It’s the simplest of things that help build a good brand in hospitality but it’s surprising to see how many businesses get them wrong.
We’ve been working in the hospitality industry for over 30 years now. We understand how it works, we get why people like the things they do and we know how to encourage people to try something new. But, time and time again, we see the simplest little things causing major problems for business owners.
People are not complicated, the majority of us do not need extravagance, we do not need constant change and we do not need the latest trends. But, we do need reliability and care.
How do I show my customers I care?
Caring isn’t about giving your customers what you think they want it’s about giving them what they need, without them having to ask. When you first invite your customers in to your hotel or restaurant what’s the first experience they have?
Does someone say, ‘here you go’ and let them sit themselves down whilst proceeding to run away and carry on with what they were doing?
Does someone say, ‘welcome to our hotel, booking number please’?
Both common ways to be greeted these days but how do these greetings make you feel? Do you feel cared for? Do you feel you’re in good care for the rest of your stay? Probably not.
Now, how about welcoming your guests slightly differently.
‘Hello! Welcome to our hotel! How was your journey? Please take a seat and let me bring you a glass of water, tea or coffee.’
‘Hello! Welcome to our restaurant! We’ve got a seat by the window for you but if you’d like to sit somewhere else do let us know. Here is the drinks menu, I’ll be back to take your order with some water for the table in just a few moments.’
How do you feel now?
Showing your customers that you care is about more than just giving them ‘stuff’ it’s how you give it to them that matters.
How do I build trust with my customers?
Each time a customer comes into contact with your brand they should have the same feeling towards it. If they know they had a great meal last time, why would they not come back?
Too commonly there are not enough processes in place to make sure the experience is the same every time. This means that the first time a customer visits your restaurant they might have a fantastic meal, the next time an average meal and the next time a meal that was 45 minutes late and then wrong when it finally arrived. Would this person risk bringing friends along next time? We very much doubt it.
When you know you can go back to a restaurant time and time again and it will always be the same high standard you know, that’s when you start to really trust a brand and that’s when we start spreading the word.
A great example of this is Dishoom, a small group of Indian cafe/restaurants who really know what they’re doing and how to get it right every time. The experience is always seamless and efficient, each Dishroom restaurant is a well-oiled machine that makes you feel cared for and confident that no matter which venue you visit the experience will be the same.
To keep your customers coming back decide on how something should be done and then make sure everyone always does it that way. No surprises.
How do I get new people through the doors?
Firstly, the two tips above will help with this as word of mouth is still one of the best forms of marketing for restaurants/hotels. People trust people more than brands, they always will.
But, there are things you can do to help drive new traffic to your venue, the most prominent being social media.
As we said before, people do not need extravagant but they do like to know what to expect. Knowing what the food looks like, what the venue looks like and how the restaurant generally carries itself are all important factors that help customers decide whether to book or not.
If customers can only get a feel for your venue through old photographs on your website how will they really know what to expect?
If you’re not using Instagram to promote your hotel/restaurant you’re missing a trick.
Our advice: Find a photographer that can help you bring your brand to live digitally and start showing people what you know you do well.
So, there you have it…
3 Things you can do to build a great hospitality brand.
1. Show that you care. It’s the way you give them what they need not what you give them
2. Create processes and stick to them so customers know they’ll get the same experience every time
3. Get creative and start using Instagram to promote your venue