Mobile Marketing for Hospitality Businesses

Mobile Marketing for Hospitality Businesses

Mobile marketing is a fantastic way to connect with customers, especially during the pandemic. Here are four ways to leverage mobile marketing to help grow your hospitality business

By Yulia Yakunina

Consumers spend massive amounts of time on their mobile devices. In fact, as of August this year, over half of the world’s internet browsing is on mobile, compared to 45.9% on desktop. That’s a significant market to tap into, so it's no surprise that many businesses are turning specifically to mobile marketing to reach potential customers during the pandemic. Here's a look at four different ways that your hospitality business could leverage mobile marketing:

1. App-based marketing

App-based marketing could mean a variety of things. For one, it could mean building your own app, depending on if it would benefit your business. 

For instance, restaurants serving customers during the pandemic could benefit greatly from a custom app. Users would have to download it to order food, look at a contactless menu, receive discounts and promotions, or even use it as a payment method. Apps for popular coffee shops like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks also offer ways to pay ahead of time and serve as a great way to check rewards points as well. 

Essentially, these apps enhance the user experience, positively associating them with your brand and enticing them to spend more in the long-term. 

The other form of app-based marketing is to run ads on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. Instagram ads appear as the user is flipping through stories or scrolling through their feed. The right ad catches their attention and entices them to delve further. This could be to watch more videos about your business' offering or browse the social media account to learn more. 

YouTube ads can run in front of content, while Facebook and Twitter ads can appear in the user’s news feeds. In either case, you’re getting your business in front of a massive subsect of users you wouldn’t have reached with traditional web marketing. 

2. SMS marketing

SMS marketing involves messaging the user during a product launch or even just to offer them a slight discount. The point is to remind them of your business in a direct way. You can even pair this with mobile customer service - such as sending users updates on your latest offers, outlining how you've made your business covid-secure, or simply updating them on a reservation. 

There’s also an SMS method called location-based marketing, which notifies users within a certain proximity using geo-fencing. Geo-fencing is literally establishing a digital fence around your location of choice. This could be to your business or to a service your business provides. 

When a user enters that fence, they will automatically be sent a text related to the business. For example, a bar could send a 2-for-1 deal to anyone in proximity after, say 5 PM. It might text a list of that day’s special orders during the day so a potential customer could keep that in mind come dinner time.

3. QR Codes

Due largely to the current pandemic, a rising form of mobile marketing is that of QR codes. QR codes are scannable icons placed in restaurants, stores, or even in games or other digital spaces. 

A customer must scan the code with their phone and click on the corresponding link. This could send them to an app download or a website where the user interacts with the call-to-action, such as a sign-up form. A restaurant might have an outward-facing QR code banner a user can scan to see the day’s menu. Coffee shops might offer a code for special drinks or coupons to bring in customers as well.

4. Optimizing your site for mobile

While any website is technically available via a mobile device, some are quite cumbersome to navigate if they’re poorly optimized. With how often users are on their phones, it’s crucial to have a website that caters to that experience. 

Everything possible on the traditional desktop browsing platform should work on mobile as well. A user must be able to access information about your business and complete key customer journeys (such as make a reservation) from their mobile device. 

If a website is difficult to use on mobile, you run the risk of turning away customers immediately. If users can’t get what they want right away, they’ll go to someone else who can. A mobile-optimized website can trend on Google, meaning users have a higher chance of finding you via search terms. The more discoverable, the better. 

Adjusting your content 

Mobile marketing can mean big business for those in the hospitality industry, but there's a knack to getting it right. Potential customers have short attention spans, and ads need to cater to that. So, no matter which type of mobile marketing you go for, remember that short, snappy, and eye-catching advertisements, video or text, are essential. For example, businesses must distil their message into a few sentences, readable in less than thirty seconds. They can link to longer, more informative content, but the initial hook has to be brief. 

Of course, there are other ways to advertise your business on mobile. Some organizations target ads within games, while others use more direct methods. Regardless, the mobile space is massive and full of untapped potential. Businesses harnessing the power of handheld advertising are the ones that come out on top, but keep in mind that mobile isn’t everything, either. It’s meant to supplement your other advertising avenues too - it's all about knowing the best ways to connect with your specific audience.

About the Author

Yulia Yakunina is a writer in a marketing sphere and a content marketing manager at TextMagic - a business text-messaging service for sending notifications, alerts, reminders, confirmations and SMS marketing campaigns.