Through the digital marketing, the organizations use electronic media to promote the products and services among the customers. For instance, the organizations can use social media, social platforms and mobile phones as a digital marketing strategy to advertise the products. Online reviews are supportive of the organizations in acquiring new customers and providing better services to existing customers with developing the customer relationship through marketing automation. Technological tools such as websites and blogs, social networks and other platforms have allowed to the hotel sector to carry out marketing actions where the close relationship and constant feedback prevail customers at a low cost. Radio and local media, for their affordable costs and their local character, they allowed recovering the investment to the managers of restaurants, something that was not possible in the expensive ads television, except for the large hotel chains. And the same happened with newspapers and national circulation magazines.
The Digital Transformation: A Great Opportunity for the Hotel Business
With the passage of time came the technological revolution and, linked to it, changes in behavior habits of consumers in the search for information and leisure. Internet and social networks have radically changed the way advertising is done in all sectors.
This section provides an analysis and discussion of the results of a survey conducted to evaluate how online reviews impacted on the reputation of a restaurant. The questionnaire had 19 questions whose responses will be analyzed and discussed in this chapter.
As seen from the chart above, 62.8% of the respondents reported having read through digital online reviews from other customers before dining in a restaurant. Past marketing was characterized with rigid advertising which was mostly done in a single channel and only one direction. The approach was direct and informative and was presented in a single medium, usually newspapers, magazines or local radio stations. The customers of a restaurant had to seek information about a restaurant mainly from magazines, and other paid advertising channels which provided information which could be considered unreliable. Through the advent of technology and social media emergence, however, customers can give independent reviews about a specific restaurant regarding their quality of service, prices (whether fair or unnecessarily high), the range of services offered among others. Many social media users consider online reviews honest which explains the significantly high number of people whose their decision to dine in a given restaurant is determined by those very reviews. Hotel businesses should invest in an efficient review platform where they offer exemplary services to attract positive reviews and consequently increase their sales.
As seen in the chart above, 79.1% of the respondents reported having visited a restaurant in recent times. Human beings are bound to eat whenever they feel hungry, and a restaurant seems to be a convenient option for offering convenience to saving time. What determines whether a customer revisits the same restaurant is the level of services offered ranging from food prices, quality of food and general customer service. If the qualities of services offered are excellent, the customers are likely to recommend the restaurant joints to their peers thereby increasing the number of restaurant customers and increase profits. On the other hand, if the service is not appealing, the customers will generate negative reviews which discourage potential customers. Consequently, the business will run at a loss and face possible closure.
As seen in the chart above, 48.8% of the respondents admitted to being influenced by digital reviews in their choice of a diner. This coincides with the assumption made in the methodology section that asserted customers read digital reviews to acquire more comprehensive details about the restaurant's food and services' quality, and their general dining experiences.
The Implication of Online Reviews for Restaurant Managers
Restaurant owners must concern themselves with the creation and maintenance of a positive review of their business since the business existence depends on it. One of the strategies of achieving this is through the concept on marketing mix. The Marketing Mix is a term that tries to explain and encompass the whole of such a broad concept of marketing subdividing it into four variables known as the 4 Ps:
Product. It is the fundamental element, around to which everything else is built; it is what satisfies the consumer needs. Restaurant managers should bear in mind that the client perceives the restaurant as a global product composed of all the elements of the business, both productive and those that are not, as well as tangible and intangible material. Thus, aspects such as service, hospitality, the establishment itself, the location, the staff or the environment, are so or more important that the food itself. In restoration, unlike other sectors, the units of production (which would be the dishes that are served) are inseparable from the product itself, which is the place with its kitchen and staff. All the elements of a restaurant are part of the own product, unlike, for example, a car, where customers normally do not go to the factory to check how they are performed. The goal of restaurant operators has to be to position them as a capable place to offer the best value for money within their category. They must strive to offer the best dishes possible, or the best service of a hotel, always in line with the fixed price and the type of client they are targeting.
