Is it too late to go digital in hospitality?

No, of course it’s not it… although I’m always surprised at how many businesses haven’t made the switch or embraced the basics of digital marketing to promote their brand.

It’s history repeating itself – years ago everyone was banging on about how important it was to have a website, luckily I think most people have finally nailed that one, now it’s the turn of digital and social media… so if you haven’t gone digital, you need to wake up!

It’s not just having digital media, the next step is understanding roughly how to use it and how it can effectively add value to your business… way too many people have a database or social account that they either don’t use, don’t distribute quality content, or think sharing videos of cats or favourite sports team is ‘doing social media’ for their business.

I heard an excellent quote from Kerwin Rae a few months back – “You only have to be a little bit over sh*t to be good [on social media]” and do you know what, it’s so true!

Digital marketing is all about creating awareness for your business whilst trying to gain and retain the attention of your prospective customers. Simple. The hard part is working out how to cut through the noise to best attract interest in your company in order to move product.

Perhaps one thing putting people off is everyone’s opinions and recycled outdated quotes. One phrase I hear far too often is that “videos should be no longer than 30 seconds due to people’s attention span” – this, amongst about a hundred other quotes, is complete nonsense. What is true is that every business is different, from the products they sell, to the consumers they are trying to attract and therefore every deployment of social media needs to be different too, not only for the brand and customer type, but tailored to the platform that it is intended for and objective it’s trying to achieve.

Sure, videos can be short to give a quick glimpse of a product or attract interest in a brand, but they can also be longer 10-60+ minutes sharing detailed information, facts and insight about a company’s background, products, people, values, ethos etc. – what I’m saying is they’re aren’t any rules, it’s completely dependent on you, your brand and what you’re trying to achieve.

Next up, marketing agencies… typically I find that marketing agencies, aside from charging a small fortune, tend to know very little about the hospitality, restaurant, bar, and hotel industries and therefore have some pretty lame ideas of how to market them. If you do need an agency do some research and choose carefully, but the fact is not everyone needs a agency, just because the larger chains use them doesn’t mean smaller chains or independents looking to capitalize on local market share need them too.

I work with both independent and corporate clients and always advise keeping as much marketing in-house as possible, that way you remain in control, save money, and won’t lose authenticity of your brand – however I must stress the importance of building a strategy around in-house digital/social that best represents the brand – otherwise you’ll be one of those people I mentioned earlier wasting valuable time looking at GIFs of cats, or as Kerwin put it you’ll be ‘Sh*t’.


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Tim Coulston (TC) is the Managing Director of Nibble, a hospitality company focused on building food & beverage brands, specialising in Strategic Communications, Business Management & Commercial Interiors.

For further information please contact:
Sophie Chadwick, Communications Manager, Nibble.

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