In this week’s Hospitality Highlights Newsletter
Top Marketing News
- TikTok Emerges as the Fastest-Growing Social Platform
- Google Tests AI Tools in Maps
- Google Highlights TikTok Videos in Featured Snippets
- Yelp Introduces New AI Features
- Instacart Under Fire for Using AI Images of Food
Restaurant and F&B News
- Google to Scale Back Its Restaurant Ordering Feature
- Starbucks to Capitalise on Record Loyalty Membership with App Improvements
- IHOP Targets Frequency with New Pancake of the Month Promotion
- Prosecco DOC Campaign Receives Backlash
- Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’ Valentine’s Day Campaign Unveiled
Hotel and Travel News
- TripAdvisor Recognises Sustainable Destinations
- Hilton Expands Messaging in Response to Changing Traveller Communication
- Japan Launches New Visa for Digital Nomads
- EasyJet Announces ‘Grans Go Free’ Deal on Holidays to Europe
- Hyatt Invites Guests to “Be More Here”
Let’s Check In!
TikTok Emerges as the Fastest-Growing Social Platform
The Pew Research Center‘s survey of adult social media usage reveals YouTube’s continued dominance and the rapid growth of TikTok as the fastest-growing platform.
With 83% of adults using YouTube and a 33% surge in TikTok usage, these platforms are essential for marketers in the hospitality industry. Platforms like LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Snapchat are gaining traction among 40- to 49-year-olds, presenting new marketing opportunities to reach this demographic.
For hotels and restaurants, this survey shows how important it is to have a presence on both video platforms. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you’re in hospitality, you need to be on TikTok!
Google Tests AI Tools in Maps
Google is testing generative AI tools in Maps, which allow users to use natural language to discover new places to visit and eat. The AI analyses information about millions of places and community insights to provide personalised recommendations in a matter of seconds.
Users can ask for specific or broad options, refine their search results with follow-up questions, and get recommendations that match their preferences. While the feature is currently limited to US users and select areas, Google aims to expand its availability based on early feedback.
Is your Google listing up-to-date? If not, then it’s time to optimise your pages.
Google Highlights TikTok Videos in Featured Snippets
Google recently began featuring TikTok videos in its search results, particularly in featured snippets and Search Generative Experience (SGE).
While TikTok’s status as a search engine continues to be debated, it’s clear that many users, especially Gen Z, use the app for searching. As a result, businesses in the hospitality industry must recognise the potential impact of TikTok as a search platform and ensure that their marketing strategies take this into account.
TikTok plays a key role in the awareness and interest phases of the hospitality buyer journey with its blend of entertaining videos and Live Q&A sessions. Now that TikTok has started to show up in search results, make sure you’re using keyword-rich descriptions to boost your discoverability.
Yelp Introduces New AI Features, Including Auto-Generated Business Summaries
Yelp recently launched a significant app update, introducing over 20 new features focusing on AI. The update includes automatically generated business summaries and visually enhanced home feed and search experiences.
With the AI-driven home feed, users will receive more relevant content and imagery from nearby restaurants that match their previous queries. Users can now earn recognition for regularly contributing reviews. This update, initially available on iOS, suggests an impending Android release.
Business owners can benefit from AI-powered smart budgets to optimise ad spending and gain valuable market insights.
Make sure you update your Yelp listings. Are your teams prepared for AI and personalised customer expectations on social media?
Instacart Under Fire for Using AI Images of Food
Instacart has been panned for using AI-generated images for recipes and ingredients on its platform, resulting in images that customers have dubbed disturbing and unappetising.
Users have reported encountering bizarre and revolting representations of everyday food items, raising concerns about the effectiveness and appropriateness of AI image generators. Despite the company’s attempt to optimise user experience through generative AI technology, the results have been far from satisfactory.
This story serves as a reminder of the dangers of solely relying on AI to create content and why it’s so important to have human oversight in your marketing campaigns. While AI is an excellent tool for your in-house team, it’s more important than ever to have a clear strategy and expert guidance – otherwise, your efforts will join the growing mountain of mediocre AI content. In hospitality where differentiation is so important, reliance on AI could cause brand disconnect.
Restaurant and F&B News
Google to Scale Back Its Restaurant Ordering Feature
Google is scaling back its Order with Google feature, redirecting customers to third-party ordering sites or the restaurant’s website instead of allowing them to order directly via Google search or maps.
Launched in 2018, this feature aimed to make ordering food more seamless and beneficial for customers and restaurants. The search engine found that most customers prefer completing their orders on partner sites or directly with the restaurant.
From 30th June 2024, when customers click on a restaurant’s “Order” button, they will be directed to third-party sites like DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Toast or the restaurant’s website ordering page.
To take advantage of this change in direction, restaurants should prioritise the digital customer experience and path to purchase on their websites.
Starbucks to Capitalise on Record Loyalty Membership with App Improvements
Starbucks saw a significant surge in its loyalty program, with a 13% year-over-year increase. To enhance customer engagement and foster repeat visits, the company leverages its Deep Brew data analytics and AI platform to identify customer segments and then tailor personalised shopping incentives.
Plans for app improvements include features like using personal cups and providing accurate order wait times for mobile orders. An innovative pilot program with delivery provider Gopuff led to the introduction of overnight orders with delivery in about 30 minutes, expanding accessibility for all customers. This strategic move and ongoing personalisation enhancements aim to elevate customer experiences.
As customers live increasingly curated lifestyles, Starbucks continues to inspire with its personalisation strategies. How are you creating personalised moments for your customers?
