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Can Digital Get More Patrons Into Your Pub?

    As a hotel owner, it’s your never-ending challenge to get patrons through the door.

    The challenge in 2016 will be balancing your efforts between traditional marketing practices and the new wave of internet-based marketing tools. How can you use digital technologies to communicate your benefits to patrons?

    In August 2015, ShineWing Australia released Hospitality Insights Report, a collection of findings based on a survey of hoteliers and patrons across Victoria. The survey set out to answer: “What makes licensed hotels successful?” The answers they came up with might surprise you.

    The report covers a lot of ground, but it’s the top three insights you need to remember when formulating your marketing strategy in 2016.

    Insight 1: Patrons care the most about customer service quality, dining experiences, and security and safety. Patrons become repeat patrons because of the food, the customer service, the atmosphere and proximity to home.

    Along with this, the survey revealed that for both gaming and F&B hotels, a patron’s primary motivation for going to the pub was to take time out from work and everyday life and spend time with family or friends.

    Insight 2: Word-of-mouth is the most effective advertising for a hotel, including online reviews, social media and apps, yet hoteliers are not utilising these mediums to their full potential.

    A hotel’s website or blog is the primary marketing channel for 91% of hoteliers, yet word-of-mouth referrals from family or friends are recalled by patrons 35% more than any other form of advertising.

    With that in mind, consider the below statistics from the report:

    • 64% of patrons researched on the internet when deciding on a venue;
    • 53% have been influenced by positive social media when deciding on a venue; and
    • 42% have been influenced to NOT attend a venue based on negative social media.

    If you are not maximising your social media presence, you are missing out on the most powerful marketing tool available to you.

    Insight 3: Patrons have no intention of staying away from pubs – but there is a disconnect between what they see as important and what publicans believe their patrons see as important.

    Those surveyed do not foresee their attendance at licenced venues declining; in fact, over 94% believe their patronage will stay the same, or increase, into 2017.

    It was a wake up call when hoteliers surveyed over-estimated the importance of private function spaces, live sports viewing, and access to pokies or the TAB in their thoughts on what patrons value. Considering the fact that most hoteliers said they were spending the majority of their time dealing with staff issues, systems and finding ways to maximise profitability, the disconnect is perhaps not that surprising.

    What can we take away from all of this? The message is clear. For marketing success in 2016:

    • Focus on providing outstanding customer service to your patrons at all levels.
    • Make better use of social media advertising and online interaction.
    • Focus on what your patrons rate as important.

    Recommended Actions

    One: When it comes to search engine optimisation and AdWords, localisation is your goal. With proximity to home a major determining factor, you want to get your website in the search results when people are looking in your area.

    Two: If you have a website, it should broadcast friendliness, a welcoming atmosphere and good food. Menus, bars and dining areas should be front and centre.

    Three: Your social media presence should be conducted to the same high standard of customer service you expect from your staff. It’s wise to seek professional help with your social media marketing, as there’s a fine line when it comes to certain types of content. Be prepared to engage with your community and deal with negative reviews.

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