Welcome to this week’s newsletter, where I share the latest hospitality news and trends.
In this week’s Hospitality Highlights Newsletter
- Instagram Tests New AI Chatbot Experience in DMs
- LinkedIn Launches DMs for Company Pages
- What We Can Learn From McDonald’s About Creating a Fantastic Customer Experience
- Taipei’s Isopod Ramen Has Foodies Lining Up Day After Day
- Skittles Links Pride Month Packaging to LGBTQ+ Stories on Audible
- Uber Eats Offers Restaurants $10K Grants to Switch to Sustainable Packaging
- Industry Insights: Extended Reality
- Industry Insights: TikTok Affiliate Marketing
- Industry Insights: Shadowbanning
Grab a Beverage, and Let’s Check-In
Hospitality Highlights - Marketing News
Instagram Tests New AI Chatbot Experience in DMs
Instagram is developing new generative AI tools, including a new AI chat option similar to Snapchat’s My AI tool. This tool will allow users to ask questions of the AI tool in-stream, while it would also be able to advise on how to write more effective messages.
As more conversation on IG switches to DMs, Instagram has been looking for more ways to expand its messaging options, and this could help feed into that trend, merging with usage behaviours.
Hotels, restaurants and the hospitality industry can use the AI chat option to improve customer service and enhance communication with potential customers.
💬 LinkedIn Launches DMs for Company Pages
LinkedIn has launched a new feature allowing Company Pages to send and receive direct messages (DMs). This option will enable users to start a conversation with Company Pages, and Page admins will be able to respond as the Page, providing another engagement option.
With Pages Messaging, members can reach out to brands through a one-to-one message, previously only available for member-to-member interactions.
This feature is important for marketing because it provides another channel for brands to interact with customers and receive feedback. The hospitality industry, including hotels and restaurants, can use LinkedIn to communicate with potential customers, showcase their services, and provide customer support.
Dolce and Gabbana Marry High Fashion and Luxurious Hospitality in Maldives
Italian fashion label Dolce & Gabbana is set to debut in the hospitality industry by partnering with Saudi property developer Dar Global to build a new luxury resort in the Maldives. This partnership represents their commitment to delivering exceptional living experiences and investment opportunities to clients.
The Maldives is known for its luxurious resorts and beautiful beaches, and this new venture is expected to bring the world-renowned Made in Italy brand ambassador Dolce & Gabbana into the world of real estate and hospitality.
The trend of fashion brands moving into the real estate industry has increased, with Armani and Bulgari also venturing into the sector.
5 Things We Can Learn From McDonald's About Creating a Fantastic Customer Experience
McDonald’s is a fast food giant, but it is unique in the hospitality industry when it comes to creating seamless experiences, innovating with the technologies of the future, and making its supply chain and restaurants more sustainable. The company excels in balancing tradition and innovation, keeping its menu recognisable and adapting to customer tastes and preferences changes.
Most importantly, McDonald’s invests heavily in making its service as fast and frictionless as possible, with multiple tech interfaces designed to save customers’ time.
The company’s success is an excellent example for hotels, restaurants, and the hospitality industry, emphasising the importance of balancing consistency and adaptation, removing friction, experimenting with new technologies, training employees, and being socially responsible.
Taipei's Isopod Ramen Has Foodies Lining Up Day After Day
A restaurant called The Ramen Boy serves giant isopods in its ramen bowls, much to the delight of foodies lining up to taste the novel dish. The isopod, which looks like a guinea pig-sized lobster tail, is steamed for 10 minutes before being placed over a bowl of ramen. The dish has become very popular, with over 100 people signing up for a chance to eat it since its debut in May this year.
While the dish has become popular, it is not without controversy. Some experts are concerned that isopods may not be safe for human consumption, as they feed on dead marine animals and could contain remnants of poison from puffer fish and other shellfish. Despite these concerns, isopods have been consumed in certain Asian territories since the 1970s without reports of ill health.
The hospitality industry can learn from the popularity of this dish by experimenting with unique and novel dishes to attract customers.
Skittles Links Pride Month Packaging to LGBTQ+ Stories on Audible
Skittles is taking a creative approach to celebrating Pride Month with limited-edition packaging that features QR codes that link to LGBTQ+ content curated by Audible and GLAAD. The audio streaming platform’s collection includes Queer Fiction, Real People, Real Voices and Audible Theater Originals.
Marketers can learn from Skittles’ innovative strategy to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community authentically and respectfully, which aligns with their brand values.
Uber Eats Offers Restaurants $10K Grants to Switch to Sustainable Packaging
Uber Eats has launched a zero-waste and zero-emissions initiative to reduce plastic packaging and carbon emissions by offering discounted green packaging worldwide and grants for small businesses to purchase this packaging.
The company partnered with sustainable packaging providers to offer a 35% discount on green packaging. Consumer surveys revealed that 80% of Eaters in the U.S. and U.K. would be more likely to order from an Uber Eats merchant that used sustainable packaging. This move is important for marketing as it aligns with the increasing trend of customers supporting brands prioritising sustainability.
