The secret to finding and retaining hospitality clients is the same as in every other business. You think about where the people most likely to use your services can be found, and then you either solve a problem for them, or make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Where you find your clients will depend on the exact nature of your business. If you’re running a hotel which caters predominantly for corporate clients, then your marketing will have a strong B2B focus. If you own a B&B that attracts walkers and dog owners, then you’ll probably be targeting walking associations and advertising on pet friendly travel sites.
What we’re going to look at today is not just how you define your own niche audience of clients, or where to find them, but also the best way to approach them.
1. Don’t underestimate the importance of social media
If you own a haunted inn on a desolate moorland, then the rooms you rent are not going to be ideal for everybody. However, the ghost-hunting communities you find on social media might very well be interested. Once you’ve found your audience, you’ll need to reach out to them. This you might be able to do by joining relevant Facebook groups, although bear in mind many groups frown on their space being used to sell products or services.
A more legitimate way to approach targeted strangers is via sponsored posts. This will ensure the people you want seeing your adverts are the ones actually seeing it. Facebook advertising is widely believed to be one of the best performing digital advertising platforms. The reason for this could well be the fact that those who see a sponsored advert are then able to contact its creator directly via messenger to make an enquiry, or even a booking. It’s far more preferable for many potential customers to deal with a real person, rather than an online form powered by an algorithm.
2. Make full use of your current network
In most businesses you’ll get 80% of your sales from 20% of your customers, so it’s worth reaching out to people who have booked with you before to give them new offers; particularly offers that will encourage them to introduce your service to friends. Trust gained by word of mouth recommendation simply can’t be beaten. You’re much more likely to close a booking with someone who has heard of your business in a favourable light beforehand.
3. Strengthen your marketing strategy
You’ll no doubt have a marketing plan in place to help you reach your ideal customers, but it’s worth revisiting it to see what’s working and what isn’t. If you have an advert that isn’t performing well, it’s not going to give you better results the longer you wait. You need to tweak it, or place it somewhere else; possibly both.
If you have a marketing strategy that is working well for you, you should be asking yourself how you can build upon that. For instance, if you’re in the wedding industry and you’re finding that brides are asking to join the Facebook group you’ve created, you should consider creating more groups for more brides to join; each with a different theme or niche.
Things to check when you’re adjusting your marketing plan include ensuring you’re targeting the right people, you’re pushing the right products, you’re aware of current market trends, that your ads are effective, and that you’ve researched your competitors’ businesses with a view to improving upon their marketing tactics.
4. Reach out to the clients who started the booking process, but didn’t complete it.
These people are likely to be your target audience but were put off booking with you for whatever reason. They might have found a better offer last time, or run into a technical error they couldn’t be bothered to solve. The interest they once had in your business could be enough for you to persuade them to complete the booking next time.
Once you’ve started to grow your sales, you’ll need to be able to provide the same high level of customer service without compromising on the quality of your service (given the extra pressure on your time that new clients will inevitably create) and the way to do this is to ensure you’re as organised as possible.
An EDI system will streamline all your sales processes. Invoices can be easily created and amended, and all suppliers for a particular hospitality event can be updated as and when changes occur to guest numbers, food order, access preferences and changes to the seating plan. If you have an enquiry about our EDI systems, please get in touch.