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.

3 Email Tactics For Customer Retention

In hospitality, success depends heavily on repeat custom. Many marketers forget this and put their focus into gaining new ticket sales or bookings; however when 25-40% [1] of most business revenue comes from repeat custom, this channel cannot be ignored. Studies by Bain & Company state a 5% [2] increase in retention can lead to profit increases of 25-95%!

A sell-out event full of new customers is an amazing quick win, but what is your venue doing to ensure they visit again?

It’s likely that your hotel, restaurant, bar or events venue will have a basic database of information on past customers. This means you have the capability to reach people on a personal level; which can be used to increase loyalty and repeat custom through strategic email marketing.

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At LeadDigital, it’s our opinion that email marketing is far from dead. In fact with the number of worldwide email users now topping 3.7 billion [3], plus the growth of email on mobile, it’s actually flourishing. How can email increase repeat business? Read our top 3 tips here below.

 

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1. The Personalised Approach

How well do you know your customers? Say for example, a person attends an event at your venue. Sure you have their name and contact details from the event booking, but what else?

For one you can probably assume their sex, potentially their age, and it’s likely you’ll have some insight into their interests based on the type of event they attended.

When it comes to email marketing, savvy marketers take this information and use it to personalise every interaction. You may even have experienced this yourself if you’ve attended an event and later received a ‘thank you for visiting’ style of email, addressed to you directly.

Sending a masculine-styled email to ‘Tim’ referencing the rock gig he attended 6 months ago & inviting him personally to a similar event, is much more likely to result in repeat business than a generic promotional message.

Personalised email communication enables more than just contact with existing clients. It also grants the ability to strategically target what you send, when it’s sent, and to who; maximising the return on each email. More importantly, regular personalised emails help maintain relationships with a group of people you know have bought services from you already!

2. Let Software Do The Hard Work

Automate Everything! Okay maybe not everything, but modern email marketing software does give businesses the ability to automate emails sent to existing customers. By utilising these features correctly, Hotels, Restaurants, Bars and other event venues can develop drip marketing strategies that increase repeat business.

What do I mean by drip marketing? Imagine a scenario where ‘Lana’ books a birthday party at your bar.

  1. First, you send Lana a personalised email confirming her booking.
  2. Next you remind Lana of her booking a week in advance and wish her a happy birthday.
  3. Two days after the event Lana receives another email, thanking her for choosing your bar and asking for feedback on her party. You learn she had a great time and particularly enjoyed the cocktails available.
  4. A few months later Lana receives an email, inviting her to an exclusive cocktails masterclass at your bar.

In this example, as she knows your brand, remembers her great party and loves cocktails, Lana books the masterclass event – job done, another repeat booking!

All of the above emails can be automatically sent, having been designed and scheduled well in advance – making email marketing scalable as your business grows. Working with an email marketing expert the right strategy can also save hospitality business time & money, that otherwise could be wasted on less effective marketing initiatives.

3. Make Existing Customers Feel Special

Leading on from the personalised approach above, email gives you the ability to make customers feel special, like they’re getting exclusive ‘backstage’ access to your Events Venue, Restaurant, Bar or Hotel.

People are becoming increasingly selective on who they give their email addresses to. When a customer gives you permission to contact them, they’re also telling you they have an active interest in your business. By picking up on core booking information and interactions, you can develop relationships that result in repeat business.

Wedding venues for example, know it’s unlikely they’ll get a repeat wedding booking from a recent bride. However that bride will have spent months comparing your venue with alternatives before booking, so clearly LOVES your location.

Email marketing gives you the perfect opportunity to make her feel special and remembered. People who feel valued, are both likely to book on another occasion and recommend your business! For example, how about emailing the bride just before her wedding anniversary, inviting her to an exclusive dining experience to relive their special day?

Exclusivity is a big deal in hospitality email marketing. At LeadDigital one of our clients is the luxury London private yacht company, Woods’ Silver Fleet. Their brand is associated with hosting luxurious functions & celebrations on the Thames, and LeadDigital are responsible for their email marketing strategy. Our greatest email successes for Silver Fleet have come from targeted, personalised invites which make previous clients feel remembered and important.

