Hospitality is one of those trades that takes over your life as a business owner. It is a sad fact that many fail in the first year. It is also a fact that a failing hospitality business takes just as much time to run as a successful one. When you are concentrating on the customers walking in the door, on managing staff or paying bills and taxes, marketing is very often the task left behind. Yet EVERY single thriving business has become successful because they have been marketed properly, and then run properly.
Here are the top five marketing mistakes we see in hospitality businesses;
– Lack of planning. Reactive marketing rarely works. If you have an event coming up, you need to plan the marketing campaign for this months in advance. Customers need between 5 and 20 contacts before they will buy from you. So if you have an event you need to be thinking about how you can make those contacts happen.
– Poor photography. We see this on such a regular basis. If you want to persuade someone to part with their hard earned cash at your venue, you need to tempt them in. A bad photo is worse than no photo. Educate yourself on technique if you want to do everything yourself. A good DSLR camera will take pretty good pictures for even the most amateur photographer.
If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, invest in some professional images that will see you through an entire season. You can capture a lot in just one session.
– No direction in marketing. One person, or team should be responsible for the marketing. If you give multiple staff members access to your social media and they have carte blanche on posts, do not be surprised when there is no cohesion in your messaging. If you are not doing the marketing yourself, assign someone to it who knows all about your brand, your ethos and what you want to achieve.
– Poor spelling and/or grammar. Literacy is not a pre-requisite to running a great hospitality business, in fact there are MANY, MANY more important skills. However, if you struggle in this area, get someone else to do it for you. First impressions count.
– No branding clarity. We discuss brand a lot with our customers, and produce branding documents for them. Brand is so much more than just a logo – it is your tone of voice on written content, your font, your colours, your ethos. Every piece of marketing material you put out should be instantly recognisable as your business. Allocate yourself time and resources in your business plan to map out your brand. Once you have done that, producing materials becomes so much easier. Don’t forget to revisit your brand periodically – the years roll by quickly, and it is important to remain current and be aware as your business evolves.