Sometimes, the stars align and a hospitality venue thrives quickly and organically. But, for other venues, a concerted promotional campaign might be needed to get the word out.
Promoting a venue may involve more than setting up a website and regularly posting photos on social media. There’s plenty of strategies that can be implemented to bring the community in.
Here are a few ideas that might be helpful.
1) Highlight the venue’s strengths
Before the venue starts promoting, they should figure out what they want to promote. If the venue has chic interiors, consider focusing on its space and its dine-in quality. If they offer speedy service and are in a central location, it might be worth underlining its value as a quick lunch spot with pre-orders for office workers. If the venue is targeting health-conscious clientele, emphasise the nutritional benefit of certain meals. Before spreading the word, consider the venue’s strength, and what qualities the venue wants to promote.
If a particular shopping strip is vibrant, everyone benefits. It’s likely to be in every business owner’s best interest to support each-other, and work together so all parties achieve collective success. Consider highlighting neighbouring businesses on social media, displaying their posters inside your venue, and asking them to reciprocate on-site and online. A café adjacent to a bakery could collaborate on a discounted deal for, say, a coffee and a croissant. There may also be an opportunity to get involved in the local chamber of commerce, or tourism drive from a trader’s association or street precinct to help promote the area. It adds to the community vibe which may encourage customers to dine at your venue, as part of a shop-local initiative.
3) Promote local produce where possible
Customers want to buy from businesses that utilise local markets, shops and suppliers, so talk about where the venue is getting their produce, and how it is being used. If so inclined, upload videos and photos on social media which discuss the buying, preparation and cooking process. It’s a great way to introduce the team, and demonstrate the care that goes into the decisions being made – from the shops to the final plate.
4) Offer targeted discounts and deals
People want to support businesses that are outward looking, and engaged in what’s happening outside their walls. A great way to reflect this is through specialised deals for specific members of the community: for example, discounts and pay-it-forward initiatives for healthcare workers, teachers, other frontline workers and vulnerable members of the community. It might also be worth considering incentivising staff to advocate for these initiatives. The goodwill generated by these deals may be the thing that wins a potential customer over.
The scope to promote a venue is basically unlimited, but it may require some lateral thinking. If possible, consider offering samples, discounts, vouchers and/or loyalty cards. Introduce a new dish or cocktail on the menu and reach out to relevant publications like Dish Cult with this information. Incorporate local art in some form, and encourage customers to tag your business on social media. Tell friends to tell their friends to tell their relatives. Keep discussing different ways to get the word out. It might be one idea, or the result of 10 that brings a line of customers outside your door.
Disclaimer: This guide is general in nature and does not take into account your individual circumstances. Before acting on any information, you should consider whether this is right for your business.