Apps And The Hospitality Industry

May 10, 2013

In the UK and particularly the UK Hospitality Industry we are very slow to adopt technology in business.

WHY!

Wherever we go now we see our potential customers using their phone, tablet or laptop to conduct their business and personal life. Recent statistics tell us that mobile web traffic rose by 403% in first 9 months of 2012, 87% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone and mobile broadband subscriptions have grown annually by 45% since 2007. Our customers are all spending more time on their smart phones doing mobile banking, shopping and socialising. People are looking for and demanding easy accessibility.

The retail industry are all encouraging us to click and collect so lets join in and reap the benefits that an app can give our businesses, such as:

  • Reducing wastage
  • Improved advanced knowledge on sales
  • Opportunity to promote other areas of business
  • Growing a database
  • Target marketing for offers
  • Happy customers
  • Income through complementary advertising
  • Knowledge of customers spending patterns

Businesses in the hospitality industry that are utilising app technology are seeing significant benefits, for instance Dominoes are seeing sales of over £1m per year via mobile and with suggestive selling are seeing average spend increases of 18%.

The App can link with social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google+ and Four Square to further promote your business.

Unlike most Apps the App system I work with allows access to the control panel for its users. This access enables menus to be updated, features can be added or removed, offers and daily deals can be promoted all whenever the business wishes to do so. It is also allows direct access to the database so it can be utilised for marketing purposes and exclusive offers together with providing information on your customers buying patterns. This App system is also totally bespoke and uniquely branded to your business. We also work and listen to all our clients to constantly develop the App for the benefit of all.

This app is appropriate for use across all aspects of the hospitality industry  from ordering your lunch at work, booking and pre-ordering in a restaurant or pub, pre-ordering food and drink for an event, ordering room service in a hotel and also for take-aways on the high street.

Imagine being a football supporter and from your seat or before you arrive at the stadium being able to order your half time food and drink. Then either have it delivered to your seat or collect from a central point

  •  No Queuing
  •  Hassle Free
  • Increase Spends
  • Invaluable Customer Information
  • Target Marketing
  • Create a loyalty scheme without the need for customers to carry around a loyalty card
  • Reduction in cash handling with in App secure payment
  • All monies go direct to your account

The same benefits apply if you operate a staff catering facility and you make your menu available on their smartphones 24/7. It allows them to create their sandwich from your deli options at a time to suit them and then at lunchtime avoid the queuing, imagine how they will feel able to do more with their lunchtime. Also if you are in the pub and restaurant sector allowing your customers to view the menu on their smartphone, even pre-order and if desired pre-pay the benefits are enormous to you. We are also a very favorable option over the bigger app operators if you operate a take away as we ensure the money goes direct to your account and set up and order rates are very competitive.

With all of this why do you not allow your customers to carry your venue and menus around in their pocket all day. Your standard website is not optimised for viewing on the small screen of a mobile phone or tablet but your Web 2.0 site will look great on a small screen and means that you are accessible to anyone with mobile internet. People will be able to view your menu, book a table and order food in advance and all this information can be sent direct to your printer, fax, computer or as a text. Also we can enable online and in-app payment direct to you.

The information that can be provided from this software will tell you how people are using your app and therefore produce more successful target marketing and launch promotions for quiet periods. It comes complete with Google Maps so customers can easily find you. It will also link with all your social media to further inform your customers and build up loyalty by offering vouchers and special offers.

If you would like to be sent a demo app for you to visualise the benefits and explore how it will appeal to your customers contact me or visit the app page on the web site http://www.guineasassociates.com/services_mobile-apps.html


POUR YOUR OWN PINT

December 10, 2012

Imagine going into a pub, to an event, stadium or racecourse and being able to pour your own pint. Technology is everywhere controlling our World and now it will allow you to pour your own pint.

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THE FOUR KEG WALL

Pour your own Pint –The system that allows your customer to pour their own draught beer, either from a table, beer wall or mobile unit.

The ideal solution for volume businesses and customers pay for every drop of beer.

This system, new to the market can be fixed or mobile. The fixed solution is for new builds or refurbishments as beer lines need to be run to the table. The mobile is ideal for events, stadia or any volume occasion. The mobile unit holds 2 kegs and gas. The beer wall holds four kegs and gas and will therefore service more people, ideal for volume occasions like stadiums. The system works wirelessly and staff are totally in control from behind the bar or a central point. The customer purchases an i-button from the bar or cash point and this allows them to pour beer to value on the i-button. The system has a number of advantages including:

  • Instantly increases profitability as customer pays for every drop of beer dispensed
  • It saves time and allows staff to focus on other areas
  • It has proven success in where it has been installed with customers booking beer tables in advance when there is a major event
  • The screen on beer pump allows customer to order other drinks and food directly from table
  • Mobile units provide a solution to volume environments or in temporary situations such as marquees.