IHOP Targets Frequency with New Pancake of the Month Promotion
IHOP has launched a new Pancake of the Month program, offering a rotating selection of flavours and incentives for loyalty members who try all options. The incentives include:
- Order the Pancake of the Month two or more times in a month to earn 10 PanCoins for that month.
- Order the Pancake of the Month at least once each month for the entire year and receive 100 bonus PanCoins.
The campaign begins with chocolate strawberry pancakes for February.
Frequency is critical in restaurant marketing as it directly influences customer retention and brand loyalty.
Frequency taps into the law of familiarity, the psychological principle that people tend to express a preference for things simply because they are familiar with them. Familiarity can lead to a sense of comfort and perceived trustworthiness, which in turn influences decision-making and judgments.
Offer a weekly or monthly special to keep customers coming back on a regular basis.
Prosecco DOC Campaign Receives Backlash
Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC’s “This is not Prosecco” marketing campaign in the UK has sparked controversy by criticising the packaging of Prosecco in steel kegs and aluminium cans. In one poster, a steel keg was depicted with the text: “This is not Prosecco. Do not call it Prosecco. It is a common effervescent wine”.
This has prompted a debate about the traditional image of Prosecco and the acceptance of alternative wine packaging, such as kegs and cans, with one producer saying “I think it’s incredibly shortsighted to advertise that Prosecco is not available in more sustainable packaging than heavy single-use glass bottles.”
While the campaign aimed to differentiate Prosecco as a premium product, its backlash has generated substantial publicity.
This story is a great example of how marketers must find the right blend of tradition and innovation, especially when changing how people perceive a heritage product.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts' Valentine's Day Campaign Unveiled
Krispy Kreme is celebrating Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped doughnuts, including flavours like cake batter, chocolate, and strawberry.
They also offer a special gift package called Dough-Notes Dozen, which includes the new heart-shaped doughnuts and Original Glazed doughnuts and provides space for a personal note.
Customers can order the Dough-Notes Collection for catering events and purchase Valentine’s Day gift cards online.
A great example of seasonal marketing from Krispy Kreme, the addition of the notes is a nice touch and taps into the demand for personalisation.
Hotel and Travel News
TripAdvisor Recognises Sustainable Destinations
A total of 15 cities were selected for the sustainability category in Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards. Tripadvisor analysed 67 sustainability-related terms and phrases within 300,000 reviews and considered the percentage of reviews that mentioned sustainability for each destination over the last 12 months.
“Tripadvisor’s community of global travellers is passionate about sustainability when planning trips, and we’re proud to highlight such an important category. This category helps guide people looking to travel more sustainably while recognising the efforts of global destinations committed to environmental change,” said Kristen Dalton, President of Tripadvisor.
Use Google Trends, ChatGPT and Answer the Public to explore questions people are asking about sustainability – if you don’t have this information available to customers, your competitors will gain an advantage.
Hilton Expands Messaging in Response to Changing Traveller Communication
Thousands of Hilton properties worldwide will implement Hilton’s mobile messaging platform by the end of 2024 to support the growing demand for frictionless travel and better guest engagement.
In addition to the Hilton Honors app, SMS, WhatsApp, and other messaging channels, the platform allows two-way, immediate communication between guests and hotel teams.
Guests are increasingly using Direct Messaging platforms like WhatsApp and social media for customer support and sales. Platforms are responding by introducing new features such as voice notes, CRMs and easier sharing options to encourage consumers to use them.
It’s vital for hotels to have clear communication and automation guidelines to allow guests the best digital experience, whether that’s self-serve, out-of-hours chat support or video calls with live agents.
Japan Launches New Visa for Digital Nomads
A new visa program lets digital nomads work remotely in Japan while enjoying the country’s beautiful landscapes for up to six months. With its announcement, the Immigration Services Agency aims to boost tourism and innovation by welcoming skilled professionals from overseas.
This visa is available to digital nomads with an annual income of at least ten million yen ($68,000). The program is open to citizens from 50 countries with visa waiver agreements with Japan.
To attract Digital Nomads to your venue, you should ensure the marketing mix includes messages on Extended Stay, Business Facilities, the Local Area and Wellness initiatives.
EasyJet Announces ‘Grans Go Free’ Deal on Holidays to Europe
EasyJet’s holiday wing offers “grans go free” places on European trips after research found that half of the families had never holidayed abroad with their grandparents.
The offer includes free travel to Spain, Greece, and Italy for one grandparent on the trip. Tour operators hope the deal would get Brits to take their families on holiday.
Matt Callaghan, easyJet Holidays COO, said it was proud to offer “thousands of free kids places” but also wanted “to recognise the grandparents”.
Multi-generational travel continues to trend, look at how your venue can offer entertainment for mixed-age groups and offer bulk room bookings for larger families to stay together.
Hyatt Invites Guests to “Be More Here”
Be More Here is Hyatt’s new brand platform that invites guests, members, and customers to harness the transformative power of travel and be more present.
In conjunction with new World of Hyatt loyalty program updates, the brand platform launch enables members to earn more, choose more rewards, and even gift rewards to those they love.
Laurie Blair, Vice president of global marketing for Hyatt said, “Our guests have told us that they are looking to be more present and have meaningful experiences when they travel. In trying to fit everything into our busy lives, we tend to sacrifice authentic connections – to loved ones, colleagues, and even ones’ self – resulting in a renewed need to help our guests focus on the here and now.”
With an increasing number of travellers prioritising their wellbeing, brands can differentiate themselves by providing moments of mindfulness and tranquility throughout the customer journey.
Last Updated on 19 February 2024 by Dawn Gribble