The social media roundtable at the H&C Expo was a great opportunity to identify the questions and challenges the hospitality industry had when it comes to social media and digital marketing.
The group consisted of Chefs, restaurateurs and caterers, suppliers, and digital marketing and social media experts. With such a diverse group we were able to discuss social media in the context of different parts of business from different viewpoints.
We started the discussion by talking about the benefits of Facebook messenger marketing and chatbots for restaurants and catering companies. You can read an introduction to messenger marketing here, which includes a few examples of how restaurants are using it successfully.
Later, we discussed how social media has changed over the last decade and the fact that we are moving towards having a conversation with our customers online and encouraging customers to generate their own content. This is why Instagram marketing is so key for the restaurant industry.
Personally, it was interesting to see how the hospitality industry views new technology and are unsure of social media as a tool to drive more customers. The fact that it is ever changing does not help the situation. It does work, but needs to be part of an overall digital marketing strategy as opposed to a stand alone tactic.
Neil Sheth is the founder of Only Way Online, a specialist digital marketing agency helping hospitality businesses reach more customers online.