Conclusion

Email marketing for repeat custom can generate impressive revenue returns for your hospitality brand. Making your past customers feel special and taking a personal approach to communication builds trust & loyalty, resulting in more ticket sales, bookings and event enquiries!

LeadDigital are officially recognised email marketing experts, with over 20 years email marketing experience, specialising in strategies that increase revenue and grow customer loyalty. Need to improve your email marketing profit, then speak to us – we can audit current processes, develop a bespoke strategy and help you get the most from email!

 

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References

[1] The Importance Of Repeat Customers. SumAll. 5 April 2013
[2] Customer Retention Is King. Forbes. 21 January 2015
[3] Email Statistics Report 2017-2021. The Radicati Group. February

Is Email Marketing Dead?

Let’s start with the facts. Right now, according to a report by The Radicati Group, 269 billion emails are being sent daily. This figure is set to grow by 4% over the next four years, with the number of worldwide email users in 2017 now topping 3.7 billion.

So email itself is still flourishing, but what about email marketing?

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Here is LeadDigital’s top 5 for what your hospitality brand can achieve with effective email marketing.

1. Inform & Engage

There are few better ways to connect with people interested in your hotel, restaurant, bar or events venue than by email. Your list of email contacts will include people who’ve stayed in your hotel, attended an event or shown an interest in your hospitality business. These are people who want to hear from you and have given permission to be contacted.

Although our inboxes are inundated, people don’t dislike all email – just the messages they don’t want to receive!

Strategy-led email marketing provides a direct opportunity to engage with people interested in your brand. LeadDigital can work with you to define your strategy and tailor your approach for different types of customers. This could be new subscribers just starting to explore your services or long-term customers.

2. Increase Retention

Your venue has run a large event, sold thousands of tickets and collected email addresses from everyone who attended. How do you then make sure those event goers buy from you again? Email marketing.

An experienced email marketer can craft content that directly reaches out to your customers, and builds a desire to recreate or relive a moment in time. This could be a hotel re-engaging with a couple who’ve celebrated a special occasion with a return visit offer. Or, perhaps a restaurant, inviting someone who’s booked a table four times in the past year, a discount on their fifth visit.

This is known as drip marketing. LeadDigital are MailChimp Experts, and can use the MailChimp platform to automate a wide collection of email messages, which saves you time and money.

Read more about MailChimp automation.

3. Affordable Marketing

Many hospitality businesses get drawn towards social media, print, tv & radio marketing and whilst these do offer their own benefits, none are as cost effective as email marketing. For example, an article on McKinsey.com suggests, email is considered nearly 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook & Twitter combined! – with average order values 17 percent higher!

This is down to two things – reach and engagement.

Say your restaurant or venue has 10,000 email subscribers and a sent email reaches 7,900 of those subscribers (79% according to a report by returnpath.com). As per benchmarks set by email marketing software brand MailChimp, 1714 people (21.7%) of those subscribers who received this email would likely open it, and 23 people (1.33%) would click a link.

On the other hand, Facebook posts reach only 1-6% of fans; so out of 10,000 fans, only 300 (3%) see a posted message, and then only 2 (0.07%) would actually engage with it (like or comment). Email offers both greater opportunities to reach people, and is more likely to engage with relevant customers.

More people, more relevance, more return on investment.

 

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4. Future Proof

Email is proving itself to be one of the pillars of digital communication. While people are moving away from desktop computers and onto mobile devices, email remains a key communication tool. With 44.9 million mobile users in the UK alone in 2017, being able to engage with mobile users is more important than ever!

Using an email marketing online software platform like MailChimp, your hospitality brand can create emails that not only look good, but successfully work across all devices. This can be tested carefully before even a single email is sent, never damaging your relationship with subscribers.

MailChimp Experts like LeadDigital, can develop specific email marketing strategies for mobile, taking into account how people interact differently on mobile devices.

5. Easily Sharable

With just the simple click of the forward button, subscribers to your hospitality brand can quickly share your emails with friends and family. This makes email marketing one of the best ways to gain more exposure for restaurants, hotels, bars, venues; turning your subscribers into brand advocates. Not only is sharing easy, it’s also a great way for your hospitality brand to build credibility. You’re much more likely to book a hotel room recommended by your best friend.

