with an exclusive ‘house’ party like no other.” – Château Rhianfa is a fairytale venue in the heart of North Wales, that offers a variety of exclusive party hire options that are unique to the location. On their website they tell the hotel’s story, with romanticised content and the promotion of previous guest experiences.

Twitter: @ChateauRhianfa
Instagram: @chateaurhianfa
Website: chateaurhianfa.com

Subscribe to the LeadDigital Blog above to receive more information on hospitality digital marketing. Find us on Twitter.

Unique British Hotels to Follow on Twitter

Unique and unusual British hotels spark our imagination – offering fabulous luxury in locations that are simply astounding! However these hotels also need to fill rooms, grab attention and gain repeat custom, so are now turning to digital marketing & social media to increase sales.

Below are five of our favourite surprising, eccentric and quintessentially British hotels, that you need to be following on Twitter;

Burgh Island Hotel
1,460 Tweets | 1,985 Followers

@BURGH_ISLAND

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“The beauty and intrigue of an island visit has always drawn guests who are looking for something different” – With its celebration of Art Deco and iconic location, Burgh Island Hotel offers a true luxury escape on the Devonshire coast. Their Twitter account sings of seaside romance, taking advantage of the beautiful scenery.

Glazebrook House
2,286 Tweets | 1,692 Followers

@GLAZEBROOKHOUSE

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“A luxurious boutique hotel and restaurant with nine unique rooms and a surprise around every corner” – Staying at Glazebrook House is truly an experience in itself! From its sophisticated twist on an Alice In Wonderland theme, to the hidden away location and creative seasonal menus, this is a hotel that will blow you away. On Twitter they mainly promote upcoming events, the beautiful food available and booking special offers.

Amberley Castle
1,756 Tweets | 2,856 Followers

@AMBERLEYCASTLE

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“This magnificent 900-year-old castle is enclosed by a 60 foot high curtain wall and portcullis that remains open, behind which you will discover an enchanting hotel offering the highest standards of food and service” – Located in the picturesque village of Amberley, this luxurious castle hotel is steeped in history, perfect for those looking to escape the 9-to-5 and feel like royalty. Part of the Andrew Brownsword Hotels Collection, this uniquely British property mainly tweets about ‘real life’ goings-on around the castle using romanticised photography.

Penny Lane Hotel
191 Tweets | 1,850 Followers

@HOTELPENNYLANE

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“The Penny lane Hotel gives guests a front row view of some of the most historic landmarks relating to the band” – It doesn’t get much more British than The Beatles and Liverpool’s Penny Lane Hotel is a Beatles fan’s dream come true! Each room is designed around the band with original memorabilia, and the hotel even offers Beatles themed weekends. This hotel often retweets reviews from happy guests or uses Twitter to promote exclusive special rates.

Solent Forts
2,450 Tweets | 2,516 Followers

@SOLENT_FORTS

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“Drop anchor in the Solent and experience our genuinely unique award winning venues” – Solent Forts own three luxury island hotels off the coast of Portsmouth; Spitbank FortNo Man’s Fort and Horse Sand Fort. Each of these incredibly exclusive locations offers a remarkable getaway for guests, with a vast range of leisure facilities aboard these historic fortresses. Twitter for Solent Forts has a nautical approach, speaking about the forts, history and facilites provided.

For more insights into UK Hotels & Hospitality Digital Marketing Subscribe to the LeadDigital Blog (form at the top), or find us on Twitter @DELUXEVENUES

 

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Top 5 Email Marketing Services in 2017

We are often asked about the various email software platforms available today and with so many options out there, how should you decide which is best for your hotel or venue? In this blog I’m going to give an overview of LeadDigital’s Top 5 recommended services for Email Marketing.

It’s easy to be tempted by all singing, all dancing services like Infusionsoft (discussed below), but these are often overcomplicated, and require a significant investment. We’ve all heard the saying “Don’t try to run before you can walk”. In this case it’s better to start simple and select software based on your needs today. It’s easy to upgrade as your requirements become more sophisticated, but it’s very difficult to go backwards!

So without further ado, lets get started:

AWeber

“All The Tools You Need To Send Emails The Right Way.”

