Serving Fresh Marketing Updates, Trends, Buyer Behaviour and Strategic Intel for Hotels, Restaurants and Hospitality Brands
In this week’s Hospitality Highlights Newsletter
Top Marketing News
- Instagram Retires Guides Next Month
- Google Search Unveils Hidden Gems
- TikTok Launches Mobile Measurement Feature
- Meta’s Ad-Free Subscription Limits Ad Running
- Snapchatters are the Happiest Social Users
Restaurant and F&B News
- Chick-fil-A Tests Drone Delivery
- Pub Implements Meters for Outdoor Heaters
- Pernod Ricard Seeks Burger Sommelier
- Pizza Hut Introduces Seasoning Set
- Thousands of Starbucks Employees Strike on Red Cup Day
Hotel and Travel News
- Google Maps Introduces Collaborative Trip Planning Tools
- Economic Challenges to Impact US Hotel Performance till 2024
- Dust Poses Biggest Challenge for Middle Eastern Airlines
- WTM London 2023 Witnesses 22% Surge in Attendance
- UK Travellers Focus on Flight-Free and Rail Trips
Let’s Check In!
Instagram Retires Guides Next Month
Instagram has announced the end of “Guides” on December 15th. Guides will be converted into collections after this date.
Launched in 2020, Guides featured explainers and image collections with short text descriptions to showcase themed content in an interactive, engaging way.
The decision to drop Guides indicates the limited popularity of this format on Instagram.
What a shame; this was one of my favourite features on Instagram!
If you had Guides in your strategy, best change course – as with most other channels, short-form vertical video dominates, so experiment with Reels instead of Guides.
For curated collections, consider a Pinterest account – I’ve recently relaunched my Pinterest account – you can expect seasonal campaign collections, lookbooks and trending food and drink. Follow me here https://www.pinterest.co.uk/askdawngribble
Are you on Pinterest? Drop your handle in the comments so I can follow you.
Google Search Unveils Hidden Gems
Search engine giant Google has implemented ranking improvements that highlight personal insights and experiences from social media, blogs, and forums.
While initially announced as part of a future core update, these “hidden gems” are now integrated into Google’s core ranking system to elevate authentic and helpful content.
The new ranking system may impact the visibility of websites in search results, potentially showcasing more forum posts, social media content, blog posts, and similar sources.
Do you know how your brand appears online to others? A brand audit can help make sure you’re in control of your reputation!
TikTok Launches Mobile Measurement Feature
TikTok has unveiled its Self-Attributing Network (SAN) integration, offering advertisers enhanced insights into the impact of their ads on the platform. The update includes a customised attribution window on TikTok Ads Manager and access to engaged view-through attribution (EVTA), which measures conversions resulting from six-second video views.
The integration complements traditional mobile measurement partner (MMP) analysis, providing a more comprehensive perspective on conversion sources and touchpoints.
For non-marketers, this means that the new system will help hospitality brands understand more clearly where their paying customers are coming from and what drives them to purchase.
The new insights will act as a map that shows all the different paths people take to buy something after seeing an ad on TikTok, which will be very useful in planning your 2024 marketing campaigns.
Meta’s Ad-Free Subscription Limits Ad Running
Meta’s ad-free subscription allows users to opt out of personalised ads for €9.99 per month. However, it also comes with significant ad-running restrictions for their accounts and linked Pages.
Meta’s new ad-free subscription option eliminates ads from users’ feeds. But, it also restricts their ability to run ads or boost posts for their Instagram or Facebook accounts. This limitation extends to linked Pages and prevents participation in partnership ads, monetisation with Ads on Reels, and in-stream ads.
Users can still run ads for a linked Facebook Page as long as their Instagram account is not signed up for the ad-free option.
Should Meta offer a more flexible ad-free subscription option that allows users to opt out of personalised ads without imposing significant restrictions on running ads and boosting posts?
Snapchatters Are the Happiest Social Users
An interesting new study from Mindshare’s Neurolabs and Alter Agents shows that Snapchat helps create a joyful and connected space for close friends and family.
