Social media marketing for restaurants and hospitality

Sabre Hospitality Solutions: The interviewee With a background in PR, Megan Peterson worked as Sabre’s Media Specialist for almost four y...

Sabre Hospitality Solutions: The interviewee

With a background in PR, Megan Peterson worked as Sabre’s Media Specialist for almost four years before being promoted to their Digital Media Manager, which is the position she currently holds.

social media marketing for restaurants


Social media marketing for restaurants and hospitality: Their Strategy

They encourage a comprehensive social media plan that includes management of profiles to drive engagement as well as promotional campaigns to drive profile growth, brand visibility, and revenue generation.

Generally, Facebook and Twitter are the top two platforms that their clients use because of the ability of these networks to reach broad audiences and cater to businesses through tools such as advertising and integrated analytics. Depending on an individual business’s needs, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Foursquare, and LinkedIn are also important networks to include in a restaurants social strategy. The recent introduction of the ability to remarket to website visitors on Facebook was an especially important development as it opened up Facebook as a more prominent channel to drive revenue in the hospitality industry.

Their journey to measuring ROI

The strength of digital media is that it provides access to reach users in the spaces they spend most of their time in order to build relationships with users and strengthen the brand. If a brand does not measure performance of its social network profiles, it risks losing visibility or even alienating users, which is in direct opposition to digital media’s goals of increasing brand visibility and building relationships. Brands have to measure the performance of profiles and advertising on digital media channels in order to optimize content and campaigns.

What they measure

The company focuses primarily on Return on Engagement with social activities, unless it is a campaign specifically designed to drive revenue. Return on Engagement refers to the idea that the effort a brand puts into managing a digital media profile is being returned in the form of interactions from users.

A strong social profile is measured in follower growth as well as steadily high levels of engagement, which includes “likes”, comments, clicks, photo views, video views, retweets, and favourites. When users are interacting with a brand’s content, it demonstrates an affinity for the brand which allows the brand to market to users. Since hotels are rarely an impulse purchase, building strong relationships with customers on and offline allows a hospitality company
to drive revenue in the long run.

How they measure

There are countless digital media analytics platforms available, but in terms of accuracy of data and usefulness of information, the company has found that the internal analytics platforms offered by media networks, including Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, are the most reliable. In order to show the holistic performance of digital media, they also uses Google Analytics data to see how users from social networks are using the website and to ensure that any social campaigns that are sending users to the website are performing strongly.

In addition, they also use internal analytics platforms to measure performance of advertising campaigns on digital media. Social ad campaigns often have different success metrics than traditional ad campaigns. Reporting is tailored to an individual campaign’s goals, whether that includes revenue, follower growth, social engagement, or website engagement. Reporting on social media should always be adapted to each campaign’s goals.

Given the ever-changing face of social networking, Sabre Hospitality Solutions re-evaluates its benchmarks annually to keep the measurements of success up-to-date and relevant to clients’ evolving needs. In addition to helping define success for campaigns, studying trends in performance data for different types of campaigns and different types of properties helps Sabre Hospitality Solutions to identify which types of promotions are most successful and to develop more successful strategies tailored to their clients’ issues.

Lessons learned


  • Don’t get stuck in a rut: social media is an ever-evolving field, and if you do not allow your strategies for execution and measurement to evolve, you will fall behind the pack.
  • Don’t discount engagement: revenue is important, but the greatest strength of social network is building relationships, and if you are not measuring engagement, you are not seeing the full picture.
  • Don’t go with the flow: just because a strategy works for one company does not mean it will work for you. Know what your needs are and what your goals are for your media campaigns, and make sure you are measuring performance against those goals.

Social Media Marketing Tenets

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of specific social  platforms and how to make the most of them, let’s look at the tenets of social media marketing for restaurants. These principles do not change, regardless of the technology in question.
Respect other people online: Whether you’re using email or instant messaging (IM) or social Network: (1) don’t spam people, (2) don’t blindly add people to your email list, and (3) respect people’s “virtual space.” Basically, follow the Golden Rule; if it would annoy you, it will doubly annoy another. The same common rules of etiquette that apply offline apply online, too. Would you ever run up to someone, hand him your business card, and run away? I hope not. Yet people often do the online equivalent: post their website link—their virtual business card—blindly on people’s online spaces.

Efforts to control or manipulate will backfire: Did you hear the story of how the CEO of a top grocery chain got busted for pretending to be a customer and praising the company in forums? It was quite a scandal. Once his identity was made public, it was all over. It’s next to impossible to manipulate people online without getting caught. And because there are so many better ways to go about influencing people positively, there is no need to control the conversation.

Don’t chase everything new under the sun. This is a common mistake many people make when first starting out. Remember “shiny toy syndrome”? Resist the temptation to grab at everything. Do your research, pick one or two methods, and work at them consistently. This is the reason I am not covering every social channel that’s out there in this book. I’ve chosen instead to focus on the ones that I believe provide the highest return on investment.

Traffic is nice but should not be the only goal of social media marketing plan pdf. Some people out there look at social media marketing only as a means of attracting traffic to their websites. Although traffic is a great goal and easily measurable (it falls under Attract), it should not be your only goal. Remember, you can and should use social networks to transform as well. It is a great way to share your stories, listen to feedback, and cultivate relationships with potential customers and future partners and vendors.

It’s a good idea to use your real name. Nine out of ten times, it’s best to use your real name—even if you represent a company. Why? People don’t want to be friends with McDonald’s or Dell. They want to connect with others like them. We cover later when it is advisable to use your business name.

You have to be proactive. This is not the same as being pushy. I hear the following a lot: “I am on Facebook and LinkedIn, but it doesn’t seem to do much.” My response is usually: “What exactly did you expect ‘it’ to do?” It’s like saying you went to a networking event that didn’t do anything for you. The real question here is what did you do at the networking event? Did you reach out to two people and have a conversation? Social media is only what you make of it.
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