In this week’s Hospitality Highlights Newsletter
Top Marketing News
- Google Rebrands Bard as Gemini
- Instagram Threads Adds Bookmarking for Post-Saving
- LinkedIn’s New Feature Prompts Users to Network
- TikTok’s Dispute with Universal Music Group Silences Viral Trends
- TikTok Pushes Horizontal Videos
Restaurant Marketing News
- Restaurants Embrace the Darker Side of Valentine’s Day with Unique Twists
- KFC Unveils New Loyalty Programme
- Burger King’s AI-Generated Whopper Competition
- Taco Bell Ranked Top Among Most Mentioned QSR Companies on Reddit in 2023
- IHOP Launches New Community Platform
Hotel and Travel Marketing News
- Netflix and Expedia Forge Global Partnership
- 2024’s Most Instagrammable Hotel Unveiled
- Luxury Car Branded Travel Experiences Hit the Road
- My Place Hotels Teams Up with Grubhub for Dining Convenience
- Room to Dream Experience Launches at Kimpton Fitzroy London
- Hospitality Industry Insights
- Food & Beverage News
- Middle East Hospitality Headlines
☕ Let’s Check In!
Google Rebrands Bard as Gemini
Google recently rebranded its AI chatbot from Bard to Gemini and introduced a new version called Gemini Advanced, powered by the Ultra 1.0 AI model.
The new chatbot is now available in 150 countries and territories in English, with more languages to be added later. It is part of the new Google One AI Premium Plan, priced at $19.99 per month, and will soon integrate with Google apps like Gmail and Docs. Google also announced a mobile experience for Gemini on Android and iOS.
For hospitality, this could mean enhanced customer service through more advanced chatbots, personalised recommendations, and improved language support to cater to a wider range of customers.
Instagram Threads Adds Bookmarking for Post-Saving
Meta’s Threads app is finally rolling out a bookmarking feature after it emerged as one of the most requested updates. The new feature will allow users to save posts, bringing much-needed organisation to the app.
While seemingly a small addition, it shows that Meta is paying attention to user demands and is working to enhance user experience on Threads.
Source: Adam Mosseri
This evolving functionality could have interesting implications for the hospitality industry’s marketing strategies. Hospitality businesses can use this feature to curate user-generated content, showcase positive feedback, and encourage engagement with their brand.
Learn more: New Instagram Content Creation Techniques
LinkedIn's New Feature Prompts Users to Network
LinkedIn has introduced a new “Catch Up” tab in the My Network section to encourage users to stay connected with their professional contacts by highlighting updates like job changes, work anniversaries, and hiring news.
Also, premium users can create personalised messages using the platform’s AI-powered messaging feature even when not connected. Previously, LinkedIn has used AI to enhance user experiences in several areas, including profile building, ads, collaborative articles, recruitment, and learning.
For hospitality professionals, this presents an opportunity to optimise your use of LinkedIn’s features to stay connected with current and potential employees, monitor industry trends, and attract top talent to your venues.
TikTok's Dispute with Universal Music Group Silences Viral Trends
A failed licensing negotiation caused Universal Music Group (UMG) to remove its vast catalogue from TikTok, which has significantly impacted the platform and its users.
UMG-owned music is heavily incorporated into viral trends, dance challenges, and memes. It has also been revealed that UMG songs are often unofficially, uncredited, and altered on TikTok. Music plays a vital role in driving engagement on social media platforms like TikTok, and artists face challenges when it comes to securing fair contracts.
Source: The Verge
💡 Music trends and licensed content can enhance the customer experience in the hospitality industry; this case highlights the need for ethical and legal use of audiovisual content for marketing purposes. Reach out to local artists to collaborate on music that can accompany your posts; this will also deepen authenticity and build relationships with the local community.
TikTok Pushes Horizontal Videos
TikTok is encouraging its creators to post longer horizontal videos and will boost these posts within 72 hours of posting, according to a prompt seen by creators.
This shift toward longer, YouTube-like content, such as the testing of 30-minute-long videos, marks a significant change for a platform known for bite-sized content.
The platform’s paywall program, Series, also allows users to make collections of videos up to 20 minutes long for paying subscribers. This move may lead creators to repurpose their YouTube content for TikTok despite YouTube paying more.
Source: Business Insider
💡 The implications for marketing in the hospitality industry include a potential shift in content strategy towards longer, more engaging videos on TikTok, aiming to capitalise on the platform’s user base and growing appetite for lengthier content.
Learn more: 2024 Hospitality Marketing Trends
Restaurant and F&B News
Restaurants Embrace the Darker Side of Valentine’s Day with Unique Twists
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about celebrating love. Some restaurant chains acknowledge the holiday’s less romantic side with quirky promotions for the broken-hearted.
