Just the other day I attended a business meeting with an independent hotel not too far from our offices here in Cheshire. They were looking for funding for their marketing – the aim to create more awareness and encourage new customers from around the region.
Myself and the hotel marketing manager were joined by the hotel owner keen to understand what type of commercial funding was available to them. After explaining the benefits of our business cash advance product we moved on to their marketing plan and reason for spend. Clearly there was more to do than re-brand, create a new website and set aside a marketing and advertising budget. They felt that they could also do with spending some of the business finance on other areas of the hotel’s ‘more pressing’ areas. Rather than increase their finance borrowing we discussed their marketing in a little more detail.
I noticed when I walked in that I was able to join their wifi network which had great coverage across the entire lower floors, reception space, lounge and restaurant areas. Some larger hotels should take note!
The hotel owner explained that their previous wifi network was ‘simply awful’ – so much so that it had failed at key moments at a recent business conference seminar held at the hotel.
Now you simply enter the hotel, find the network and bingo you see four bars of free wifi.
Are you missing customers right under your nose?
Free wifi is great but you should be capturing the data from everyone that uses it. Re-capping on the footfall from the last couple of months he noted numerous weddings, conferences, christening events and more not to mention the hundreds of people who came to dine at the restaurant. All had used the free wifi service without being asked to submit their contact details.
By collecting this ‘golden data’ (i.e Name, mobile and email address) you are able to sell your services to the easiest market of all – your ‘existing’ customer. By sending an sms message out to your database you can easily raise awareness of your offer – for example a ‘Two for one dining experience’ on a quiet evening, ‘a short break stay at the hotel’ and more. Maybe you could also extend the reach for your customers to refer a friend and receive free wine when they next dine.
The marketing manager confessed that they didn’t have a truly active database. Customers were able to leave without comment and probably fill a Trip Advisor review themselves. This can be dangerous, by not engaging with your customers before they leave you may find that they can be quite vocal when it comes to leaving comments online. The trick is communicating with them before they leave!
There are many ways to increase your awareness without spending a lot on marketing.
Another great example is Twitter, Facebook and other social networks – ideal to spread the word and create awareness of your business. This can take minutes within your day and the rewards over time are huge. By increasing your audience gradually you can reach more customers each time you Tweet. Look for key influencers online such as local individuals with a large following. Send a pleasant tweet to them and ask to be re-tweeted. Their 16,000 followers will now see your tweet. Easy!
The hotel owner was able to re-look at their marketing plan and devise new ways to generate needed footfall and the business cash advance funding went towards the hotel refurbishment. We are always here to listen to your needs and requirements and can advise throughout the process.