In this week's Hospitality Highlights Newsletter
Top Marketing News
- Threads Expands with Trending Topics, GIFs, Voice Posts, and More
- Meta Introduces New Features for Facebook and Instagram Reels Ads
- X Enhances Web User Experience with Expanded Profile Bios
- Snapchat Allows Websites to Embed Content
- CBD Advice Update: Food Standards Agency Releases New Guidelines
Restaurant and F&B News
- How Diversity Became Shake Shack’s Key Ingredient for Success
- Bad Day? Domino’s Is Giving Away Free ‘Emergency Pizzas’
- These Food Trucks Are Going Green: Ditching Noisy, Polluting Generators
- McDonald’s US CMO on Brand’s First-Party Data Transformation
- Tesla Shakes Things Up with the Launch of Cyberbeer
Hotel and Travel News
- High Demand for Wellness Trips!
- Swindon Welcomes First All-Electric Premier Inn Hotel, Powered by Renewable Energy
- Hoteliers to Pay $50 Billion in Commissions/Markups to Top OTAs and Bed Banks in 2023
- Social Media Buzz: Bed Bug Hysteria on the Rise
- 🇯🇵 Japanese Hotel Owners Set to Sue Booking.com Over Payment Failure
☕ Grab Your Favourite Drink, and Let’s Check In!
Threads Expands with Trending Topics, GIFs, Voice Posts, and More
Meta’s Threads app is set to rival X with new features and improvements. The upcoming addition of Trending Topics will allow users to stay updated on the latest discussions within Threads, similar to X’s real-time news discussions.
Threads aims to focus on key topics without leaning into news and politics. IG chief Adam Mosseri said they take a deliberate approach to features, unlike before when incentives for news publishers were revoked.
The platform is testing a number of post-creation elements, such as voice posts, GIFs, polls, and editing options, within a time limit.
Recent changes at X have prompted more attention toward Threads, attracting journalists and media organisations seeking content promotion options.
With more journalists and PR professionals on the channel, set time aside each day for finding and connecting with them on Threads.
Meta Introduces New Features for Facebook and Instagram Reels Ads
Meta has introduced new features for Facebook and Instagram Reels ads to enhance engagement and optimise campaign performance.
These include Collection Ads, allowing users to swipe through images and learn more about products of interest.
Multi-destination Reels carousel ads have also been launched, allowing brands to direct customers to multiple product pages. Users can now swipe left on Reels ads to explore potential products further, improving the shopping experience.
Meta’s Advantage+ Creative Suite has been updated with automation solutions such as creative optimisations, music integration, and brand suitability filters.
A Meta spokesperson spoke about the effectiveness of Reels ads, stating that campaigns using Reel Creative had lower cost per action, higher click-through rates, and higher conversion rates than other video types.
Top Tip – Create a spreadsheet to record your Reels experiments. Add a column for Date, Hypothesis, Objective, Creative Brief, Post Link, KPIs and Learnings. This will help you track A/B tests for copy, calls to action, media and audience targeting.
X Enhances Web User Experience with Expanded Profile Bios
X has launched its expanded profile bio display feature for X Premium users on the web.
Users can now add a “View more” prompt to their profile, providing additional information about themselves or their business. The feature aims to offer more space for personal mission statements and manifestos. It could include shops, job listings, and location info in the future.
X plans to use the data from these expanded bios to customise job recommendations and ads, making it a valuable SEO tool. The feature is currently available to X Premium and Verification for Business subscribers on the web, with a wider rollout expected soon.
This hasn’t rolled out to everyone just yet, but when it does – make sure you complete your bios with keyword-rich descriptions which focus on what value you bring to your audience and why profile visitors should follow you
Snapchat Allows Websites to Embed Content
Snapchat now allows websites to embed public content, including Lenses, Spotlight videos, Public Stories, and Public Profiles.
Users can copy the embed code from the share sheet on the desktop browser and post it on their site. This move by Snapchat aims to drive more traffic to its app and website, following in the footsteps of rivals Instagram and TikTok, which have long offered web embeds.
In an internal memo, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel shared the goal of reaching 475+ million daily users in 2024, 14 million Snapchat+ subscribers and $500 million in non-ad revenue.
Good news for companies targeting Gen Z and younger Millennials. Update your websites with your favourite Snaps to boost your social proof.