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Established back in ’98, AWeber is one of the original email marketing platforms and is considered a great starter option for people new to email. It’s very simple, offering most of the core features a small to medium hospitality business would need, without overloading you with too many tools.

Pros: All the basics are covered, simple reporting and functionality and it offers a useful WordPress plugin for quick website sign-up forms.

Cons: The subscriber importing capabilities are quite limited, no ability to build landing pages, overall it can be quite limiting for more established businesses.

Cost: Today you can get a 30-day free trial followed by $19 (£15) per month for up-to 500 subscribers. Standard pricing then peaks $149 (£120) per month for 10,000-25,000.


MailChimp

“Send Better Email. Sell More Stuff”

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If you want to design awesome looking emails without needing a web designer on-hand, MailChimp is the tool for you!

A fan favourite for many, MailChimp is a popular option for most email marketers given its powerful functionality and user friendly interface. Whether you’re adding new subscribers, creating new email campaigns or looking for advanced automated email options, MailChimp is a solid all rounder.

Pros: Integrates with hundreds of web services including e-commerce platforms, huge collection of templates to design from, quick to get started.

Cons: MailChimp use a unique language for features & processes, they only allow for one opt-in form per list, reporting whilst informative can be less comprehensive than competitors unless managed by a MailChimp expert.

Cost: Up-to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month you can sign up for free, however this only gives access to the most basic features. To access all functions including autoresponders, pricing starts from £8 per month for <500 subscribers, then £65/mo+ for over 10,000 subscribers.


Drip

“Quick And Easy Email Marketing Automation Software”

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Marketing automation is the ultimate dream of most email marketers. The ability to take insights you have on customers and turn them into personalised & automated outreach campaigns, makes for the perfect recipe to succeed in email marketing.

Drip take that one step further by building their entire platform around the premise of drip marketing. Intelligent workflows allow users to automate the entire customer journey, with sophisticated rules based on interactions helping you get the most engagement from each subscriber.

Pros: Specialists in drip marketing, advanced visual workflows & event triggers, automate everything, access to marketing automation normally reserved for only high end expensive email software.

Cons: Still quite a new software platform so constantly seeing changes, integrations are less available and can be complicated.

Cost: Free for 100 subscribers, or get 2 months free when buying an annual package. £39.50/mo for up-to 2,500 subscribers, £120/mo+ for 10,000 subscribers.


ConvertKit

“Email Marketing For Professional Bloggers”

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Like MailChimp, ConvertKit offer many of the essentials needed for hotels, venues, restaurants and other hospitality businesses. Its advantage over competitors however, is that it uses ‘tags’ rather than ‘lists’. List based systems store subscribers (email addresses) on a per list basis, such as ticket buyers or competition A entries. If one subscriber is in both lists (tickets & competition), you could get charged twice!

Alternatively a ‘tag’ based system like ConvertKit looks at all subscribers together as one. Using customisable event tags, segments are then created and personalised emails can be sent to a select audience only, without the risk of double charging!

Pros: Tag based software, easy to use, simple to create sign up forms, offers a basic landing page builder.

Cons: Reported information and email testing functions can be quite limited and the email composer is somewhat basic.

Cost: 0-1,000 subscribers is £23 per month, £64/mo for up-to 5,000 then custom price for above 5k subscribers.


Infusionsoft

“Build Better Connections With Leads And Customers”

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If your subscriber numbers are above 50,000, you’ve got everything you can out of platforms like MailChimp and need to step it up a notch, it’s probably time to look at Infusionsoft.

This is a marketing automation, CRM and sales platform all rolled into one, and is big, powerful and perfect for complete email marketing dominance! It has every feature you could imagine and more, but does also demand a significant investment in time and money so can’t be taken lightly. Its abilities extend way beyond just email marketing, so you’d likely see this service become part of every aspect of your hospitality company.

Pros: Ultimate tool for much more than just email.

Cons: Too expensive for most business owners, very complex.

Costs: £160/mo for 2,500 subscribers plus you have to buy a kickstart package from £804 up. Thats not including the cost of training and additional staffing this system would require.