8 Tablet 2

A TABLE TOP UNIT COMPLETE WITH TABLET

The draught beer unit above shows the beer taps complete with tablet which can be used for ordering food, alternative drinks and would connect to the tills so the orders can be bought to the table. The tablet can also be used for advertising to improve the pay back or advertise future events and menu items.

This technology has use throughout the hospitality industry and has tremendous appeal to the customer. Imagine being able to book your own beer table in your pub to watch a major event on the big screen or going to that major event and not having to queue for a pint.

The capital outlay is offset by a number of factors including it allows you to serve more beer, there is no waste and you can sell advertising space on the tablet.

If this is of interest please contact me for further details


ENHANCING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

March 27, 2012

In looking at enhancing our customer experience we never have to lose sight of the fact that the customer is King. In today’s very competitive market place it’s those businesses that put themselves out for their customer and also train this philosophy into all their team that succeed, to help your team get on board with this why not offer them an incentive for exceptional customer service. The cost of getting new customers is a big cost to which you also need to allocate time and resource to do this all of which can be better utilised in more effective ways. How do we keep our customers, there are a number of key things we need to consider.

COMMUNICATION

Ensure you maintain regular communication with your customers and the most effective way of doing this is by email. Firstly we need to ensure that we capture all our customers email addresses and then when we email them ensure it is personal to them, you know how you feel when you receive a personalised email. This regular email does not always have to sell them something just keep them informed of what’s happening, so that when they do want to use your service or buy one of your products you are at the forefront of their mind. Also actively encourage customer feedback with a customer comment book, satisfaction surveys and then when you receive useful comments act upon it and let the customer see that you have taken their advice.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Look at the products and services you offer and build up additional products and services to offer your customers. If you don’t have any products or services further to offer look at companies in a similar market place and set up a joint venture to extend your offer to these existing companies, remember there is more profit from a relationship with an existing customer. Customers always want to know what is in it for them, what benefits can they receive, so look to add perceived value by adding something on, a great example is Sunday newspapers giving away free CDs/DVDs which customers perceive as to having a value of about ten times the value of the paper, but to the paper it is very little cost.

MARKETING

All forms of communication with your customers, be it websites, correspondence, emails, advertising, menus or price lists reflect on your business so regularly take a ruthless look at these and ensure they are portraying the correct image. Ensure in all your marketing material you focus on the benefits to your customers, not the features of the company, tell them how you can add value to them. The majority of our customers are coming to us via the internet so use this and your emarketing effectively, ensuring that you use the opportunities to capture email addresses. One of the most effective ways of achieving this is by offering something free. We should all look at turning our businesses into multi level marketing machines. Advertising is very expensive and not as effective as the marketing tools we all have already at our fingertips. We can also capture further customer information by asking them what they think of our services in the form of customer satisfaction questionnaires and when we receive this feedback we should always take all comments on board in our journey to improve quality and exceed customer expectations. Also look at the major high street retailers and how they capture all the information about our shopping habits on their store cards and then target us with specific offers why not offer your customers a loyalty card. It is estimated that 68% of people leave a business because of indifference, correspond regularly with your customers. There is a golden rule in marketing that will make you wealthy, once you have someone’s details keep on following up until they buy, die or tell you to stop.

STAFF

The people who most represent our business in focusing on the customer are our staff and used correctly they can add significant value, so keep them informed and involve them, they can be a source of valuable information. Look at their communication methods and skills and ensure like your marketing material they are portraying a positive message. It is your staff that can upsell to your customers. Look at the fast food chains who are the greatest exploiters of upselling, by asking at every transaction is that large or super and of this upsell 85% is profit and though a single transaction does not offer a lot, do it a million times a day and it makes a very large difference. Also allow your team to be involved in the business, hold regular brainstorming sessions, you will be amazed where some of the best ideas come from. If the staff are involved in the business and are made to feel part of the decision process, then you will see return in their loyalty and effort in moving the business forward. Always Remember

Together

Everyone

Achieves

More


USE YOUTUBE TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS

March 1, 2012

WHY HAVEN’T YOU CONSIDERED UTILISING YOUTUBE FOR BUSINESS

YouTube was founded in 2005 and it describes itself as a platform which allows billions of people to watch and share originally created videos. It provides a forum for people to connect, inform and inspire others across the globe. YouTube is now a subsidiary of Google and has 800 million registered users and only last month it announced that it currently has four billion video views a day!!