Hotels, restaurants, and the hospitality industry should consider partnering with sustainable packaging providers and offering discounts on green packaging to attract more customers who prioritise sustainability.
Each week, I answer your question and provide expert tips and advice to help you stay ahead of your competition.
Local SEO and social media marketing are essential to a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. However, many businesses still need help finding the right balance between the two.
Understanding Local SEO and Social Media Marketing
- Local SEO: Local search engine optimisation (SEO) focuses on improving your business’s visibility in search results for geographically-specific queries. Your website’s content, online presence, and SEO will all help you rank higher in local search results.
- Social Media Marketing: SMM engages your target market, builds relationships, and increases brand awareness through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. This strategy involves creating and sharing content, participating in conversations, and utilising paid advertising to reach a wider audience.
Key Differences and Benefits
- Local SEO: With local SEO, you focus on attracting customers within a specific geographical area. You can improve your online visibility and attract more local customers by researching and targeting local keywords, optimising your website for local searches, and claiming your business listings on local directories.
- Social Media: Using social media platforms, you can target a specific demographic according to factors such as age, gender, interests, and location. Posting content that resonates with your audience can increase brand awareness and engagement.
- Local SEO: Creating high-quality, informative, and locally-focused content is essential for improving your search rankings. This includes writing blog posts, articles and guides that answer common questions, provide in-depth information, and address local issues or events.
- Social Media: Social media content aims to spark emotions, foster engagement, and create shareable moments. This includes short-form content, visuals, and interactive elements like polls, quizzes, and live videos encouraging users to interact, share, and connect with your brand.
- Local SEO: Success in local SEO is typically measured by improvements in organic search rankings, increases in website traffic, and, ultimately, conversions. Tracking these metrics over time can help you fine-tune your strategy and better understand the return on investment (ROI).
- Social Media: Success in social media marketing is often measured by engagement rates, such as likes, comments, shares, and follower growth. These metrics provide insights into how well your content resonates with your audience and can help you adjust your strategy to maximise results.
How Local SEO and Social Media Marketing Complement Each Other
While local SEO and social media marketing may seem like different strategies, they can work together to amplify your overall marketing efforts. Here are some ways these two strategies complement each other:
- Content Promotion: Promoting your SEO-optimised content on social media can drive more traffic to your website and improve your search rankings. Sharing your content on social platforms also increases its chances of earning backlinks from other websites, further boosting your SEO efforts.
- Local Engagement: Social media lets you directly engage with local customers and influencers, building relationships and fostering trust in your brand. By participating in local conversations and sharing locally-focused content, you can increase your brand’s visibility and support your local SEO efforts.
- Reputation Management: Both local SEO and social media marketing involve managing and responding to customer reviews and feedback. By monitoring and addressing customer concerns across search and social, you can improve your online reputation and provide a better overall customer experience.
Determining the Right Balance for Your Business
So, what should your business focus on first: local SEO or a social media marketing strategy? The answer largely depends on your business goals, resources, and industry.
Local SEO should be your top priority if your primary goal is to drive organic traffic and conversions. A solid local SEO strategy can help your business rank higher in search results, attract more customers, and, ultimately, grow your revenue.
On the other hand, if building brand awareness and fostering customer relationships are your main objectives, social media marketing may be the better choice.
Of course, the best approach is to implement both strategies, using local SEO to optimise your website and content for search engines while leveraging social media to engage with your audience and promote your brand. By combining the strengths of both strategies, you can create a well-rounded marketing plan that delivers the best of both worlds.
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Extended reality (XR) is a growing trend because it has practical applications in various industries, such as entertainment, marketing, retail, real estate, training, and remote work.
XR technologies extend our reality by blending the virtual and real worlds or creating a fully immersive experience. By 2022, the XR market is expected to reach $209 billion.
Hotels and restaurants can capitalise on this trend by incorporating XR technologies into their services. For example, restaurants can use AR to provide customers with a virtual menu that displays information about the dishes, ingredients, and nutritional values. Hotels can use VR to give customers a virtual tour of the rooms and facilities before they make a reservation. This way, customers can have a more immersive and interactive experience, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
TikTok Affiliate Marketing
TikTok affiliate marketing is a growing trend because it offers a lucrative way for influencers to earn money by promoting and selling products for a commission.
With TikTok having over 1 billion monthly active users, many of whom are younger users, there are numerous opportunities for affiliate marketers to target products that appeal to this demographic, such as fashion, lifestyle, gadgets, and consumer products.
By selecting the right influencers and products to promote on TikTok, hotels and restaurants can increase their reach and sales and create a buzz around their brand on this popular social media platform.
Social media sites use shadowbanning to hide content that violates their community guidelines without notifying the user.
Restaurants and hotels can prevent their social media accounts from being shadowbanned by avoiding posting copyrighted material. Accounts can also be shadowbanned for sharing hateful or pornographic content.
If a shadowban does occur, it may be difficult to detect. However, monitoring engagement levels and asking followers if they can see your content can help identify any issues.