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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 
 



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How to Incorporate Digital Marketing into Fine Dining

01/24/2017

Since the recent growth in fine dining casual dress codes, environments, added value and culinary enhancements are among the ways in which fine dining restaurants have changed to meet their customer's’ needs.

As times have changed and most restaurants have migrated toward a digital marketing approach, it has been challenging for restaurants to keep up. Establishments of this caliber depend on the idea of exclusivity, that is something quickly lost by the use of digital marketing since all channels are meant to be public. Restaurateurs might be wary to try this new form of marketing out of fear of losing touch with traditional roots and losing the one aspect that sets the experience apart.

Similarly, the lack of personal touch that comes with digital marketing on top of the lack of exclusivity are the two main reasons that fine dining restaurants might be hesitant to incorporate digital marketing. In order for fine dining to remain a force in the industry, adapting to the new era and incorporating digital marketing is essential.

One way this can be done is through the tasteful use of social media channels. Even though their market is limited, many different types of guests can be found at fine dining restaurants. There are the wealthy guests, the foodies, the tourists, and guests who come only for special occasions. A fine dining restaurant’s goal should be to reach this diverse demographic of guests through different sources. To target the older market, restaurants should invest in traditional marketing techniques such as newspapers, food magazines and reviews. However, this would only touch a fraction of customers. Restaurants also have to focus on new media channels such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Using aesthetically pleasing photos of a restaurant's food, the dining room or the chef can influence those following their accounts to choose their restaurant. The way a fine dining restaurant will posts pictures will be much different than the way casual restaurants do.  Fine dining restaurants can still emphasize the experience of their restaurants through images that entice the viewer to seek out the exclusive experience for themselves.

User-generated content sites like Yelp, which have tremendous power in the world today, is another way to remain competitive. There are millions of users on these sites who actively engage on them throughout their day. But there are several fine dining restaurants that will not promote themselves on Yelp for fear of what guests might say. According to Yelp, almost half of the reviews posted on the site are five-star reviews, and even if they aren’t five star reviews, almost three-fourths of the reviews posted on Yelp end with the reviewer recommending the establishment to the public.

Another interesting fact is that nearly half of Yelp users make a salary of $100,000 or more a year. These users arguably have a larger disposable income and can afford to eat out more often at upscale establishments. Being an active participant on Yelp has not only been proven to have a strong influence on restaurant sales, but it can also help create loyal guests. Responding to reviews shows that the restaurant appreciates its customers and wants to take that second chance to turn them from critics into repeat customers.

Digital marketing is not just the present way to engage with guests, but it is also the future. All restaurants have to work in incorporate it somehow in order to stay relevant in this ever changing industry. Fine dining especially has to put its traditionalist ways behind and embrace the idea of digital marketing through social media and Yelp to remain a force in the industry.

About The Author
Boston University: Rafi Pell, Tessa Ohebshalom, Zifan Li and Maura Feltault




Rafi Pell, Tessa Ohebshalom, Zifan Li and Maura Feltault
 
Special thanks to Leora Lanz's Digital Marketing for Hospitality class at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration for providing this series for our readers.
 
This is the second article in a total of five articles this series.

 
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