Does mobile marketing work in the hospitality sector?

Topic: Hospitality, Marketing, Restaurants

In the face of the challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis, hospitality providers have to find new ways to make sure guests continue to arrive. Here’s how mobile focused marketing can help do exactly that.

Covid-19 hit HoReCa hard, but the restaurants and cafes that survived have a unique opportunity to re-evaluate their marketing strategies. Customers need reassurance around safety measures; they need to be convinced to spend constrained resources on a luxury item such as dining out – and when they do book, the restauranter needs to be confident that they will turn up.

Social media has already been embraced warmly as a means of reaching customers – and rightly so, with 45% of diners saying they tried a restaurant because of their posts on social media. But social media isn’t going to work on its own; other channels that help reassure and remind customers are needed – which is where mobile messaging comes into its own.

Your customers are already hungry for mobile-first content

  • 95% of smartphone users use their devices to find places to eat
  • 75% of diners prefer offers and promotions to be sent to their mobile devices over any other channel
  • Customers are already using their mobile devices to engage with hotels, restaurants and cafes, with 47% of all hotel bookings coming from mobile, and 75% of restaurant bookings
  • Hospitality customers are highly likely to convert through mobile with 30% converting immediately, and 60% will book within the hour

You need a full compliment of diners to be profitable

  • Even before the coronavirus, on average, 20% of diners failed to turn up for their reservation, representing a huge revenue hit for restaurants
  • SMS booking reminders can increase attendance by as much as 50% – reducing that deficit to (still frustrating) 10% of diners

Rich messaging –  a feast for the eyes

Think about a plain SMS text message and supercharge it – that’s rich messaging. It takes all of the great benefits of SMS like high open rates and personalisation, and adds elements like images and video, chatbot integration, interactive buttons and more. Rich messaging can also be delivered through a variety of channels depending on your customer’s preferences, including WhatsApp, RCS, and SMS Landing Pages.
Apicius, the 1st Century Roman gourmand, coined the phrase “We eat first with our eyes” – and the joy of rich messaging is that you can deliver that visual feast to customers along with the more pragmatic messages around safety, parking, allergies, directions, and their confirmed reservation details.

Upgrading to a richer marketing strategy like this is designed to get your visual brand in front of more customers, and improve the chance of higher converting customers who are more likely to return for seconds.

Rich messaging against the competition. Who wins?

Sending a personalised message to potential customers isn’t a new idea, but how does rich messaging compare against the traditionally used methods of doing this?

EmailSMS onlyRich messaging
Message open rate20.9%95%95%
Average customer response time2.5 days90 seconds90 seconds
Link click-through rate4.2%19%27%
Proportion of messages that are spam90%1%0%

Data sources: Oracle | Remarkety | Adobe | Esendex | Digital Doughnut | Ofcom | Jibe by Google

How have restaurants’ rich messaging campaigns performed?

  • When using rich messaging to promote a special offer, Four Star Pizza, one of Ireland’s largest pizza delivery chains, experienced a 30% uplift in sales when compared to a like for like SMS campaign
  • Subway ran a promotional campaign via SMS and rich messaging, with rich messaging achieving 140% more conversions
  • Papa Johns experienced a 23% uplift in sales when compared to SMS when promoting their new vegan range
  • Mobile messaging campaigns featuring images achieve 10 times more click-throughs than plain text campaigns
  • When surveying hotel guests, 82% said that they preferred the benefits of rich messaging to those provided by plain SMS

Start welcoming more guests today

Esendex have worked with a wide range of hospitality providers to help maximise their bookings. If you’d like to find out how rich, mobile-marketing could help you, please contact our industry experts today on 0345 356 5758 or email us at [email protected].

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