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Home » Hotel and restaurant websites: how to win the digital food dollar

Hotel and restaurant websites: how to win the digital food dollar

    Is your hotel website or restaurant online ordering system competing for takeaway food, or home delivered options? Authoritative research reveals what you need to do to win.

    Competing For The Food Dollar

    A post-lockdown bounce has been great for many hotel restaurants and bistros but it’s also true that Covid-19 has accelerated the take-up of home delivered takeaway food. This means more competition for the food dollar.

    Google enlisted research company Kantar TNS to investigate how Australians are making decisions amongst a wide array of options. Some of this research can help shape how hotels market their food offerings.

    AHA|SA silver sponsor and digital solutions provider, Boylen, dissected the findings.

    The first three key points:

    1. People are searching with the term “food near me” – it has risen by grown 97% in a year
    2. Most searches are from a phone
    3. It’s an impulse purchase, with most decisions made within an hour.

    Boylen says this means:

    • You need to rank for the right search terms on Google, Bing etc
    • If your patrons hate the phone version of your website, imagine what potential new customers think! Give people a five-star phone experience.
    • If you advertise, aim for the times when demand is high because people make decisions “in the moment”. The downside is that there will be fierce competition for Google Ads in these timeslots, against the likes of KFC, McDonald’s, Domino’s etc – so the price of the keywords will be higher. You may need some expert advice to keep your costs down, without reducing impact.

    Google says:“In those impulsive moments of intent, digital-first strategies and seamless online experiences will be crucial for brands to stay top-of-mind with hungry consumers.”

    Three more findings:

    1. People want food ordering to be a simple digital experience. That’s why people use food delivery apps like UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog.
    2. The younger the user, the more likely they are to use on of these apps. The older they are, the better chance you have of them booking direct with your venue.
    3. Loyalty is low for people who use apps.

    Boylen says this means:

    • Focus considerable attention on how people place a digital order with you. It needs to be a Formula One car, not your uncle’s old Holden.
    • For direct bookings, have at least one campaign running that aims at people aged over XX.
    • You have to fight for repeat business
    • You have a chance to woo customers away from the takeaway outlets near you

    Google says:“Give Aussies a reason to order directly from your restaurant — a fast, well-designed website and app with easy navigation works wonders — and promotions and loyalty programs are a great way to encourage return visits.”

    Ranking well for generic searches is critical

    1. People say they know what they want – but in reality, most of them don’t. 61% of searches are generic and this continues to grow.

    Boylen says this means:

    • You need to know what the relevant generic keywords are (don’t guess)
    • Focus your spend on these search terms.
    • If that becomes too expensive (see the next section), look for secondary generic search terms that give you a good return on investment.

    Google says:“When Aussies turn to search, their attention — and appetites — are up for grabs. In fact, one in five undecided Aussies discovered a new food brand they hadn’t previously considered while searching for ideas.”

    Direct orders need to be slick.

    1. People are impatient. They choose apps like UberEats because they are fast and easy to use.
    2. Apps for individual hotels and restaurants are often slower and clunkier, and therefore they are used less frequently.

    Boylen says this means:

    • If your ordering function is slow, you will lose customers.
    • Benchmark yourself against the market leader for a store app – it’s Domino’s.
    • Because most people order via mobile, use the likes of Accelerated Mobile Pages  and Progressive Web Apps You will need your web development company to action this for you.

    Google says:“Invest in solutions that make online ordering as fast and smooth as possible.”

    Interested in reading more?

    The report is entitled The Path To Purchase For Quick-Service Restaurants: How Mobile And Digital Technology Are Reshaping Aussies’ Meal Times.

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