Courtesy Albert Einstein Wikiquote King of Observation
Chris Brogan’s latest post “How Hotels Can Win More Business Travel” is a look at how all social media marketers, social media consultants, entrepreneurs, and large companies should be looking at applying social media networks to their challenges. Implementing new processes in order to meet a business challenge is often a matter of observing and re-engineering. In Chris’s post, search is the main tool with an open mind to possibilities. Let’s take a look at 3 of Chris’s steps.
While Chris addresses hotels, I will plug in his first 3 Steps for restaurants:
1. Get Aggressive with Search: Chris utilized a Twitter search that found conversations surrounding lodging in Austin, Texas for the SXSW conference. He found folks who were having a problem finding accommodations. Chris’s idea: “If I were an Austin, TX hotel property with open beds, I’d go after each and every one of them with a rate quote and an easy link to make the reservation.
Restaurant’s Strategy: (dg) If I were a Austin area restaurant, I would also tap into these travel conversations on Twitter. Here is how I would engage:
A.) Welcome each traveler to Austin
B.) Promote Hotel(s) that you wish to partner with by tweeting their facilities with a link to reservations with contact information
C.) Welcome them to my restaurant with an added incentive, give away, or special that makes them feel compelled to investigate
2. Improve Your Concierge Service: Chris’s idea here is simple yet few are doing it. He talks about chronicling and then databasing a travelers tendancies, wants, and needs. “How hard would it be to database your guests a little bit, and start to understand their recurring business travel needs? How difficult would it be to share them across properties?
Restaurant’s Strategy: (dg) Like inventory control when chef’s order their supplies, a customer’s preferences for dishes would be a database that could be very impressive to both local and business travelers. With these tendencies, a restaurant could Tweet specials, special nights, or offers with confidence. Create a database of your customers.
Real Strategy to Connect: At the restaurant location, offer them the opportunity to actually login and sign up to be your fan on Facebook and connect on Twitter. This is the next generation version of those stale paper “How Did We Do” evaluation forms so many restaurants use.
3. Get Aggressive with Offers: CB “Right now, there’s no reason why not to build incentives into property loyalty. Hotels.com has a book 10 nights through them, get 1 night free (without any loyalty required to any particular chain). It’s a really clever offer. It could be countered easily and retain chain loyalty fairly easily.”
Restaurant’s Strategy: Due to the economic crisis we all face, eating out today is often a luxury for most people. Restaurant’s should consider leveraging their food as a commodity by offering special value items, menus, or incentives. Granted many restaurants offer value but do they do this strategically? Often the value offer is something that is seen as less value and more fluff. The free dessert, apertif, or side dish just isn’t going to get it in today’s world.
Restaurants must give something their customers actually want and give it to them with the idea that they can make up the costs in return visits, alcohol sales, and viral marketing word of mouth.