P.F. Chang’s offers free dumplings to customers who share their breakup stories. Pizza Hut serves Hot Honey “Goodbye Pies” in select cities and helps customers create personalised breakup messages and gift cards elsewhere. Insomnia Cookies is selling a “It’s Not Me, It’s You” box, including a dozen cookies and a choice of handwritten breakup notes.
Source: Restaurant Business Online
These campaigns demonstrate a shift towards a deeper understanding of customers’ feelings around seasonal celebrations, with messaging and product solutions catering to both ends of the emotional spectrum.
KFC Unveils New Loyalty Programme
KFC has introduced its new loyalty program called KFC Rewards, allowing customers to earn points on orders through their rewards account online or via the KFC app.
Members can earn 10 points for every eligible dollar spent and redeem them for free food rewards, including items like Kentucky Fried Chicken Nuggets and chicken sandwiches. The program also offers personalised offers, rotating challenges, and unique experiences exclusively for reward members.
Source: QSR Web
Due to its potential to drive repeat business and revenue, customer loyalty will be an essential marketing objective in 2024, with brands trying to outdo each other with gamification and immersive experiences. As well as building long-term relationships, customer loyalty programs reduce customer acquisition costs and influence brand perception. Premium and paid-for loyalty programs are also becoming popular with diners.
Learn more: Hospitality Trends 2024
Burger King's AI-Generated Whopper Competition
Burger King recently launched the Million Dollar Whopper Contest, allowing customers to create their own customised Whopper using generative AI for a chance to win $1 million and have their creation sold in stores.
The campaign aligns with the brand’s focus on customisation and engagement with its Royal Perks loyalty program. While generative AI has risks, Burger King is diving into the technology prepared and aware of potential challenges.
Source: Marketing Dive
💡 The integration of AI in marketing reflects a more significant trend toward hyper-personalisation. Loyalty programs are an excellent way to gather first-party data to gauge the popularity and effectiveness of products and campaigns.
Learn more: What is Third, First and Zero-Party Data?
Taco Bell Ranked Top Among Most Mentioned QSR Companies on Reddit in 2023
The Social Media Analytics Platform of GlobalData’s “Top 10 QSR Companies on Reddit in 2023” report highlighted Taco Bell as the most mentioned QSR on Reddit, accounting for 31% of conversations.
Redditors expressed concerns about rising prices and ingredient quality but appreciated free food offers and diverse sauce options. Starbucks held a 22% share of QSR discussions, with debates surrounding drive-thru efficiency, product quality, and pricing. Overall, ‘pricing’ emerged as the central topic, primarily carrying negative sentiments.
Source: Restaurant News Resource
Reddit can be a goldmine for insights about your brand and competitors, where honest (sometimes brutally so) opinions are shared with the global community daily. Understanding and addressing these concerns can be vital for QSRs to maintain a positive online reputation; monitoring brand mentions on Reddit should form part of your social listening and reputation management campaigns.
Learn more: How to Manage a Social Media Crisis
IHOP Launches New Community Platform
After rolling out a new point-of-sale system across the US, IHOP now has bigger plans enabled by its new integrated technology. The first priority is the rollout of a new community platform called Stacking Up Joy.
With Stacking Up Joy, IHOP invites guests to add $1 or more to their in-store and online orders, with money raised going to Feeding America. The platform also allows franchisees to request donations if a hurricane or natural disaster occurs in their local area.
“We are investing in growth through technology, not for the sake of technology but to enable better guest experiences and better operational experiences for our franchisees,” said IHOP CMO Kieran Donahue.
Source: Nation’s Restaurant News
Restaurants should focus on community engagement through charitable initiatives like IHOP demonstrated. How can your technology stack enhance customer experiences and loyalty programs?
Learn more: Customer Experience in an Interactive Age
Hotel and Travel News
Netflix and Expedia Forge Global Partnership
Expedia Group and Netflix have entered a global advertising partnership, marking Expedia as the first company to partner with Netflix in its ad-supported plan.
This collaboration is part of Expedia’s strategy to aid its global expansion efforts through 2024, with a particular focus on Japan initially, before extending to other key markets such as the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and Brazil.
As part of Expedia’s “Made to Travel” initiative, the campaign will feature localised advertisements to re-establish Expedia’s presence in each market.
💡 Incorporating Expedia’s advertisements on Netflix’s ad-supported plan provides a unique opportunity to reach a vast audience through a popular streaming platform. By localising the ads, Expedia can tailor its messaging to engage consumers in different regions effectively.
This move could set a precedent for collaborations between online travel agencies and digital streaming platforms, opening new avenues for targeted advertising and customer engagement in the hospitality sector.
Companies wishing to reach customers in different regions can explore opportunities with OTAs or launch YouTube ads for Connected TVs in their chosen target areas.