Conclusion

Is email marketing dead? Not at all, but the way businesses approach email marketing does have to change. Hospitality brands need to value and carefully manage how subscribers are obtained; and then develop tailored email marketing strategies.

At LeadDigital, we work with hotels, bars, restaurants and venues to refine their customer sign-up processes and create long-term email marketing plans that are based on their goals, using our expert knowledge of MailChimp.

 

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What Is Inbound Marketing?

Over the past 5 years the term “Inbound Marketing” has been rapidly growing in popularity.

The term Inbound Marketing is credited to being first coined by Hubspot’s co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, during the company’s inception back in 2006. Hubspot are the developers of one of the leading content marketing platforms for business of all sizes – a platform we at LeadDigital are committed to using ourselves and one we know to be beneficial to hospitality businesses such as event venues, bars, restaurants and hotels.

Inbound marketing describes the marketing strategy of attracting customers through digital content and interactions to your website. However, you may be more familiar associating this description with the term content marketing. You aren’t wrong! Content marketing is the process of attracting prospects to your website through a variety of content formats, like video, case studies, infographics, etc. However, inbound goes beyond this.

Arguably, content marketing has been incorporated as a part, or subset, of inbound. Content marketing only covers the initial stage of attracting potential customers within the inbound methodology as you can see from the graphic below.

Inbound-Methodology

Inbound Methodology

The above graphic represents Hubspot’s Inbound Methodology. It is made up of four actions, along the top (Attract, Convert, Close, Delight), which companies must take in order to obtain visitors, leads, customers and promoters. Along the bottom are the tools companies use to accomplish these actions. It is important to note these tools are listed under the action where they first come into play. Tools, like email, can play a big role in several stages of the inbound methodology.

The overall practice focuses on turning strangers into customers and customers into evangelists of your brand. Here is a quick summary of each stage of the inbound methodology, with reference to the above graphic;

Attract

Potential customers discover your hospitality brand through content such as blogs, videos and reviews via social media publishing and search engines. This content needs to aim at providing helpful information and answer questions. These are questions you know your potential customers will have when researching and booking a hotel, event venue, or table at your restaurant, for example.

This stage of the practice relies on a strong understanding of search engine optimisation and content creation skills. It also requires a good understanding of your customer base and an ability to pick out characteristics of your ideal customers. See more on how inbound can help your hospitality business increase sales.

Convert

Having successfully attracted potential customers to your site, this is where you make your website work for you. Using a combination of Call To Action buttons, Landing Pages and Forms, you capture the details of your potential customers, turning them into enquiries (leads).

Close

This is where having a good CRM (customer relationship management) system, that keeps a record of all customer interactions, really supports you in turning an enquiry into a customer. Email also plays an important role at this stage as a form of drip marketing, which nurtures your prospective guests and encourages them into becoming customers. An email marketing platform, like Hubspot’s or MailChimp, can automate much of this process while providing a customised experience (see point 5 in Why Your Hospitality Email Marketing isn’t Working!).

Delight

Continually using your CRM system to manage communications with existing customers. You can utilise email and initiate social monitoring to connect with your customer, provide excellent service and keep your brand top-of-mind. It is during this stage where delighting your customer also turns them into an evangelist of your hospitality brand.

Conclusion

Inbound begins with the principles of content marketing and utilises other tools and disciplines, which you may already be familiar with, to generate qualified leads, increase sales and convert customers into promoters.

We at LeadDigital work with hospitality businesses to establish and manage inbound marketing strategies, which deliver high quality enquiries and increase bookings.

If you’d like to attract more guests to your website and increase the volume of repeat business, then click below!

 

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5 Capabilities Your Next Hospitality Marketing Agency Must Possess

Marketing technology (Martech) is constantly evolving and the capabilities of Marketing Agencies must evolve as well if they are wanting to stay at the forefront of their industry. They need to be offering their clients the latest marketing services and executing successful and measurable digital marketing strategies in 2017 and beyond.

