7 Ways Hotels Are Boosting F&B Revenues via Smartphone

By Paul Hancock Executive Chef, Miramonte Resort and Spa | October 28, 2018

A restaurant having a website is a must, but a mobile friendly website is what sets certain hotels' food and beverage operations apart from the rest. Most people look for somewhere to eat on the go, meaning googling places on their smartphone. If a restaurant's website should be mobile friendly.  The customer should be able to browse their online menu with ease, and it might mean ruling said restaurant out altogether, no matter how good the food may be.

With that being said, not only should the website be mobile friendly, it is vital for a food and beverage operation to display current information on their website. Websites are used to entice guests, "whet their appetite", but if the information is dated, guests are bound to be disappointed, ensuring a non-repeat customer. Hotels that keep their mobile friendly websites up to date with menus, short videos of cooking demonstrations or even mixologists shaking it up are sure to have increased customer attraction, equating to an increase in revenue.

Now, having a mobile friendly website is a good start, but no food and beverage operation is successful without a social media presence.  It is paramount. In today's technology driven world, what is the first thing most people do when they see a mouthwatering dish? Take out their phone, snap a pic and post it. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Anywhere people can brag about their food porn, they will, no matter how "hangry" they are.

F & B operations can capitalize on this free advertising by creating social media accounts on all platforms, allowing people to tag the operation in the post. Boom, now that person's followers are potential customers. Developing a loyal following can even spread over the continents as tech savvy traveler's use their smartphones to look at social media pictures first before written content. An overwhelmingly high percentage of all diners use their smartphones to decide on what restaurant to go to. By posting on social media daily, hotel food and beverage operations are making the most of their restaurants' customer outreach.

Photos and videos are key ways people make their dining choices.  Food and beverage leaders in hotels are making their presence be known on Facebook and Instagram especially with notable impact. They are garnering the occasional or traveling diner and also grabbing the frequent diner on a higher scale by being able to reach them through social media channels anytime of the day through smartphones.  From morning coffee breaks, lunch breaks, or simply just being bored, more and more people are glued to the smartphone for that next new food photo or quick video of their favorite mixologist shaking it up. 

The portals offer a realm of possibilities and help shape their decisions where people can share personal, and meaningful memories with colleagues, family and friends any time of day.  There is also a broader reach with smartphones and social media sites with the use of hashtags.  Anyone can look up the pertinent hashtag and see photos from all over the world and allows them to speak or voice to different communities on different platform outside of your neighborhood.  These photos and videos help curate and inspire a sense of exploration more than ever before.  This is not your old scratch and sniff.  The content must be current and compelling to tell a story with a photo.  Disneyland has their own mobile app and get every bit of social currency out of it with their content that inspires a connection to the guests that visit. 

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.