Snapchat outperforms its competitors in making users feel more connected, happy, and creative, resulting in better brand recommendations and higher purchase intent, with ads on the platform leading to 1.6x higher levels of engagement.
Researchers discovered that Snapchatters experienced genuine happiness and increased engagement while using the platform, leading to positive brand outcomes. The ads were perceived as 1.2x more positive and 1.3x more playful than those on other social apps.
Good news for brands that want to impact the world positively!
Restaurant and F&B News
Chick-fil-A Tests Drone Delivery
A Chick-fil-A restaurant in Florida is testing drone delivery within a 1.2-mile radius, with plans to expand to a 2-mile radius soon.
The drone delivery service is available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with no delivery fees for a limited time. The company is also experimenting with autonomous delivery robots at a restaurant in Austin, Texas, aiming to enhance operations, reduce delivery costs, and provide consistency.
Customers say they are happy with the “super fast” delivery and the “perfect hotness” of the food.
Are you planning to offer drone delivery services in your city?
Pub Implements Meters for Outdoor Heater Charges
Hydes Bar Norton in Stockton-on-Tees, UK, has implemented £1 token meters for its outdoor heaters due to drastically increased energy charges, now two and a half times higher than last year.
Patrons can pay £1 per 30 minutes to use the heaters via tokens available at the bar. The pub shared the decision via its Facebook page, stating that the alternative to token meters would have been a blanket increase in drink prices.
This move comes amidst growing operational costs for UK hospitality venues.
Would you pay to use an outdoor heater? Let me know in the comments
Pernod Ricard Sells Burger Sommelier
Pernod Ricard UK recently announced the launch of the Greasy Fingers wine range, which offers the perfect wine pairing for gourmet fast food experiences.
The collection includes the Greasy Fingers Luscious Red 2022, a blend of Grenache and Shiraz, and the Greasy Fingers Big Buttery Chardonnay 2022. Priced at £10, these wines will be available at major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Asda.
To promote the launch, the company is seeking a “burger sommelier” who will create two signature burger recipes to pair with Greasy Fingers wines to be available on Uber Eats.
Expect to see more creative pairings across categories in 2024
Pizza Hut Introduces Seasoning Set
Pizza Hut has partnered with the LA-based pop-up Chain to release the “Collectible Seasoning Duet Box Set,” a collaboration featuring two new spice blends and a limited-edition shaker.
The set includes Pizza Hut’s “Make it Pepperoni” Seasoning, featuring the flavours of their signature pepperoni in a vegan blend, and Chain’s “Everything Pizza Shake,” combining oregano, red pepper flake, parmesan, and umami blend in a single shake.
Penny Shaheen, Pizza Hut’s Head of Food Innovation, expressed excitement about bringing the taste of Pizza Hut to fans’ kitchens, while Chain co-founder Nicholas Kraft is enthusiastic about the set’s ability to evoke the joy and flavours of a meal at Pizza Hut without the “crime” of stealing the shakers.
Consider collaborating with a brand that shares your audience to create a fun campaign like this. I particularly liked that they’ve made the product vegan so people can enjoy their pepperoni guilt-free!
Thousands of Starbucks Employees Strike on Red Cup Day
Thousands of Starbucks workers across over 200 U.S. stores staged a one-day strike organised by the Workers United union, coinciding with Starbucks’ Red Cup Day.
Starbucks Red Cup Day is an annual promotion where participating Starbucks stores offer free reusable red holiday cups to customers who order a handcrafted holiday beverage.
The strike aimed to highlight concerns about understaffing during promotions, with one barista expressing that the demonstration was in response to Starbucks’ reluctance to address worker issues directly.
The fifth strike since the first store unionised in 2021 shows workers’ determination to advocate for themselves despite the company’s opposition.
The strikes which coincide with the holiday campaigns are incredibly damaging to the brand.