Does your marketing agency tick all the boxes when it comes to growing your hospitality business?

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Hospitality Marketing Agency Checklist – Data Analysis, Web Design, Marketing Automation, Content Marketing, SEO and SEM

Below are the top 5 marketing expertise, we believe, any hospitality marketing agency must possess to deliver successful marketing campaigns for their clients.

1. Data Analysis

Arguably the most important aspect of any marketing effort in 2017 and beyond is data analysis.

“Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed” Dan Zarrella

Data is everywhere and in everything we do! By now, you should be aware of data and how it can be captured in every digital interaction we make. With the ever growing importance and abundance of customer data (which is only going to increase further with the development of the Internet of Things), every marketing agency must have the capability, knowledge and passion to measure, analyse and interpret data.

Data enables you to;

  • Create more effective and targeted marketing campaigns
  • Create comprehensive customer personas
  • Improve marketing personalisation
  • Reduce bounce rates
  • Improve customer experience
  • Attract more and higher qualified leads
  • Increase customer retention

Ultimately, data is the driving force to increased revenues.

If your marketing agency doesn’t analyse data, how can they decipher what marketing initiatives are working for your resort, restaurant or events venue? If they don’t know what’s working, how can they develop strategies that achieve your marketing goals?

2. Web Design

While “web design” includes the aesthetic design of your website, there is a lot more to it than this. There are too many websites that look visually stunning, but don’t actually work.

Websites MUST work on a technical level, aligning to your business goals and supporting you in achieving them. Website design must include all the backend processes that enable your site to track and generate leads before converting them to customers. This includes but not limited to; data tracking, landing pages, forms, CTAs, and integrating payment processing and booking systems.

Without this capability, your web presence is just for show and is not working for you. If your website isn’t working for you, it’s working against you, generating more demand on resources and if not optimised properly, wasting your resources. A good hospitality marketing agency knows how to deliver your visuals and make them work for you, converting visitors into customers.

3. Marketing Automation Tool Mastery

The marketing platform landscape is vast. Social media alone presents at least 5 major platforms for the Hospitality Industry (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest) for posting and sharing content.

With the growing network of communication platforms, for various types of content, marketing automation tools such as Hubspot, Mailchimp, Buffer, Salesforce Pardot and Marketo have become a necessity. However, it is important you have an expert in these automation tools, that can guide you on best-practices and efficiency.

Automated emails, social media and content marketing campaigns deliver more and better qualified leads, culminating in more sales. Marketing automation tools allow for more marketing efforts to be achieved in less time, generating better ROI, let alone the opportunity for greater personalisation.

To get the best out of these tools, you need a marketing agency that has tried and tested the tools, learnt how to get the most out of them and only works with the best. They can either manage your in-house marketing team efforts or manage your automated marketing efforts for you.

4. Content Marketing

Content Marketing has evolved in the last decade, largely due to the development of data enabling it to be measurable, and become the foundation to any marketing strategy.

Nobody likes receiving unsolicited emails or advertising pop-ups that fight for your attention over what you’re actually looking for. These are the intrusive tactics of Outbound Marketing. Content Marketing on the other hand, is the foundation of the non-intrusive, Inbound Marketing methodology, first coined by Hubspot.

Inbound Marketing is the practice of creating content that is informative and useful for your target audience – Content that directly answers the questions you know your potential customers will be typing into search engines. By addressing their questions you will attract your potential customers (earlier in the buyer’s journey) directly to your website. It is from here that you use your landing pages as tools for converting visitors into customers.

For example, say you run a Hotel in London. Creating a piece of content on the ‘Top 10 Things to do in London’ answers questions your potential customers are researching before booking their trip. Clicking through to this content will subject them to your brand and you can use this opportunity to convert them from a stranger into a lead – Link them to why your hotel is the perfect choice for a trip to London or place a CTA (Call-To-Action) to the latest offers that are available.

Content has become one of the strongest methods for lead generation. Working with a marketing agency that understands Content Marketing and the Inbound methodology is incredibly important for the success of your marketing strategies moving forward.