In Summary

There is a huge range of email marketing services to choose from in 2017, and this list only scratches the surface, with other services like ‘ActiveCampaign’, ‘GetResponse’, ‘Constant Contact’, ‘Ontraport’ etc… equally deserving of mention.

So how do you choose? Stop. Down tools and just ask yourself one question – what do I actually want to achieve with email marketing? Be specific.

The right software is vital, but even more so is the right email marketing strategy. This is the point when you should talk to LeadDigital. We have over 20 years experience in email marketing and only serve businesses within the hospitality sector – with our team creating bespoke email strategies designed to increase bookings and sell more events!

 

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Best Luxury UK Hotels On Instagram 2017

With over 600 million people now using Instagram [1], it’s clear why hoteliers are flocking to the social platform. Its photo sharing focus allows hotels to ‘paint a picture’ of their brand, exposing unique aspects of their hotel with stunning, never before seen photography.

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Here is @Deluxevenues collection of the best Luxury UK Hotels taking advantage of Instagram in 2017!

Rosewood London
302 Posts | 34,500+ Followers

@ROSEWOODLONDON

“An ultra-luxury High Holborn hotel that combines English heritage & contemporary sophistication in a central location, near Covent Garden & the City” – We were impressed by the quality of photos being presented, as they simply scream luxurious!

The Dorchester
1,248 Posts | 41,900+ Followers

@THEDORCHESTER

“One of London’s most iconic hotels, overlooking Hyde Park in Mayfair” – The Dorchester cleverly balance art with real life, celebrating goings-on around them as much as the hotel, creating a sense of place.

The Savoy
813 Posts | 37,400+ Followers

@THESAVOYLONDON

“Perfectly placed on the north bank of the River Thames, The Savoy is the most celebrated and glamorous 5* luxury hotel in Central London” – Glamour is certainly the right word for The Savoy’s Instagram account, with a clear focus on promoting the finer things in life. Perfect branding for this renowned hotel.

The Pig
844 Posts | 41,200+ Followers

@THEPIG_HOTEL

“A restaurant with rooms; the focus is very much on the food, uncomplicated and simple British garden food” – The epitome of countryside luxury. The Pig’s niche of freshly grown produce is evident throughout their Instagram, whilst photo’s of the hotel show why Londoner’s often escape to the country!

Claridge’s
1,843 Posts | 122,000+ Followers

@CLARIDGESHOTEL

“Daily adventures from the art deco hotel in the heart of Mayfair, London” – Claridge’s approach is much more ‘behind the scenes’, granting Instagram followers a peek into this exclusive hotel with smart use of targeted hashtags for maximum exposure. No wonder they have over 100k followers!

The Ritz London
399 Posts | 31,500+ Followers

@THERITZLONDON

“Five star luxury hotel in the heart of London. Share your Ritz memories with us using #ritzreveals and we will choose our favourites” – Here we see a hotel thinking ahead, creating a custom hashtag for their brand. A fantastic method to gain insights on guests and their experiences.

The Connaught
1,352 Posts | 38,400+ Followers

@THECONNAUGHT

“The Connaught, is a luxury five star hotel on Mount Street in the heart of fashionable Mayfair” – A very British affair. Instagram for The Connaught tells the story of an exclusive hotel, proud of it’s London location.

Chewton Glen
799 Posts | 10,100+ Followers

@CHEWTONGLEN

“An English Original… A five star luxury country house hotel and spa on the edge of the New Forest” – Another hotel proud of it’s location is Chewton Glen, based in the New Forest. Like The Pig this is a luxury country hotel, but their approach to Instagram also presents real customers and their experiences.

The Goring
705 Posts | 31,000+ Followers

@THEGORING

“London’s impeccably English luxury hotel has entered a new era” – In this case The Goring twins beautiful photography with artistic illustrations, a brand also keen to present its classic British aesthetic.

Belmond Le Manoir
347 Posts | 10,600+ Followers

@BELMONDLEMANOIR

“Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is renowned as one of Britain’s finest gastronomic and hotel experiences” – For this hotel food is king. Their fine dining posts are mouth-wateringly delicious, matched by it’s subtle European inspiration.

