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Home » Are You “Ducking Great Time” or “Three Hat Fine Dining”? (Yes, it matters.)

Are You “Ducking Great Time” or “Three Hat Fine Dining”? (Yes, it matters.)

    I was on The Pickled Duck website recently and what impressed me was the cheeky tone throughout their text.

    Here’s an example that quickly tells a visitor that this venue is all about fun:

    “A place to meet on the park, enjoy a meal with friends and have a ducking great time.”

    Likewise, the new Marion Hotel website projects its attitude from the earliest words and keeps its messaging sharp and modern. Examples include:

    “Hey good lookin’! Welcome to the Marion Hotel. Let us keep you up to date with all that’s going on. Avoid FOMO. You know you want to.” (FOMO is ‘fear of missing out’.)

    Accommodation is called “Stay” and it instantly tells you about the rooms: “Quirky. Luxe. Cosy.”

    Authenticity Matters

    We call this being “authentic”. It’s an authentic tone of voice and imagery that accurately reflects what your venue is really like.

    Let’s look at the award-winning Mount Lofty House as a contrast. Compared to the first two examples, the text on the home page positions the hotel as luxury and more formal. It also provides evidence with the words “three hat fine dining restaurant”:

    “We are an iconic designer boutique hotel in the Adelaide Hills, famous for our luxury escapes, three hat fine dining restaurant, indulgent day spa experiences, conference retreats and breathtakingly beautiful weddings.”

    So the visitor knows that if you want a cool hangout, head to the Pickled Duck or Marion, but if you want a luxury escape with fine dining in-house, then motor up to Mount Lofty.

    Video Choices

    The video choices are also interesting. Mt Lofty House has
    very high production values. It’s scripted, professionally shot, uses a range of effects including slow motion and each shot
    is carefully prepared.

    By contrast, The Pickled Duck has deliberately clunky zoom as if it’s been shot by a patron, light levels are far from perfect and the food shots are a world apart from Mt Lofty’s. The visitor knows that this venue is fast, fun and a little bit funky!

    Achieving this “rough” look is a fine balancing act. The main danger is that if you miss the mark, it can come across as second rate and is a reflection of your venue.

    If you want a video that isn’t too slick, but won’t be a turn off, a professional videographer is a good investment. They can achieve the “rough look” but also give you great sound quality, make sure you get the very best angles and optimise the shots for mobile. (Hint: make sure you get all of their footage so you can use snips on social media.)

    Don’t Fake It

    When it comes to writing and recording in an authentic voice, you don’t want to fake it. That’s because when people experience your venue in the flesh, they’ll be disappointed if you have led them astray – and they won’t return.

    It’s the real-world version of click bait. The younger the audience, the more likely they are to post an aggravated review and tell friends.

    For example, The Woolshed on Hindley Street would never market its food as being of the quality of the nearby The Apothecary 1878… and vice versa. Different venues, different product, different audience.

    “The Woolshed on Hindley is a country themed pub during the day that offers great priced meals with daily specials.” Photos of burgers on boards and Mexican food in rustic bowls complete the tone.

    “Explore History – Embrace Culture – Experience Elegance.” You quickly comprehend that The Apothecary 1878 has award-winning food and it’s in an elegant setting – but the staff aren’t stuffy, they are ‘professional yet affable’.


    Understand what your hotel is projecting. Some call it their “brand”, others think of it as their pub’s personality. Are you country casual, a gastro pub, a Millennial magnet, cheeky, formal, small bar hipster? The list goes on.

    If you don’t know how to achieve the right tone, find hotel websites that match the style of your hotel and draw inspiration from them.

    As SATC Chair Andrew Bullock says, don’t be afraid to be different (“disruptive”) to achieve cut-through.

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