Restaurants must prioritise fair treatment of employees, engage in open communication, and be willing to negotiate better pay, benefits, policies, and working conditions to maintain a positive brand image. As more Gen Z enter the workforce, this has never been more important.
Hotel and Travel News
Google Maps Introduces Collaborative Trip Planning Tools
Google Maps has unveiled a series of updates to enhance user experience just in time for the upcoming holiday season.
Notable improvements include smarter transit route recommendations, with the app now suggesting optimal routes based on variables like estimated arrival time, number of transfers, and trip duration.
Collaborative trip planning will become more streamlined by introducing shareable lists, allowing group members to add and vote on locations using emoji reactions.
Google Maps has implemented the ability for users to react to photos, videos, and reviews with emojis, alongside personalised “mashup” emoji suggestions based on content.
These are all updates that make Google Maps a channel to watch closely, especially with more context added to reviews, pictures and search results. This is an opportunity to connect on a much deeper level with Google users. However, you need to make sure your social response times and comms guidelines are on point and aligned with your brand identity.
Economic Challenges to Impact US Hotel Performance
US hotels have been experiencing declining leisure demand and occupancy levels, primarily due to the reopening of vacation destinations worldwide and lingering safety concerns about travelling abroad.
The past seven months have seen a decrease in occupancy levels compared to 2022, and this trend is expected to continue through the first quarter of 2024.
The midweek travel outlook is still being determined, with some companies adjusting their business travel policies to tighten budgets and meet sustainability goals. Performance gains in 2024 are expected to derive almost entirely from ADR, with a predicted year-over-year increase in RevPAR of 2.7%, according to PwC.
It’s worth noting that these forecasts are subject to change due to changing macroeconomic conditions and rising geopolitical issues.
To survive and grow, hotels need to be flexible and responsive to changes in the market. That’s why my goal is to keep you up-to-date!
Dust Poses Biggest Challenge for Middle Eastern Airlines
GE Aerospace has made significant progress in developing a special dust recipe to combat the wear and tear caused by dust particles on jet engines, particularly in dusty regions like the Middle East, China, and northern Africa.
The company has spent years creating its proprietary dust to replicate real-world conditions in research labs and has successfully deciphered the science behind it. As a result, they have implemented special dust durability fixes, including improved turbine blades, in their LEAP engines.
Their success in simulating real-world dust conditions and implementing improved turbine blades signifies a significant milestone in combating the impact of dust on jet engines.
Who knew dust could be so interesting? (apart from geologists and forensic scientists…and probably a lot more people than I realise)
WTM London 2023 Witnesses 22% Surge in Attendance
World Travel Market London 2023 experienced a remarkable 22% surge in attendance, with 43k participants, including 3.8k exhibitors and 4.6k qualified buyers.
Notable highlights encompassed the exclusive WTM Global Travel Report, the Media Summit and Influencers’ Programme, and the debut of 3 new stages – Discover, Elevate, and Innovate.
Key announcements featured significant deals, such as the partnership between Jet2.com and the Moroccan National Tourism Office and discussions on sustainability, diversity, and inclusion.
The surge in attendance signals a strong recovery for the travel industry.
But the industry has to deal with a lot of challenges, too, including rising costs and staffing shortages.
Prospects look good, but market dynamics are changing, so we have to keep innovating.
Focus on Flight-Free and Rail Travel
A recent survey by InsureandGo revealed a significant shift in the holiday preferences of UK travellers, with 77% more likely to consider eco-friendly holidays compared to a decade ago.
24% are open to flight-free holidays, and 23% are inclined toward rail travel, reflecting a growing preference for sustainable options.
The report also highlights a surge in interest in volunteering holidays, particularly among travellers under 40, where 14% are open to this option, indicating a broader willingness to embrace sustainable and immersive travel experiences.
Adapting to these changing travel preferences means offering sustainable and responsible travel options, communicating their efforts transparently, and aligning their services with the values of modern, conscious travellers.
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
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Last Updated on 16 January 2024 by Dawn Gribble