Price. It is the amount of money that a consumer is willing to pay for a product or service, and many Sometimes the first element in which it is fixed. In addition to the focus on customer attraction, setting an appropriate price is a basic issue for the profitability of a business. Although the hotel price policy is not as such a significant issue, parameters such as diverse as the category of the business, the type of clientele and location must be considered. Also, each product (for example, each dish on the menu) or service (a hairdressing or laundry service section of the hotel) must be carefully studied, both together and separately as a whole, to achieve adequate profitability.
Place (Distribution). Generically, it's the way in which the product or service reaches the customer. The hotel operators should modify their distribution means to suit customer demands through restoration strategies. In restoration, delivery is usually practiced in the same place and immediately, being able to add value to the product in three different ways:
- During transportation of food and beverages up to where the customer is through the waiter.
- In the place where the service is provided (in the same locale).
- At the time the service is provided, which can be translated for restaurant hours.
Approx. 80% of the restaurants in London are using social media as a marketing tactic to promote their products and services. Online reviews are one of the ways through which a restaurant is able to gauge its overall rating, identify customer concerns and perceptions and make appropriate decisions. Therefore, the restaurants should make appropriate efforts to get positive reviews and maximum likes on their social media pages as these efforts will improve the brand values among the customers. The key to the success of any strategy of this type is in skillfully combining all the relevant factors, looking for an effective and profitable balance. For example, focused actions on the price they will have a notorious influence on the quality of the products that restaurants are finally going to be able to offer the customer. The most effective and economical communication in the hotel industry is the one made by the consumers themselves, through the mouth to mouth. To achieve success it is necessary to reach customer satisfaction; this one must consume the product, remember it and recommend it. The restaurant, however, has other strategies to promote service delivery.
Communication forms can be grouped into the following:
Personal communication: This type of communication direct is the most effective since it goes directly to the target audience and is cheaper than other media Communication. This activity is carried out ordinarily by Public relations professionals in different ways:
- In the near areas of the premises.
- In areas of significant concurrence such as fairs, congresses or events.
- Orienting it to specific groups such as restaurants, associations, etc. This activity attracts celebrations and group dinners/dinners.
Digital communication: Many of the big organizations such as Gordon Ramsey and Alain Ducasse are using digital marketing to provide their services to the customers and getting feedback and reviews through online platform. In this concern, Medina et al., (2014) Empirical research have indicated that restaurants which developed a unique identity in by implementing digital marketing as a marketing strategy in promoting products and services have achieved tremendous growth. Digital marketing has enabled these restaurants organization to share their story (food types and categories) to their associated online customers. Therefore, it is essential for a restaurant to develop its brand identity
As shown in the bars and charts and above, the quality of food was one of the greatest determinant of a customer's choice to eat in a certain restaurant. The quality of service was also another significant factor together with the overall rating of the restaurant. This confirms the assertion of Kim, NG and Kim (2009) that food quality together with other aspects such as value, price, service quality, and atmosphere together with the number of digital reviews were the main influences on a restaurant's ability to fully satisfy its clients. The five aspects, other than digital reviews, are considered as key elements of the restaurants' reputation since they directly determine the kind of customer experiences. This is because the five aspects represent the actual consumers' experiences within the restaurant, which determine the number and nature of digital reviews given by these customers after dining in the eateries. The restaurants' management teams consider these reviews when adjusting their prices, food quality, quality of service decisions and food quality among the other aspects.
It is evident from the results of the study that the five factors are significantly responsible for the kind of review a restaurant gets as stated in the DINESERV model that provided the framework of the choice-based conjoint model, labelled as a trade-off analysis, which is based on two conjectures, that is, the above-mentioned critical factors defined as a collection of service levels, and, secondly, these levels delineate the vital aspects from the client's viewpoints are seen in the results.
To understand this relationship, it is important to establish how those individual aspects influence customer behavior manifested in their reviews. Among the factors that determine consumer behavior in the choice of a restaurant is what other customers say about it. Before deciding to eat from the restaurant, other people may influence him with arguments that he had not taken into while making that decision. If these arguments are absolutely negative, the potential customer may change their mind altogether. For instance, the customer may have observed from the price ranges that they are appealingly low and made the decision to dine in that restaurant without considering the...
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