Meet Daniel, a hospitality industry expert with over 17 years of experience, having worked his way up from a kitchen porter to Head of Digital Marketing for Young’s. Now offering his services as a freelancer and consultant, Daniel believes that digital marketing plays a crucial role in creating unique guest experiences. He also shares his unpopular opinion on larger agencies and non-industry-specific agencies, emphasising the importance of finding the right partners. With a focus on the modern customer journey, Daniel explains the value of influencer marketing in building awareness and reputation and emphasises the need for a disciplined approach to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. Finally, he shares his favourite marketing tool and highlights the importance of an omnichannel strategy and the role of Facebook and Instagram in generating traffic and awareness. Check out the Q&A below
1. Can you tell us about yourself (background, current position)?
I’ve spent my whole 17-year career in the hospitality industry. I started out as a kitchen porter whilst at college and most recently worked as Head of Digital Marketing for Young’s.
I believe hospitality is all about the experience and as digital marketers we play an incredibly important role in helping create a unique experience for each guest. Digital marketing is essential for hospitality – we find the guest, convert the guest and retain the guest.
I now offer my experience and expertise as a freelancer and consultant. Or I can also offer a cost-effective alternative to hiring an agency; where I strategise and execute where appropriate and also use other incredibly talented and cost-effective freelancers to keep budgets lower and ROI higher.
2. What is one of your unpopular opinions about hospitality marketing?
Disclaimer: I know a selection of agencies that are great. I’m not talking about all of them!
I’m not the biggest fan of larger agencies/non-industry-specific agencies. I’ve worked with a whole host of different agencies and the number of times I’ve been underwhelmed by the overall quality of the team – from a strategy and execution point of view. And then you couple that with their limited understanding of hospitality, and it can be a terrible partnership. And it’s normally not the agency’s fault - it’s not from a lack of trying, it was just a poor decision to hire them.
An agency should wow you, by providing a concise plan and clear guidance, but I’ve witnessed times when you end up as the guide and they just become an expensive resource.
3. What role do you think influencers have to play within hospitality?
I take my clients and would-be clients through a complimentary review/ audit of their modern customer journey. It breaks down how well they are performing at each step. Those steps are: Awareness, Findability, Reputation, Conversion, Experience, Advocacy, and loyalty.
You need to have the right tools in the right areas to ensure you are pushing customers to the next step of the funnel... Influencers are often underutilised in two important areas:
1. Awareness: Where guests are not looking for a restaurant yet, but you need to be in their thought process – so when they do – you’re one of their handful of choices. Having a steady flow of well-placed influencers who are providing positive reviews for your establishment is going to ensure you are front and centre to the customer when they are looking for their next experience.
2. Reputation & advocacy: two areas that can often be neglected within hospitality. You can make fantastic campaigns, with fantastic content, but if the customer doesn’t see enough trust in the quality of experience – they are never going to convert. Influencers are another way of building trust, it’s another digital version of word of mouth.. and we all know the importance of that.
4. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest digital marketing trends and techniques?
You need to be disciplined and keep reading, watching and listening as much as possible. Ensure it’s from a selection of different sources and industries. But I’ve also found too many colleagues and contacts that are always looking for the next big thing! The home run! I’m a big believer in just continuously getting better, bit by bit. Execute, analyse, learn and evolve.
5. Your favourite marketing tool and why?
Acteol – it’s the market-leading CRM that allows you to take a personalisation first approach to your communications. The data it collects and gives you to analyse makes it simple to make pivots on campaigns and to help generate ideas for further campaigns.
6. What innovative techniques have you used to promote your business/client’s business?
Building and executing an omnichannel strategy can help lift campaigns and your overall brand positioning. Hospitality is about the experience, and in this digital age, the customer’s experience starts long before and ends way after they pay their bill. You need to ensure every digital touchpoint adds positivity to their overall journey.
7. Which is the most important social media platform for your business and why?
Facebook for generating traffic via Paid Social – getting the right content in front of the right audience on Facebook can generate good quality traffic to your website. It can be a gold mine.
Instagram for awareness and conversion – Instagram is your shop window to the world. Make your content engaging and you’ll get yourself in front of new customers. Make your grid visually appealing and you will help convert new visitors.
As mentioned in his Q&A Daniel offers his services as a freelancer or consultant. Or he is a cost-effective alternative to a digital marketing agency for pubs & restaurants. Get in touch and he’ll happily provide a complimentary review/ audit of your customer journey.