Marketing tips for hospitality businesses preparing to come out of lockdown.
Let's face it, Covid sucks and so does lockdown! Pivoting your offering is hard work and closing your doors is heart-breaking but just like last year, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As announced last week it looks like restrictions in NSW will be lifted for hospitality businesses from mid-October, therefore your business will be able to begin to trade as "normal" and your doors will open to customers once again - Hooray!
Call me crazy but I am already making a list of all the cafes, restaurants and bars that I want to visit again (oh so badly) with my friends and family and I know I am not the only one. Let's face it, there is going to be some serious revenue up for grabs once this is all over, so why not get planning now?
To help you get ready to open your doors to customers once again, I have created a quick list of five important marketing related considerations and tasks that you can start working on now (if you haven't already):
1. Changes to stay or go?
While we have been living press conference to press conference awaiting numbers to drop, vaccination rates to rise and easing of restrictions announcements to be made you've also most likely had to pivot your business offering or even add some additional services.
If your business has been offering alternative menu items, packaged goods, takeaway, online ordering or even home delivery during lockdown now is a good time to assess the viability of continuing these options post-lockdown.
If you are going to continue with these offers or services be sure to communicate this to your customers through your organic digital channels like emails, social media, website and your Google My Business page to ensure your audience knows exactly what the deal is when restrictions are lifted.
2. Stay engaged with your audience.
Staying front of mind is vital during these times to ensure that once this lock down ends you are the first (or one of the first) places customers think about visiting once again.
If you are guilty and have already disappeared I urge you to get back out there, start posting on socials again, sending emails to your database, write blogs and add them to your website.
If you have had to close your doors and feel like you don't have anything to talk about, well you do! Share stories about the things you are working on for the future, what your staff have been up to whist in lock down or even better give a sneak-peek or two into the things you are preparing for post-lockdown.
3. Get those things done that you have been putting off.
I am not talking about clearing out your desk or reorganising the office space. These are things you could have done over the last few months but now with the end in sight, I want to focus on the marketing tasks that you should really get sorted before you re-open your doors again. Tasks like;
- Giving your business a marketing audit
- Reviewing your businesses marketing strategy
- Updating your Google My Business profile
- Ensuring or your information is current and relevant on your website
- Archiving all your old/non relevant photography and videography
The list goes on.
4. Arm yourself for a solid reopening.
Just like last year the government will most-likely roll out a staged reopening. We don't know exactly how that is going to look other than fully vaccinated people to both enter, four square metre rule inside and the two square metre rule outside and standing whist drinking outside only.
Be armed with a Covid-19 reopening checklist that you can run through before your doors open to ensure everything is up-to date. Tick off of all the things you need to sort out from signage, menus, updating of trading hours, reopening email to your database and so on.
If you haven't already it may be worth investigating the viability of contact less ordering and payment systems like me&u so customers can order from their tables and you no longer have to print so many menus.
Grab your FREE copy of my hospitality re-opening marketing checklist HERE
5. Revisit your activity planner and key dates calendar.
There is no denying that things have changed a whole lot lately and therefore your activity plan and key dates calendar may need to be re-visited.
Start thinking about what key dates such as Melbourne Cup, Christmas and even New Years will look like this year. Begin drafting some campaign ideas around what the offers for each of these key dates / events will look like so that when the restrictions do ease up you can put these campaigns into action.
With the end now insight there is no better time than today to get your butt into gear and get started. We have been waiting months for this all to be over and now its in what feels like an arms reach so go for it! Its time to get back out there and do what you do best! Happy re-opening!
If all this seems like too much to handle, it might be worth considering outsourcing your marketing. No, you don't have to use an agency and also it doesn't have to cost you a fortune to do so.
I am Shellie, experienced and passionate hospitality marketer + founder of Sydney Marketing Hub. I help local hospitality and alike business owners get their marketing on track and kick some serious goals while we are at it. If you need a hand please get in touch with me today and let's chat.