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When consumer spending is down, the hospitality industry is one of the first to feel the pinch. Tighter budgets mean customers are more selective about where they spend money, so it’s important you stand out.

Strategic promotion, marketing, and efficient operations are key during these downturns, helping to attract and retain customers despite the economic landscape.

We’ll explore some strategies to boost your hospitality business, even when times are tough. From enhancing your online presence to offering value driven promotions, join us as we cover a range of tips you can start implementing straight away.

What consumers should you be targeting?

During economic uncertainty, consumer behaviour shifts. People are much more careful with their spending, prioritising essentials and looking for value for money. Think about the consumer mindset when planning your marketing – chat to your customers or run a survey to find out what people value the most right now.

It’s also worth thinking about what type of customers will be willing to spend the most. This will probably be a mix of loyal customers who already value your services, business travellers and tourists who are happy to eat out, and people treating themselves for special occasions. By identifying your core audience groups, you can better direct your efforts and maximise return on investment.

When coming up with your marketing messages, think about what’s going to click with your core audience groups and their current mindset. You’ll probably want to highlight affordability and value, sharing your special deals that cater to the needs of these segments.

Tidy up your online presence

Most people now look online to find new places to visit, so a user friendly website is crucial to attract new customers. Make your site easy to navigate, mobile friendly, and make sure it has all the needed information on your menus, pricing and special offers.

You’ll also want to optimise your website for search engines to maximise your visibility. Use relevant keywords, create high quality content and make sure your site loads quickly. Good SEO practices will help your business appear higher in the search results, so you get more traffic, and hopefully more customers.

You should also be using social media to connect to your audience – share photos of your food and drink offering, post special promotions and use ads to reach potential customers. Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok are great for showcasing your business and building a loyal community.

Create promotions that offer value

Packages and special deals will attract cost-conscious customers. You could offer smaller portion sizes at a lower price point, provide a set menu, or give a dessert or drink for free with a purchase. These all help make your offering more attractive and make people feel like they’re getting more for their money.

You could also set up a loyalty program. Offer reward points with every purchase that can be redeemed for future discounts or exclusive benefits. This can help build long term relationships and make your customers feel valued and appreciated.

Most people will be looking for value over luxury at the moment, so emphasise the quality of what you offer – highlight how you deliver a fantastic experience without breaking the bank.

Collaborate with local businesses

Partner with local businesses like nearby restaurants, hotels, tour operators, or event planners to offer combined services or special discounts. This can help to expand your reach, and give added value to your customers. For example, if you run a hotel, partner with local attractions or wellness centres to offer joint packages.

It’s also nice to get involved in or sponsor local community events, to increase your visibility and build goodwill. This not only promotes your business, but helps to strengthen your reputation. A lot of people would rather spend their money somewhere local and independent compared to a big chain, so make yourself known!

Ask for customer reviews

Actively encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google and TripAdvisor. You can request reviews through follow-up emails, when customers are paying, or by providing easy-to-access links on your website and social media. Positive reviews can significantly enhance your business’s credibility and attract new customers.

You should also show off your good reviews – put them on your website, on social media and in your promotional emails. Real-life positive experiences can build trust and demonstrate the value of your services to potential customers.

Invest in digital marketing

Use targeted ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google to reach your ideal customers. By focusing on specific demographics, interests, and behaviours, you can ensure your ads are seen by those most likely to be interested in your offering.

You can also run email marketing campaigns with personalised offers. Segment your email list based on past behaviours and demographics if you can, so you can send tailored promotions. This will help to improve your engagement and conversion rates, as customers are more likely to respond to content that feels relevant to them.

Use worth of mouth

In the hospitality industry, word of mouth and excellent service are powerful tools for attracting more guests. Providing exceptional customer service creates memorable experiences that guests are eager to share with friends, family, and social media networks. A single positive recommendation can significantly expand your customer base, as people tend to trust personal endorsements over advertisements. By consistently delivering top-notch service, you not only foster loyalty among existing customers but also build a strong reputation that attracts new patrons to your business.

Streamline your operations to reduce costs

Other than promotion to get more customers in, it’s also worth looking at your operations to see if any costs can be saved without compromising quality. Think about how you can automate routine tasks, negotiate better deals with your suppliers, and stop wasteful practices.

Technology can be a huge help to streamline your systems – for example, getting a good EPOS system means you can automate and speed up a lot of business areas. Customer wait times will reduce, so they’ll be happier and more likely to return, and accuracy will increase leading to less waste.

Other features an EPOS System can help with include:

  • Automatic inventory tracking so you can prevent shortages and overtstocking
  • Detailed sales reports so you know what products are most popular, and what you need to discount or promote
  • Staff scheduling and monitoring of transactions
  • Integration with accounting software, reducing the need for manual bookkeeping
  • Easy creation of special offers and discounts, as well as loyalty scheme integration

Running a hospitality business can be tough, but we’re here to help. Gardiff EPOS has everything you need to efficiently run and grow, from tills to online ordering. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.