For more insights into UK Hospitality and Digital Marketing Subscribe to the DeluxeVenues Blog above!

References

[1] 600 Million and Counting. Instagram. Dec 2016.

Inbound or Outbound – Which Marketing Strategy is Best?

The way we market hospitality brands, services and products has changed considerably in the last decade. This has been driven by a change in consumer behaviour, due to the development of internet technologies and how people use them. According to a report on the European Commission website, 87% of internet users in Britain made an online purchase in 2016 and these figures are growing year on year.

With the ever developing digital consumer, we look at whether hospitality companies should be transitioning from an Outbound to an Inbound Marketing strategy.

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Outbound Marketing

Commonly referred to as interruptive marketing, the outbound methodology is focused on actively seeking potential customers. The practice involves pushing a message out far and wide to broad audiences, grabbing the attention of anyone willing or forced to look.

Traditional advertising methods such as billboards, cold-calling, TV and radio ads are identified as Outbound. However, these are becoming less effective and less affordable, with mainly just large corporations paying for the diminishing results as part of a larger ‘top-of-mind’ brand awareness campaign. More affordable, modern, versions of outbound marketing exist, such as internet banner ads, pop-ups and cold-emailing. But, as with traditional advertising, these methods come at a price and they are also becoming less effective.

Technology is not only enabling these marketing methods, but it is also empowering the consumer to block and avoid these interruptive practices. Just as consumers are able to fast-forward adverts on recorded/on-demand TV, they are also using ‘ad blockers’ while browsing the internet. Consumers don’t want to be told what to buy or when to buy it. Instead, they want to research themselves (at a time that suits them) and make informed buying decisions. In-steps Inbound Marketing.

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Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing challenges traditional Outbound marketing techniques, by not fighting for the customers attention. Inbound is defined, by its originators Hubspot, as “an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful”. The focus is on being found by your potential customer, not seeking them out to sell them a dinner for two at your restaurant or tickets to your event.

Inbound traditionally uses social publishing and SEO techniques to promote content, making it visible to the consumer when they are looking for it. This requires skills and resources to create, but unlike outbound, this is the end of your costs. Once you have created, optimised and published your content it continues working for you.

A contentious form of promotion in the world of inbound, is Pay-Per-Click advertising. At LeadDigital, we believe using AdWords to promote your content to the right people, at the right time, forms part of the inbound strategy. Promoting your content at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages enhances the visibility of the content and ensures you are seen above your competitors.

With Inbound, the onus is put on the content to engage your potential customer and answer any questions they may have when making their buying decision. This shouldn’t be a problem, because who knows your potential customers better than you do? You can create Buyer Personas to help you focus content around your potential customer. These personas describe your ideal customer and detail their typical challenges and interests, which you can use to engage the reader.

What content should you be looking to create? Here are some content examples that are applicable to hospitality businesses;

Blog Posts

Market your brand in new and interesting ways. Share the latest developments and provide a relatable character to your business.

FAQs

Answer questions that potential customers may have and point them in the direction of further relevant information and how to purchase your product.

Reviews

Develop trust and turn your existing customers into promoters.

Menus

Potential customers will want to see the options before booking a table at your restaurant or bar.

Checklists

For all they need to make the most of their visit.

Guides

To the surrounding area of your venue or of the different room options at your resort.

Images and Videos

Visual representations showing your products and services.

Infographics

Show the history of your business through an infographic.

Conclusion

In years gone by, print, TV and attention-grabbing online advertising were the cutting-edge and most effective way businesses could influence potential customers. But, with the development of technology, consumer behaviour has changed and the Outbound method of actively searching for potential buyers is becoming ineffective and inefficient. Why try to buy your way in front of consumers, when they aren’t paying attention?

Today, a large proportion of consumers are purchasing through internet connected technologies. They are also using the internet to make informed buying decisions, researching articles online and seeking reviews from their peers before making purchases. Inbound Marketing is the answer to the evolving consumer behaviours and your answer to attracting new bookings and sales for your hospitality business. Better still, it’s cheaper than outbound marketing and is based on tapping into knowledge resources that likely already exists within your company.

 

Like what you’ve read? Get in touch to discuss your inbound marketing strategy.

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