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Are your marketing channels still delivering in 2024?

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Are your marketing channels still delivering in 2024?

SevenRoom's Paul Hadida

Marketing Mag Contributor: Paul HadidaAustralia is a foodie nation, home to tens of thousands of fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes. However, in a saturated industry where competition is so high, standing out can be difficult. SevenRooms Asia Pacific managing director Paul Hadida offers insight into how hospitality businesses can keep their marketing strategies effective when the economy is tight – and it’s food for thought for all industries.

As a former Sydney cafe owner, one of my biggest challenges was standing out when customers are, quite literally, spoilt for choice. That battle for attention was even harder when economic conditions were challenging – as unfortunately, they are today. 

With summer long gone – peaks like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day behind us, and the slower winter months approaching – making the most of every customer and every interaction is essential. For marketers, not just in hospitality but industries-wide, analysing the performance of your marketing channels is critical. From embracing the omnichannel to building direct relationships, here’s where to start – whatever sector you’re in.

Embrace the omnichannel automation

If during your analysis, you find that you’re relying on only one or two marketing channels, your business is leaving revenue on the table. That’s because today, guests are ‘omnichannel’. They discover, engage and book venues on multiple platforms. While not every channel is completely equal, every single one is important in allowing you to build relationships and drive incremental revenue amongst an audience you would otherwise miss out on.

According to SevenRooms’ Direct Dining and Discovery Report, Aussies discover venues through multiple sources, traditional and online. Four in five discover venues through word of mouth, 62 percent use Google and 50 percent do so directly, through a business’ website. Social media is important too, with Facebook (21 percent), Instagram (18 percent) and TikTok (8 percent) growing in influence.

SevenRooms software
While marketing your venue across multiple platforms sounds time-consuming, it needn’t be. Through automation, venues can market smarter, not harder. With a restaurant marketing automation tool like SevenRooms, venues can set up targeted campaigns, which are sent to the right customers at the right time with the right offer, in just a few clicks.

Analysing your marketing approach

Marketing in the first place is only half the battle when it comes to promoting your venue. Measuring your success and adjusting your strategies accordingly is equally as important. Firstly, track customer engagement through every channel and every strategy. 

By monitoring metrics like click-through rates, conversions, customer feedback and spend per channel, marketers and their businesses can develop deep insights into not only which channels resonate most with their target audience, but which are driving the most value per reservation. 

Additionally, by implementing discount codes or promotional offers unique to each specific marketing channel, you can measure the direct impact on sales and customer acquisition. Encouraging – and then rewarding – current customers to refer your venue to their friends and family is an important revenue generator that aids both retention and acquisition.

What’s more, analysing reservation patterns alongside marketing campaigns enables marketers to identify correlations between their marketing activity and how busy their business is. By continuously evaluating these metrics, restaurants can refine their marketing strategies, allocate resources effectively and maximise ROI across various channels.

Ultimately, when the economy puts pressure on both consumer spending and business budgets, venues must focus on the channels and strategies that are driving the greatest value for them.

The business case for direct

While omnichannel marketing is imperative today, not all channels are created equal. For marketers, building direct relationships through owned channels improves guest experience, retention and therefore revenue.

Direct channels include things like your email marketing platform, direct reservations and online ordering solutions, and even your restaurant’s app, if you have one. Essentially, anything that does not have a third-party intermediary, like for example, a restaurant reservation marketplace. 

Marketers should focus on growing these platforms in 2024 because direct approaches enable them to access approved guest data that they can use to personalise their marketing strategies and drive retention. Rather than sending every person on your email list the same newsletter, customise your outreach to guests’ preferences.

If you’re planning a new range of vegan dishes, reach out to guests who have a vegan tag in their guest profiles to let them be the first to reserve tables.

Or when you gather data about guests’ anniversaries, you can invite couples to celebrate at your restaurant and even offer a free champagne or red rose to entice them. Using marketing channels to upsell and improve the guest experience is very effective and potentially lucrative too.

According to SevenRooms data, there was a 26 percent year-on-year increase from 2022 to 2023 in reservations completed with prepayments.

On average, venues generated 25 percent more in revenue from prepayments in the same period. Evidently, personalised marketing automation enables restaurants to make more money.

SevenRooms research reveals in the wake of cost-of-living pressures, two in three Aussies are focusing more on the quality than the quantity of their dining experiences. Marketing is how you can ensure your venue not only stays top of mind with the right people at the right time but also that your venue is associated with the exceptional experiences they’re craving today.

While this information applies to the hospitality industry, the principles and thought processes are transferable. Whether you’re selling a product or service, it’s essential to understand the performance of your marketing channels and identify ways to enhance their performance.

If your customers and your competitors are on multiple channels, and eager to establish direct relationships, you should be too. 

So whether it’s to drive incremental revenue during the slower winter months or make the most of the peak summer season, marketing is essential. By reviewing their marketing channels and approaches today, businesses can build meaningful relationships and provide standout guest experiences that will meet the demands of their audience tomorrow and long into the future.

SevenRooms' Paul Hadida
Paul Hadida
is the managing director APAC at SevenRooms – a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry. With over a decade of experience in Australia’s hospitality sector, first as a cafe owner and now hospitality industry expert, Hadida is uniquely positioned to understand hospitality operators, including the challenges they face and the solutions to empower them. 

Also, read about reconnecting in the digital age: why listening matters more than ever right now. 

Imagery supplied by SevenRooms.


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Billy Klein

Billy Klein is a content producer at Niche Media.

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