5. SEO & SEM

Last but by no means least, Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing. To get your website, content and services in front of your existing and potential customers you need to get them ranking highly on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Search engines are constantly developing and becoming smarter with their algorithms frequently being updated. It requires an expert with their fingers on the pulse of Google and it’s competitors to keep you appearing at the top of the results pages.

A lot of businesses try to take this in-house, unaware of the skills, knowledge and resources it takes to be successful in this area. It is important to work with a marketing agency that lives and breathes SEO and SEM, advising and optimising your keyword strategies, to ensure you consistently rank highly.

Achieving higher rankings for your website content generates more traffic, which coupled with your content marketing strategy develops better qualified leads and more sales.

Summary

Proficiency in data analysis, marketing automation tools, website development, content marketing and SEO & SEM are the top requisites for your marketing success in 2017 and beyond.

Marketing agencies that boast these services are going to be the ones with the most successful marketing strategies for your hospitality venue. Be sure to review your current marketing agency and check that they offer you all of the above, or risk being surpassed by your competitors in partnerships with those that do.

 

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CRM and the Hospitality Industry

What is CRM?

CRM, Customer Relationship Management.

It’s not a new concept, especially not for the Hospitality Industry. It is exactly what it says on the tin. It is all about building relationships with your customers, from their first interaction with your brand right through to customer service and beyond.

Hotel Lobby Guest Check-In and CRM Database

The practice existed long before the development of the computer. But, computers, the world wide web and all the applications these technology developments brought with them, have changed the way we manage and utilise these relationships. With it, came the birth of the acronym CRM and the systems it represents.

The days of guest books in hotel lobby’s, large filing cabinets and spreadsheets filled out by hand with all your enquiry and customer information are long gone, and only a small percentage of you will recall those days. But, the practice still remains the same. Today, rather than a guest book, the smart money would be investing in a tablet kiosk (or similar), which is connected to a CRM system that stores the data entered by guests to their customer profile. This is the bread and butter of a CRM system; storing collected customer data and providing easily referenceable metrics. They support your marketing and sales teams through every step of your customer’s journey and ultimately enable you to increase sales and customer retention.

The goal of implementing a CRM is to create a system that your sales and marketing teams can use and automatically supports them, to more efficiently and effectively interact with existing and potential customers or clients.

SIZE doesn’t matter

CRM systems are not just useful to large hospitality companies, they are essential to Hotels, Restaurants and Event companies of all sizes. Christopher Ratcliff provides a perfect analogy that is equally poignant as it is long in his article on Econsultancy.com, under the sub-heading CRM explained.

The argument being, if you only have a handful of customers, you may feel a spreadsheet and some simple rules between colleagues can get you by. But, what if (god forbid) your business hits its targets and you double or quadruple your customer base, let alone the additional prospects and visitors to your website… this could get a bit messy and end up costing you resources and time.

CRM systems aren’t closed off personal accounts, they track every interaction visitors, prospects and customers have with your company and make the information available to your entire team. So if Katherine, suddenly comes down with the flu and is off work at a key stage in a customer’s transaction, a colleague can review the interactions by searching for that customer on the CRM tool and pick up where Katherine left off.

So, how do your teams use CRM?

Marketers will often use a CRM to ensure that they’re passing the right leads to their sales team, which is a key aspect of developing a strong relationship with the sales team. They also use the tracking data available today through smart CRM systems to assess the success of certain types of content and distribution channels.

Salespeople utilise CRM in a different way. They use it to source prospective customers, communicate with them, and track their interactions over time. Having the entire prospect history in one place increases their efficiency and improves their productivity. For instance, salespeople using a CRM won’t have to hunt through their email to remember where a conversation left off.

CRM can also have a huge impact on improving your customer experience.

What does this mean for you?

According to Hubspot; 75% of sales managers say that using a CRM helps to drive and increase sales, also stating that CRM systems improve customer retention by 27%.

You can’t argue with those numbers.

“I think the acquisition of consumers might be on the verge of being mapped. The battlefield is going to be retention and lifetime value.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, via TechCrunch.

 

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Further Reading: See why Salesforce CRM is a great fit for you.