When business owners made their New Year’s resolutions for 2020, no one anticipated that the novel Coronavirus would wreak havoc worldwide. While the hospitality industry was gearing up for expansion and experimenting with new trends – the universe conjured up a curve-ball that dampened plans and initiated a global economic crisis. But the hospitality industry has been through crises before. Restaurants and hotels have proven that, with a little creativity and a change in strategy, businesses can still come out winners despite the odds.
As COVID-19 spreads and countries are shutting down, hotel owners and restaurateurs are looking to technology for ways to continue operating, without compromising the health of their employees or customers.
Here are 6 ways that venues can ensure business goes on as usual. Limit disruption from growing concerns and restrictions put in place by Coronavirus or any other unforeseeable obstacles.
1. Live Streaming
If the customers are restricted from visiting your premises, why not make an effort to visit them instead? We’re talking about live streaming! With just a video camera and a good internet connection on hand, you can ensure that the show goes on. From live band performances to pub quiz nights, you can bring the entertainment to the comfort of your customers’ own confines.
Most social media platforms give you the option to stream events as they are happening or you could even run the stream from your website if you add this functionality. As you advertise the event, you can ask supporting customers to send a “donation” your way, in exchange for providing them with entertainment, that is.
This “donation” will help to cover the door fees and other profits you’re missing out on while your business cannot trade as usual.
With so many individuals locked indoors during this period, you’ll be surprised at how many keen fans you’ll have. Just remember to use social media, Wi-Fi marketing, and newsletter campaigns to market your live stream event.
You’ll also want to ensure that commenting functionality is turned on – this way, your audiences can chat and socialise via digital channels while they get to enjoy the entertainment that’s associated with your venue.
2. Start Your Own Cooking Show
If you can’t provide your patrons with cooked meals, why not show them how to prepare their own dishes that you have helped them come to love? Your restaurant can rope in the chefs to record cooking shows that demonstrate how to prepare a few of the meals you have on your menu. While you may have to share some secret recipes, your customers will appreciate your efforts in ensuring that they get their favourite foods during lock-down.
You can upload your recordings to your website, YouTube, and your social media pages to keep customers intrigued with your brand (and you may gather new supporters too). You can even do a live stream to create more excitement and suspense.
But there’s more…
To keep cash flow moving, why not sell recipe box kits to your fans? These kits can contain all of the ingredients needed to create a meal that you sell. Your favourite fans will flock to buy these kits when occurrences such as COVID-19 force them to remain indoors for a lengthy period. It’s a win-win deal!
And this brings us to our next point…
3. Create an eCommerce Shop
Now’s the time to seriously consider investing in an eCommerce website. Even businesses in the hospitality sector can expand online to ensure that cash keeps flowing.
An eCommerce site will give you the ability to sell the recipe kits you’ve put together or you can sell other products that are unique to your brand (why not rustle up some quirky branded merchandise that will appeal to your supporters). From cooking lessons and gift cards, an eCommerce site is one way to keep your business going.
4. Delivery Services
Social distancing has increased the need for goods to be delivered to doorsteps. Luckily, the food delivery market is booming worldwide. With the introduction of delivery services such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and Just Eat (to name but a few), consumers can now order their food online or on mobiles and receive a meal from any café or restaurant in the area within an hour.
If you have not yet subscribed to any delivery services, now’s the time. Make sure you are added to the list of service providers on the delivery apps and remember to promote your food delivery option on your website and your social media pages. Many restaurateurs are going as far as asking staff to do the deliveries to save on costs.
And while the pandemic discourages person-to-person contact, staff and deliverymen are being trained to leave the orders on door-steps while they wait for electronic payment confirmation.
5. Virtual Vouchers
You will want to take advantage of all forms of digital communication during difficult times where movement is restricted. From text message notifications and email newsletters to pop-up mobile app messages, the ways in which you can stay in touch with your customer base are endless.
These means of communication are an excellent way to send audiences virtual vouchers with the hope that they will be used as soon as your venue can continue trading as normal. You can issue individuals with vouchers for discounts on meals or accommodation that they can use when you re-open or you can sell gift vouchers that can be redeemed at your eCommerce site.
This is just one additional way you can ensure that business starts to roll in again once doors can open as usual.
6. Social Media
We have left the most obvious for last. Now, more than ever, your hospitality venue needs to take advantage of social media. If not to promote your new strategies as we discussed above, then at the very least, to reassure your audiences that you will be back to business as usual once the crisis has been averted.
Keep your posts positive during dire times and implement campaigns that will help you to engage new customers who are ready and waiting to visit your establishment as soon as restrictions have been removed.
By keeping your followers and fans informed, you can reassure them that their favourite venue will still be there waiting for them. And if you are one of the lucky ones who still get to operate during a pandemic, use social media to reassure your customers that you have put all of the necessary safety measures in place to guarantee their safety as well as the safety of your staff. A little bit of peace of mind can go a long way.
For more marketing support and insight into how you can keep your hospitality business afloat when the world is in a panic state, please do connect with us here at Stampede – we’ll provide you with time-saving technology that helps you succeed.