For business YouTube can be utilised as a highly effective tool to share knowledge, market your products and connect with actual and potential customers and colleagues. It will help to build more personal relationships with your client base and it does not require a big budget, just a video camera, creativity and time to plan. Let’s highlight some of the uses for YouTube in your business:

  • Upload recordings of presentations to demonstrate public speaking skills
  • Create videos of valuable tips for your customers
  • Interview an expert
  • Record a meeting to share with employees and shareholders
  • Advertise your YouTube channel in all of your marketing materials
  • Explain your product or service
  • Utilise it as an active website
  • Introduce your team
  • Video your venue/premises

The key to ensuring that your video is a success and portrays the correct message is in the planning; do not try to short cut this as it will surely back fire on you. Your clip needs to inform, educate and entertain your audience. Prior to starting your video consider these key points:

  • Good content – ensure that you engage with your audience so they want to share the clip with their friends
  • Plan ahead – start with a clear vision of what you want to achieve and your target audience. Planning will save time and energy and ensure better content
  • Don’t think like it should be a commercial. It should be a soft sell, entertaining viewers, offering valuable information and marketing indirectly
  • It needs to be a high quality production as this will reflect on your business
  • Keep it short and precise and under two to three minutes as YouTube viewers tend to have a short attention span. Longer content can be broken down into a number of clips
  • Attracting traffic to your video works in the same way as your website so the title and summary to your video has to utilise search engine optimisation (SEO). When deciding on the title and headline ensure you select words and phrases that when potential customers are searching online the search engines decide that your video is the best match.

Once you have uploaded your video don’t just forget it invest time and energy in promoting it. You should post links to your video everywhere including your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, tweet about it, company stationery, email signature and all your marketing material.

You also need to ensure that you are achieving a return on investment and YouTube has very good analytical and demographic information so review this to check that your video is reaching the write audience and if not correct it to maximise return.

 


DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS?

February 10, 2012

DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS?

If the answer is no I am sure your competitors are. What do I mean by social media, well as opposed to reading a newspaper or listening to views, with social media you are able to interact with the website and interact with other visitors to the site, it is a two way street that allows you to communicate with your customers.

Did you know that:-

  • twitter averages more than 40 million tweets per day, MySpace has more than 250 million subscribers and on Facebook there are over 600 million searches and 30 billion page views a month.

The use of social media might not appeal to all of us, that’s not what matters it’s what our customers want and it is far more effective than direct advertising and it can be self generating if it creates interest and causes comments from your followers.

So what are the most effective, it really depends which market you want to target, generally if you want to aim at a younger market then Facebook is the best, if you want to target a business market then LinkedIn would be a better option. You are able to create company pages on both options and you can post regular news, offers, job opportunities and company background and all at no cost. There are many companies that take the opportunity very seriously and pay more focus to developing these pages than their websites and employ one of the many experts in Social Media Marketing, take a look at Chessington World of Adventure on Facebook as an example of what I mean.

In person, or even in one-on-one e-mail, there is a practical limit to how many people you can meaningfully connect with in a given amount of time. But in an online community or weblog, you can carry on public conversations, potentially reaching hundreds or even thousands of people with the same effort as a single e-mail. For conversations that do not need to be confidential, such as a discussion of market trends or of companies and products in a particular market segment, a public discussion will increase visibility for your company and provide additional assistance in identifying your potential partners and connecting with them. Your entire network becomes a part-time business development staff for your company.

Networking online allows you to reach more people with less effort; to more quickly identify and connect with the right people; and to reduce travel time and expense, both local and long-distance. You do not need to attend business networking meetings to extend your database it’s just a click away so start using these resources now.


UTILISING FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS

February 3, 2012

Facebook is the giant of social media providing you with access to over 400 million potential customers, which is growing every day. It is utilised to phenomenal success by all the large brands, the most successful of which is Starbucks who have more than 5.5 million fans. All the major brands see it as a major opportunity to interact with customers, but it can also work for smaller organisations, you just need to buy into the ideals and that means embracing engagement and interaction. Do not expect immediate overnight success, it will take time, so start small with asking family and friends to sign up to your page.

How do we get started? Facebook is a simple free product for promoting your business, start by creating a page. The first step is to choose a page title, it needs to be memorable and reflect your business, so use your business name and make it easy for your customers to find you. When you have created your page, you now need to personalise it to your business:

Start by adding a photo which reflects your business, it may be a logo, sign from outside your business or a photo of business frontage.

