The Caterer held its annual Marketing Summit on 29 June 2021 on the topic of taking advantage of marketing in the unpredictable post-lockdown climate.
The first panel discussion, titled ‘Why marketing is more critical than ever’, welcomed our very own Petra Clayton of Custard, Martin Evans of The Tourism Business, and Victoria Murden of Red Carnation Hotel Collection, with James Stagg acting as the Chair.
Petra highlighted the importance of long-term marketing and planning for the future; marketing, she said, should be running through the veins of every business, “marketing should be at the centre of absolutely everything, not just promotional activity”. If a company is not successfully marketing, they are severely lacking in terms of their competitors, particularly those with creative and resourceful marketing departments who will be able to win over the shared target audience.
Stressing the importance of investing in marketing departments, Petra outlined the loss to the hospitality marketing sector over the pandemic, and especially that many have moved to other sectors. With the change in demand over the pandemic, businesses will need to have a greater understanding of the market as a whole and should make better use of data surrounding the behaviour of their consumers. This evolution has made hospitality marketing a more creative and innovative industry, and it cannot afford any more reductions in jobs; hospitality marketing as a career must be positioned as a lucrative opportunity with a reputation for professionalism and success.
Petra highlighted the ways in which city centre hospitality venues can maximise consumers not only in the present but the future. She maintained that promoting the destination is a hugely important facet of marketing currently, as holidaymakers want the full experience of the surrounding area. “We can’t undersell how amazing the UK is and how much we have to offer! People want experiences, we have to inspire people. Take them on that journey”. This is, however, reliant on the consistent re-opening of local attractions and the capacity of businesses such as restaurants.
Furthermore, the key to gaining the loyalty of returning customers even after international travel reopens is providing unparalleled service and guiding consumers through every aspect of their stay, from consistent personalised communication in the weeks leading up to their visit to ensuring they are fully knowledgeable about the hotel facilities and local area once they arrive. Throughout the pandemic, Petra argued, people have become risk-averse, and this is an opportunity to improve the future of domestic travel by using trust as a foundation.
Finally, positioned as the most important piece of advice for hospitality businesses, Petra recommended that the marketing team, whether internal or external, be involved in all stages of the decision-making process surrounding the wider business strategy. Staying informed on the key values and changes of a business allows for more authentic and accurate marketing, which will in turn appeal to audiences.
Watch the recorded Caterer Marketing Summit here.