Restaurant and F&B News
How Diversity Became Shake Shack's Key Ingredient for Success
During a keynote address at the Fast Casual Executive Summit, Idris Stover, Shake Shack’s director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement, discussed the company’s efforts.
Currently, 77% of Shake Shack employees are people of colour, and 52% are women. However, the same cannot be said for leadership positions.
To address the lack of diversity in leadership roles, Shake Shack has set goals to have 50% women and 50% people of colour in manager positions and 50% women and 30% people of colour in higher executive roles.
They have seen progress, with a 33% increase in women in leadership roles and an 18% increase in people of colour.
Shake Shack’s approach includes:
- Expanding the recruitment process.
- Offering training programs.
- Promoting understanding among various racial and gender groups within the company.
Conduct an audit across your content to ensure that your materials are diverse; this includes social media, job site listings and review sites to name a few. Get in touch with me if you need a fresh pair of eyes to conduct a Brand Experience Audit.
Bad Day? Domino's Is Giving Away Free 'Emergency Pizzas'
Domino’s Pizza is launching an “Emergency Pizza” program, giving away a free medium-sized two-topping pizza to customers.
The promotion aims to brighten people’s bad days and provide a pick-me-up. Customers who order online for delivery or takeout will receive a free pizza credit within 30 days.
The deal is available from October 9, 2023, to February 11, 2024, and can be accessed through the Domino’s Rewards portal. The company plans to restore delivery growth in the U.S. by improving service staffing and driving value and innovation.
Emotional connections tap into individuals’ emotions, creating positive associations with the brand. These positive emotions include happiness, joy, excitement, and nostalgia.
When individuals feel positive emotions towards a brand, they are more likely to develop a favourable attitude towards it and become loyal customers.
These Food Trucks Are Going Green: Ditching Noisy, Polluting Generators
US food trucks are switching from noisy, polluting generators to silent battery systems. The battery system, which costs about two and a half times more than a generator, can be paid back within a year through savings on fuel and repairs.
Batteries offer a cleaner and quieter alternative, improving the dining experience for customers and the working conditions for employees.
Around 100 food trucks have already switched. Joule Case (a battery supplier) aims to convert 2,000 trucks in the next five years, reducing CO2 emissions by half a million tons.
Will these new modular batteries accelerate the food truck industry?
McDonald’s US CMO on Brand’s First-Party Data Transformation
McDonald’s US Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer Tariq Hassan discussed the brand’s transformation by focusing on first-party data.
MyMcDonald’s rewards program, launched in 2020, has played a considerable role in creating deeper relationships with young consumers.
The brand has shifted its focus from transactional strategies to culture-driven marketing, such as the Famous Orders platform featuring celebrity meal preferences.
With first-party data, McDonald’s has improved its customer relationship management, experiencing 83 consecutive weeks of comparable growth and a 10.3% increase in US comp sales in the second quarter.
McDonald’s has done a really good job here, and with the demise of the 3rd party cookie, marketers need to focus on capturing, segmenting and using first-party data to create experiences for key customer groups. With Gen Z now coming into their spending power this has never been more important, as Gen Z have highly niched fandoms and communities. Community marketing is the future of digital marketing.
Tesla Shakes Things Up with the Launch of Cyberbeer
Tesla has introduced a limited-edition product called the Cyberbeer to celebrate its upcoming Cybertruck launch.
Only available in the US, the beer is brewed by Buzzrock Brewing Co. in California and is a Helles Lager with a 7% ABV. It is sold in a set with two 330ml bottles and two angular, black ceramic steins resembling the Cybertruck’s “exoskeleton.” The steins have a glossy interior and the Tesla logo.
The beer’s flavour profile boasts notes of herb, spice, tea, and citrus—the product ships in late October, coinciding with the planned start of Cybertruck production. In previous ventures, Tesla sold a $250 añejo Tequila, which sold out quickly and launched the Gigabier limited edition pilsner in Europe.
Tesla’s move into the beer industry with CyberBeer follows a trend of lifestyle brands venturing into the beverage industry to create limited-edition products that enhance their brand image and provide another touchpoint for customer engagement.
Offering this as a limited-edition product creates exclusivity, instilling a sense of urgency among consumers and promoting brand buy-in.
Hotel and Travel News
High Demand for Wellness Trips!
