Tandem's Tips on Digital Marketing
The hospitality industry is a tough market, but a solid digital marketing strategy can help your hotel or restaurant become competitive on the web. Learn more with Tandem!
The hospitality industry is one of the most vibrant—and competitive—industries in South Florida. Hotels, restaurants and bars seem to be more numerous than grains of sand on the beach. So, when it comes to digital marketing for the hospitality industry, you will need to use the left and right sides of your brain. That means being just as strategic as you are creative.
When a local (or a tourist) types “sushi Fort Lauderdale” or “5-star hotel Miami” into the search bar, the goal is to have your brand pop into view. However, with so much competition, it is easier said than done. This is where a solid, digital marketing strategy for hospitality comes into play.
When it comes to digital marketing for the hospitality industry, SEO is the first tactic that enters into many minds, and for good reason! Your website should be optimized for keywords that users are looking for. That means crafting content that speaks to your particular industry and location. It also means optimizing each page’s meta data, images, and generating quality links from reputable sites, including local mentions. Before you start this process, do some research. Make sure to choose keywords that users are searching for and are not overly competitive. Google each of them to see what and who you are up against. Look at your competitors’ websites too and see what they are up to.
SEO for the hospitality industry also means keeping the user in mind. If you are a restaurant, make sure that your menu is on your site and that it is easy to read and navigate on a mobile device. If you are a hotel, make sure that booking a room is a simple process that can be completed on a smartphone without any fuss.
After your website is optimized, content is created, and user experience is kept in mind, your hospitality industry site should start to climb in rankings. But the job is not done!
Local SEO for the hospitality industry has become increasingly important. Below are the map results at the top of the page for the local search “sushi Fort Lauderdale” from the Tandem Buzz office on East Las Olas Boulevard:
These rankings are generated from local listings, namely Google My Business pages. This is another important aspect of your hospitality SEO strategy. Make sure that your page is complete and includes your business name, address, phone number (NAP), business operation hours, and an optimized description that includes key phrases. If it is offered, claim a vanity URL that includes your business name.
Claim your listings on all of the major directories and review websites, and ensure the NAP information is consistent. Link the major profiles to your website and social media profiles, so that it is easy for users to review your hospitality business too. Local agencies that offer digital marketing for the hospitality industry can assist you in this entire process and streamline it for you.
Social media marketing is a great opportunity for the hospitality industry, and it is often wasted. Creating a Facebook page is not enough; you need to be updating and engaging with your customer base consistently.
Figure out where your customers spend their time. If your base consists of young adults, you should pay attention to Facebook and Twitter. High school-aged students? Spend time on Instagram and Snapchat. Business professionals? Become a LinkedIn expert.
Make sure to update your social channels with specials, events and upcoming renovations at your restaurant, bar or hotel. Don’t make customers call to learn the happy hour special. Don’t leave them checking each page of your website to figure out the summer specials. Keep them updated on their preferred social media platform. If someone praises you, thank them. If they complain, publicly apologize, and find a way to fix it. Social media is all about fostering relationships with your customers.
Pay-per-click is another viable tactic in your hospitality digital marketing strategy. A paid search campaign can be done through Google’s network or a social media platform like Facebook. Your particular industry and budget will determine what is best for your business.
If you are a chain or large resort, a paid search campaign via AdWords will produce quality leads. If you are a small restaurant or bar with one or two locations, a paid social campaign on Facebook or Twitter is probably better suited for your business. Social platforms allow you to get nitty gritty with targeting so you know exactly who you are spending money on.
A digital marketing strategy for the hospitality industry is not easy, and there is not one approach guaranteed to drive tons of business. Give your efforts the attention they deserve, experiment to find out what vertical works best, and give your strategies time to mature. The time you spend will pay off!