Crafting A Successful Hotel Or Restaurant Pre-Opening Marketing Plan

If you’re in the early planning stages of opening a new hotel or restaurant, you’re very likely mired in a trillion tiny—yet critical—details and complications. The inherent red tape in obtaining permits. The like-clockwork construction delays. The time-consuming search for a staff that can fulfill your vision. So it would be no surprise if the whole “heads in beds” mentality hasn’t hit you yet. And, though we hate to add anything more to your already full plate, you need to start promoting your property.

Ideally, you should create and launch your pre-opening marketing plan up to 18 months in advance of serving your very first guest. No need to panic if you’re already inside that time window. What’s important now is to thoughtfully strategize and begin executing a comprehensive plan that should minimally include these key elements:

Branding
First thing’s first. You need to decide “who” your hotel or restaurant is going to be. Understanding your competitors and your target audience is a good starting point in determining your unique selling proposition within the market and clearly establishing your brand. Then ask yourself, “Is this distinction compelling? Can I communicate it in a way that will motivate the guests I want to book?”

Public Relations
The good news? Publicity is free. The bad news? You need to start early. Really early. Remember that consumer and industry media have deadlines that range from one month up to one year before their publication date. But creating a buzz before your property opens is definitely worth the time and effort.

Website
Think of it this way…how do you feel if you hear about a new product or service that sounds intriguing but you can’t find their website. You immediately discredit it, right? Same theory goes for your hotel. When you’re getting your name out there, you want to be able to drive potential guests to a professionally designed site that gets them excited about your opening. Of course SEO should go hand-in-hand with this effort so your site will appear on the right search engine results pages. (But let’s not dive too deeply here. We have other blog posts dedicated to SEO.)

Social Media
Everyone has their go-to social media site for staying in the know. Use this to your advantage. Post videos of construction progress on YouTube. Showcase great photography on Instagram. Highlight fascinating content on Facebook. Tweet about your brand on Twitter. And make sure you engage in a conversation—social media shouldn’t be an “I’m going to tell you about my new hotel or restaurant and you’re just going to sit there and listen/read” vehicle.

Advertising/Direct Marketing
As opening day approaches, you’ll want to get offers into the hands of potential guests. An advertising campaign that incorporates print and digital media (including the purchase of email lists) is a great way to build your brand, target the right audience and give them the deal they need to make that reservation.

Need help developing and executing your hotel or restaurant pre-opening marketing plan? Contact HRC at
info@hrc.co.ke or +254710263910 today.

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