New year, new start. What are you doing to make sure that your hospitality business succeeds in 2013? It can be a cut throat industry, so in these tough economic times it’s more important than ever for hospitality businesses to look for ways to maximise their profits and remain competitive through attracting new customers and finding cost-savings measure which do not impact on the customer experience.
Luxury products and services aren’t typically associated with discounts and deals, but they are a great way to get people into a restaurant or hotel. New hospitality businesses often benefit from having promotions when they first open, as it gives them the opportunity to gain a good reputation quickly.
The key to a good promotion is keeping it simple. Customers tend to view complicated promotions as attempting to deceive them, so try something that is difficult to misconstrue. If a customer thinks they are getting a great deal only to find out later that irritating restrictions apply, then they are unlikely to have, and more importantly tell their friends about, a positive experience.
Make use of social media
People are increasingly connected to each other through social media, with certain key figures influencing a greater number of people. No marketing or advertising is as powerful as word-of-mouth, so consider social media as an opportunity to further your business’s reputation.
Encouraging or incentivising customer testimonials on social media is a great way of getting your name out there. For this reason getting social media-savvy should be at the top of your to-do list. Social media promotion can be an inexpensive alternative to traditional advertising or PR campaigns.
Compare the social presence of your business compared to its competitors, and find ways to better connect with customers and potential customers. You might find that reward schemes or special one-off events are the best way to get social media exposure for the business. Stay up-to-date with the latest social media news so you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
Look for new revenue streams
Looking for new sources of revenue is an obvious way of bolstering a business in tough economic conditions. Hospitality businesses are often the guiltiest of wasting their resources and facilities and focusing single-mindedly on one source of income.
Small businesses should draw their inspiration from large hotels, who frequently rent spaces out for business conferences, corporate events, conventions, private parties and even open up bars or restaurants to the public.
Once the money is invested in a great building it’s only common sense to make the most of it, and a smaller hotel or restaurant is no different. Restaurants that rely on trade in the evening could boost their income by serving cream teas and coffee during the day, or fill the restaurant on a quiet, weekend night by offering it out to group parties.
Shop around for insurance
Whatever hospitality business you’re in, insurance can be expensive. Whether its restaurant insurance, pub insurance or hotel insurance, remember there’s always a better deal out there. Insurance companies are always competing for business so take the time to compare payments and cover available to find the best deal for 2013. It’s a good idea to go for a company that specialises in these specific hospitality insurance. It might take a little longer to find, but it’s worth the extra effort. I found one UK-based company called Todd & Cue that specialise in cheap pub insurance, restaurant insurance, hotel insurance, etc. I’d take a specialist over a jack of all trades anyday.
Keep customers happy
In the hospitality business it’s always about more than the bottom line. Providing a truly excellent service to customers is the best way to ensure that revenues increase in the future. There’s nothing more powerful than personal experience and word-of-mouth, and providing the best service will inevitably result in return visits and referrals.
It can be tempting to look for ways to cut the cost of your services to customers, but reducing staff numbers or decreasing the quality of customer provisions will only result in the loss of loyal customers. It’s important to always put customers first in the hospitality industry. As soon as you begin scrimping on customer care it can be a slippery slope.