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More Effective Restaurant & Hotel Marketing

Yes there is a silver lining to every cloud!

  1. Everyone is cutting back on their advertising (most think falsely that advertising is marketing).
  2. Because there is a lack of advertisers, the cost of advertising, across all channels, is rapidly falling.
  3. If you have a marketing message that is relevant (something more than the next, great value deal!) there is much less noise to crowd it out of the minds of your guests (think mindshare) and therefore it should be easier to communicate to them more effectively and efficiently.
  4. Research shows that businesses that continue to market themselves (or even increase their marketing) even during recessions perform better in the long run. A McGraw-Hill Research study looking at 600 companies from 1980 to 1985 found that those businesses which either maintained or increased their levels of marketing during the 1981 and 1982 recession had significantly higher sales after the economy recovered. Specifically, companies that marketed themselves more aggressively during the recession had sales 256% higher than those that did not.
  5. Price is only a factor if your core marketing strategy is based on consistently low prices, i.e. Wal Mart.
  6. Messages that address the value of your guest experience over others who concentrate on commodity pricing consistently win both margin and share.
  7. Continuing to add to the level of consumer fear in your marketing just so you can talk about how your “deal” is what’s best for your guest’s pocketbook, makes no sense. Keep the message positive and focused on the value added.
  8. You cannot continue to try and differentiate yourself from your competitors and then send out the next batch of coupons, BOGO’s and 2-for-1′s.
  9. If you can feel the price sensitivity in your guests, does it honestly make sense to continue to use your marketing to justify your pricing strategy? Or should you choose a different message?
  10. If you’re in a higher end market, you should be emphasizing the emotional appeal of your experience to your guests.
  11. Don’t dilute your hard won brand equity by “going cheap” or decreasing in any way the value your guests feel for their experiences with you. Just the opposite. You should be looking to increase the value of the guest experience at every touchpoint.
  12. Just as it is more expensive to go after new guests rather than taking care of the ones who make up your core business, so it is with “mindshare”. No longer talking to your market because you have cut back on your advertising is like excusing yourself from the conversation and letting your competition do all the talking. Guess who your guests will remember when the downturn is over? Guess how much more expensive it will be for you to try and recapture their interest? Why wouldn’t you want to be on the other side of that equation?
  13. Don’t forget that your best marketing strategy involves running a great operation. Never forget the fundamentals.
  14. Positioning is a tremendous opportunity right now. If you can position yourself in your guests mind that you have their best interests in mind, you will win. Hint: you can’t do this by decreasing your experience value.
  15. Segment your guests and stop sending out the same piece to everyone. Not all guests are the same so why do you market to them as if they were?. Aren’t you really growing the seeds of your guests resentment of you?
  16. Have you looked at what channels your guests are utilizing to receive their information and communicate with each other? Is it still direct mail? How many of your guests are on LinkedIn? Facebook? MySpace? Twitter? Are you really trying to build your email database and capture their social media preferences as well?

Jeffrey Summers - Founder/Principal, Summers Hospitality Group Jeffrey has spent over 30 years in various Marketing, Operations and Business Development roles in corporate and franchise chains as well as independent concepts including: fast food, QSR's, casual full-service, fine-dining, private clubs and banquet facilities, corporate dining and catering businesses. He is widely recognized by his peers as one of the world's leading voices in the Restaurant & Hotel industries, as an expert in restaurant & hotel businesses, Jeffrey now devotes most of his time to helping owners/operators and their organizations both identify and achieve their business objectives using all of the tools at their disposal. More info about Jeffrey.  How Can We Help You Build A Better Business?

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