  • Location- make sure customers know where your business is
  • Apps – Your page can be enhanced with customised apps that will allow you to share your menu, You Tube Clips, photos and details of forthcoming events
  • Wall posts – Tell your potential and existing customers what is happening in your business, special offers, new items and events, this allows your friends to comment and share with their friends providing the potential to increase your customer base

When you add your profile picture, you need to be aware that this will be utilised as the icon that appears next to all your posts. Therefore you need to ensure that when your profile picture is reduced it reflects good visual branding, to do this hover your mouse over profile picture and click on “change picture” that appears in right hand corner of the image, then click edit thumbnail, click and drag image until it looks good then click save. See example posting from my business page below:

 This simple to prepare delicious healthy dish can be served on its own or with mixed salad leaves or lightly cooked vegetables. Ingredients 2 Salmon fillets approx 120g each 100g Couscous Juice of half a lemon Zest of half a lemon, shredded small clove of……

The next step is to start talking to your customers; Facebook users want interaction and attention.  You need to post to your page regular:

  • Photos from events
  • Details about new products, forthcoming events
  • Utilise it as free way to conduct market research, you can poll your customers and gauge interaction before implementing a new idea
  • Offer benefits and discounts exclusively to Facebook followers
  • Allow time each day to check your page so that you can respond to any comments

Having implemented all of the above you will begin to see the benefits, remember it will not be an immediate overnight success, it will take time, but it will be rewarding. We now need to look at how we can expand the reach of our page:

  • Tell your customers who come into your business to “Like us on Facebook” by displaying signs
  • Promote your page by adding a link to all your business stationery, flyers, business cards and email signature
  • You can advertise on Facebook and this can be marketed directly to Facebook users in your close proximity
  • Encourage your Facebook followers to tell their friends about your business

If you would like to see how some business utilise Facebook check out the pages for Alton Towers and McDonalds, but also check out your local competitors and see what they are doing.

 WHAT ADVERTISING CAN GIVE YOU ACCESS TO ALL THESE

 POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS FOR FREE!!


WHY AND HOW TO USE TWITTER IN YOUR BUSINESS

January 16, 2012

Twitter is a social networking service that keeps your followers informed of what’s new in succinct to the point messages of 140 characters maximum. These messages can also be linked to your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles so they appear simultaneously on these networks.

It is a proven fact that news can travel fast around the globe once posted on Twitter. Twitter has been responsible for breaking many news stories. For instance Iran, when public protested about the 2009 elections the BBC and CNN were forced to get their updates from Twitter. It can be utilised for similar affect with regard to your business, you can keep people informed of latest offers, new products, latest recipes and your customers will utilise it to broadcast an excellent or poor experience.

Why should you utilise this media phenomenon, here are some facts:-

  • Twitter has over 300 million registered users
  • Approximately 450,000 new users register each day
  • There are 200 million tweets sent each day
  • 40% of active users utilise their phone to tweet
  • The fastest growing age group of users is 35 – 45 year olds

Twitter can help your business in a number of ways:-

  • It creates awareness of your business
  • It can be utilised to develop customer loyalty
  • It drives traffic to your website
  • It provides the opportunity for marketing campaigns to reach a far wider audience
  • Promotes products and services
  • Networks with customers and potential customers
  • Monitor trends, competitors and new products
  • Promotes events
  • Recruitment

Twitter allows you to maintain regular contact with your customers and interact with them and you have the opportunity to manage your reputation by quickly responding to an adverse comment and turning this round.

If you are not utilising Twitter, take a look because your competitors are and they are taking advantage so seize the opportunity and become part of this. It also provides you the opportunity to see what your competitors are doing.

If you are not on Twitter visit www.twitter.com and sign up. You have 15 characters for your user id, so ensure this reflects your business and allows your customers to find you. Ensure you add a photograph to your profile to personalise your account and your website address to drive traffic. Once you have set up your account then find people to follow and read the bio of those who follow you and decide if to follow them. Use Twitter to share your knowledge, ask questions, promote other businesses and interact. Once you start to tweet set aside time to regularly update your followers, it doesn’t always have to be about business, share all useful information. The best time to grab people’s attention is to tweet in the afternoon and more specifically mid afternoon on a Friday.

A useful tool in Twitter is hash tags #, which is equivalent of the Meta tags utilised on your website, which are picked up by the search engine spiders and push your website to the top of the search lists. If you want your message to be picked up by someone interested in what you are saying add hash tag # prior to the key word, i.e. #special offer.

Once you have signed up add your Twitter ID to email signature, business cards and website, download Twitter application to your phone and email people to tell them you are on Twitter.

If you need to know more about Twitter there are social media experts in your area that can provide you with this information, search them out on the web.


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