Learn more: Hotel Marketing Services
2024's Most Instagrammable Hotel Unveiled
The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, has been awarded the 2024 Hotel Instagram of the Year award by the Forbes Travel Guide.
Set amidst sand-hued stone buildings, the property’s picturesque surroundings and exclusive amenities, including three pools, a cliffside restaurant, and a Five-Star spa, promise a captivating stay.
As illustrated by Los Cabos Pedregal, highlighting a property’s natural beauty, exclusive amenities, and authentic wellness offerings can be instrumental in attracting and engaging modern travellers as well as gaining media coverage. Set a challenge for employees to take the best local pictures for your social media.
Learn more: Luxury AlI-Inclusive Trends
Luxury Car Branded Travel Experiences Hit the Road
The Porsche Travel Experience is a road trip adventure that allows individuals to explore Canada’s stunning landscapes in a Porsche. Tailored itineraries combine breathtaking scenery, thrilling driving routes, and culinary delights, offering a unique and luxurious travel experience.
Participants enjoy scheduled stops for photos and breaks, as well as evening group dinners and first-class accommodations, promising unforgettable memories and a fresh perspective on Canada’s natural beauty.
Source: Trend Hunter
Offer luxury packages to affluent and adventurous individuals seeking exclusive travel experiences to attract them to your venue, and build a community of like-minded individuals.
Learn more: Hospitality Trends 2024 – Podcast Edition
My Place Hotels Teams Up with Grubhub for Dining Convenience
My Place Hotels of America has partnered with Grubhub to offer their guests a convenient option to order food from a variety of restaurants and stores on Grubhub’s platform.
Eligible orders come with $0 delivery fees, and guests can access the Grubhub Marketplace using geolocation and QR codes from around the hotel. They can then have their orders delivered right to the hotel.
This move to bring local cuisine directly to hotel rooms without charging delivery fees offers guests a new dimension of convenience and comfort. Are you collaborating with local restaurants to expand your dining options?
Learn more: Hotel Marketing Strategy
Room to Dream Experience Launches at Kimpton Fitzroy London
Kimpton Fitzroy London has introduced Room to Dream, an innovative add-on for guests to facilitate lucid dreaming using artificial intelligence. Developed by dream expert Charlie Morley and AI artist Sam Potter, this experience offers a VR component to assist guests in achieving lucid dreams.
Each guest receives an ‘Open Your Dreams Kit’ containing a VR headset with Potter’s customised lullaby, a dream journal, a lucid dreaming guide by Morley, and LabTonica’s Unplugged range for better sleep. The package enhances sleep and allows guests to visualise their dreams as ‘Dream Art’ created by Potter.
Source: Boutique Hotelier
I have to admit this sounds very cool! It’s a great example of how hotels can differentiate themselves from competitors by offering unique and innovative add-ons focusing on wellness and immersive experiences and attracting guests seeking unconventional services.
Hospitality Industry Insights
- 84% of Consumers Prioritise Travel in Their Budgets (HT)
- Hilton Dramatically Expands Global Luxury Portfolio with Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ Partnership (HN)
- Hilton Joins Forces with the Professional Tennis Players Association (HM)
- IHG Reports Increase in Independent Operators Seeking Partnerships (BH)
- IHG Secures Over 1,000 Rooms in UK & Ireland (IHG)
- Yum! Brands: A Global Fast-Food Leader on the Move (Ent)
- 2024 Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland Announces Winners (FEJ)
- Starbucks to Capitalise on Record Loyalty Membership with App Improvements (CED)
Food & Beverage News
- Feeding Gen Z: The Rise of Authenticity in Food & Beverage (MRM)
- Coca-Cola Spiced Joins Permanent Offerings for Soft Drink Brand (Bev)
- Le Gavroche’s Wine Cellar Up for Auction (DB)
- McDonald’s Shamrock Shake Returns Earlier Than Expected (Ent)
- Subway Sells 3.5M Sidekick Snack Items Within 2 Weeks of Launch (RD)
- Italy gives the go-ahead to Insect Flour for Human Use (Gua)
- Value-Driven Combo Meals More Popular Outside the U.K. (RB)
- Are Personalised Closures the Latest Sign of Luxury? (DB)
Middle East Hospitality Headlines
- New Anantara Resort in Bandar Khairan Muscat to Open in 2026 in Oman (HNR)
- NEOM Announces Xaynor, an Exclusive Private Members Club (HNR)
- Jumeirah Debuts in Saudi Arabia (BT)
- Dubai Marks Annual Tourism Record with 17 Million Visitors in 2023 (WO)
- Inside the 24-Hour Louis Vuitton Airport Lounge in Doha (GT)
- Qatar Poised to Become One of MENA’s Fastest-Growing Tourism Hotspots (DN)
- Saudi Arabia to Introduce First Luxury Train Service in 2025 (CNT)
Last Updated on 12 February 2024 by Dawn Gribble