Hospitality is all about creating, developing, and sustaining long-lasting relationships with your customers. With the coronavirus pandemic still spreading in certain areas, and the industry continuing to be impacted, how are nightclubs and bars supposed to maintain these bonds? The answer: engage with your guests, and do so constantly. No matter which state you're in – back up and running, preparing to open, or still in a waiting period – it's key to not lose sight of the relationships you worked so hard to build. Use these marketing tactics to keep hospitality at the forefront of your business while reinforcing the connection between you and your patrons – before, during, and after COVID-19.
1) Keep an active social media presence
In order to convey marketing messaging, owners and operators have a wide range of options to choose from. According to SmartBrief, though, the one they use the most is social media – with over half opting for that outlet, followed by email lists (32%), loyalty programs (31%), and traditional advertising (30%). Given the numbers, there's no reason to slow your social media efforts just because your venue isn't open. Avoid the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality and actively engage with your followers online.
These days, standing apart from the pack takes more than just organic posts on Instagram or Facebook. Should your budget allow for it, use this time to build out a more advanced paid social strategy that aligns with the behaviors of your target market. If not, experiment with new channels like TikTok, which has exploded in recent months. This platform alone presents itself as an opportunity to connect with your current audience in a unique way while capturing an entirely new one.
Not sure what to post? Curating content after your venue has paused services can be challenging, but it's certainly not impossible. Many venues are staying in the heads of their customers by sharing drink recipes (yes, even those secret ones) or hosting signature cocktail tutorials courtesy of their most beloved bartenders. Others are taking trips down memory lane with highlight-reel videos and images from past popular nights – a steady reminder of what's to someday come.
Holding contests and giveaways is another effective tool, as this type of shareable content allows for the word to spread quickly without lifting a finger or spending a dime. During the month of April, as an example, TablelistPro venue partner Rockwell Miami held a "birthday celebration giveaway," where one follower was chosen every Friday to win a night out at Rockwell with six friends once the club reopens. To be eligible, entrants had to follow Rockwell, repost their Instagram photo using the hashtag #RockwellWithUs, and tag six friends.
When the time comes, take your followers through a journey to your grand reopening, and create a countdown campaign that generates buzz and excitement. If you made renovations to your space, updated your menu, or added new drink specials, promote each of these on social media. If there were ever a time to let your creative juices flow, it's now.
2) Host live music streams or benefit shows
After a significant spark in Zoom happy hours and Instagram Live broadcasts toward the beginning of quarantine, many in the nightlife industry have adopted a similar method to keep their own customers engaged. Venue operators know that millions of people are still stuck at home, desperate for entertainment, so they've hired big-name DJs to spin virtual sets or resident DJs to host digital dance parties. TablelistPro partner WALL Lounge, for instance, held a live stream on Twitch and Facebook starring the one-and-only Benny Benassi. The turnout, in celebration of Memorial Day, proved to be a great success.
More than just drawing attention to your venue while it's closed, live streams are also a way to express how much your business values hospitality. Take longtime TablelistPro client Big Night Entertainment Group as a case in point. Forced to close its entire catalog of venues in New England, the hospitality group rose to the challenge, putting its creativity and hospitality on display in a massive way. First, they established the B Strong Fund, a charitable initiative designed to support those in the Big Night family who were most in need; its owners personally contributed $100,000 into the fund. They then put together a virtual fundraiser to raise money – featuring Steve Aoki, Tritonal, Loud Luxury, and countless others – with 100% of the donations going directly to the fund. In this way, Big Night tied back to the heart of their business – hospitality – lending a hand to their own staff members while providing their customers with captivating content.
Pro tip: For an easy way to promote your virtual events like these, use TablelistPro's CRM to email your guest database and share invitations. More on that later.
3) Improve your SEO
Given these unprecedented times, some marketing teams are experiencing a lack of funds or the ability to spend on paid advertisements. Instead, they're shifting the focus to improving their search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. Optimizing your site for search can boost the traffic coming to your website, increase online reservations, build brand awareness, improve customer engagement, and lift sales. It also requires little to no costs on your end and can be done in over 34 different ways, as QuickSprout points out.
On your website:
- Use industry keywords
- Improve your page loading speed
- Produce high-quality content
- Optimize your images
- Launch a blog
- Add more than text
- Fix any broken links
- Optimize your site for mobile devices
- Properly format your page
Most importantly, revamping your site will provide your current customers with a landing spot to remain in-the-know. Ensure your hours, menus, and contact information are updated. Build trust by sharing the steps you're taking to comply with capacity limits, follow social distancing guidelines, and keep your staff members and guests safe. For even more ideas, read the TablelistPro blog post, "10 Elements Every Venue's Website Should Have."
Beyond your website:
- Add your venue to Google My Business and other online directories
- List your venue on review sites and encourage reviews
- Join Q&A sites
- Get interviewed
- Generate press
- Get other websites to link to yours
4) Utilize TablelistPro CRM
As has been proven before, nightlife venues rely on TablelistPro's comprehensive customer database to deliver key information and provide detailed reporting. From there, this can be used to supercharge your marketing efforts, provide a better guest experience, and bring profit to your business.
In anticipation of your reopening, keep your existing customers enticed by cultivating promotional campaigns tailored to specific groups of people, or even individual ones. Use the dashboard to analyze, sort, and filter unique traits like their gender, how frequently they visit, how much they spend, which day of the week they typically visit, and more. With this data, present them with free entry, drink deals, a discount on their bill, or another special experience. Automate marketing on their birthday or the anniversary of their first visit that encourages them to rebook. Share promotions, discounts, and specials that will incentivize them to return and convert back into repeat customers after not having visited for so long.
Once your venue does reopen, and you win back your clients, you'll have everything you need to maintain those one-on-one relationships. Whether they're a frequent visitor or big spender, their special connection with a staff member (e.g. "friends with the owner"), their favorite bottle girls, or their preferred liquor choices – you'll never lose sight of this information, as it's accessible in TablelistPro's CRM database. Every staff member will then be equipped to fulfill their duty of providing the best service possible.
Along with CRM, your TablelistPro subscription includes several sales tools that, together, will help you see sales and bounce back post-COVID including:
- Instant booking widgets
- Sales tracking links
- Payment links
- Customer Chat
- Fast Pass
Any current client who would like a quick training session to review these features can reach out to a TablelistPro representative at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team promises to do anything we can to help your business not only recover post-COVID but also flourish thereafter.
If you're not a TablelistPro partner but would like to learn more, schedule a discovery call, or set up a complimentary demo, please reach out to us via email or through the live chat function on tablelistpro.com.