Travellers increasingly seek adventure and wellness trips, focusing on activities promoting health and mindfulness. Incentive groups are particularly interested in team-building experiences that provide balance and relaxation.
Sheli Hinds Armstrong, CEO of Destination Southwest, states clients are enquiring about yoga retreats, mindfulness courses, and unique natural settings for activities like full moon yoga and hot springs.
Travel planners are now taking advantage of the demand for adventure and wellness-focused activities, boosting the popularity of experience-led properties and resorts.
The shift towards wellness and adventure trips marks an exciting opportunity for hotels and resorts to reposition themselves beyond just accommodation providers.
Hotels must innovate and diversify their experience offerings to keep customers returning.
Swindon Welcomes First All-Electric Premier Inn Hotel, Powered by Renewable Energy
Premier Inn Swindon Town Centre has opened its doors as the first all-electric Premier Inn powered entirely by renewables.
The hotel is designed to operate without a connection to a mains gas supply. It will serve as a blueprint for future new-build Premier Inns, which will all be constructed to this specification by 2026.
The innovative features of the hotel include an energy-efficient air-to-water heat pump, low-energy LED lighting with controls, solar panels, and a building envelope designed to optimise energy use. Whitbread PLC aims to remove mains gas connections from its estate by 2040.
Other businesses can learn from this forward-thinking approach to sustainability.
Hoteliers to Pay $50 Billion in Commissions/Markups to Top OTAs and Bed Banks in 2023
According to Max Starkov, hospitality and online travel industry technologist, consultant, and digital strategist, hoteliers are projected to pay $50 billion in commissions and markups to online travel agencies (OTAs) and bed banks in 2023.
Hotels can achieve desired occupancy rates without relying on OTAs by investing more in technology and digital marketing, which only account for 2% to 3% of their budget.
Notably, the average cost of direct online bookings falls around 4.25% to 4.5%, significantly lower than OTA commissions and markups that often exceed 25%.
Social Media Bed Bug Hysteria on the Rise
Paris Fashion Week was recently plagued by a bed bug infestation, quickly becoming a viral topic on TikTok.
Onlookers were disgusted and fascinated by videos of the bugs shared by influencers at the event. Bed bugs in Paris spread online, fueled by TikTok’s short-form video content, leading to a wave of anxiety and speculation.
Internet influence, combined with suggestibility, can amplify anxieties and misperceptions. Even though online hysteria is prevalent, science-based sources can help provide accurate information and calm the frenzy.
Ugh, this is making my skin crawl writing about this – for teams with a crisis plan in place, does it include Bed Bugs? If you don’t have a Crisis Comms plan, now is the time to get one sorted.
Unfortunately, Bed Bugs could become more of a problem as the climate gets warmer. More info on that here
Japanese Hotel Owners Set to Sue Booking.com Over Payment Failure
Japanese hotel owners plan to sue online travel agency Booking.com over payment failures.
Hoteliers claim that Booking.com has been delaying the transfer of customer payments to hotels, resulting in unpaid bills for days or months. Around 40 people have sought consultation with lawyer Hirotaro Kato regarding the payment failures, and three have decided to participate in the class-action lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses Booking.com of charging commission fees while failing to pay the owed revenue, with one hotelier claiming that the company owes his company ¥6 million.
A lot of hotels depend on OTAs for bookings, and they’re supposed to make things go smoothly. The alleged delay in payments from Booking.com to hotels is concerning since it disrupts cash flow, which is essential for hotels’ daily operations and could affect their reputation.
It’s important for hoteliers to closely monitor their transactions and get legal help if needed. You can mitigate these risks by diversifying your booking sources.
UK Food Standards Agency Publishes CBD Guidance
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revised its recommendation for daily consumption of cannabidiol (CBD), setting a limit of 10mg for healthy adults.
The FSA’s advice is based on the average lifetime exposure to CBD in food products such as drinks, oils, and sweets. Products exceeding 10mg per serving should be carefully monitored. The FSA said consumers should check labels and consider their intake.
The FSA clarified that the updated guidance does not indicate any change to the legal status of CBD products and does not entail de-listings or product recalls.
While this is a UK-focused update, it’s worth bearing in mind when advertising functional foods and drinks, and spa packages.
That’s a wrap for the week!
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any feedback or suggestions for future topics.
Here’s to Your Success