As travel consumers’ digital behaviors and expectations evolve, the hotel digital marketer is tasked with better representing the physical experience of the hotel in the digital world – beyond hotel rooms and rates.
Read this article to learn:
✔ How hospitality brands are representing physical hotel experiences in the digital world
✔ Why hotel digital marketers are putting digital spotlights on hotel restaurants and bars
✔ What a destination restaurant is and how it can attract more hotel guests
Digital has changed travel consumer behavior
The digital world is playing a significant role in the hotel experience today. Travel consumers are increasingly interacting with digital content throughout their hotel experiences from discovery, to in-stay and through post-stay.
Travel consumers visit hotel review sites, social networks, hotel websites, OTAs and Meta Search sites to search, compare and book hotel accommodations. They check-in to hotels using their mobile phones, stream Netflix to the in-room television and connect multiple devices to WIFI. They share their hotel experiences (the good, the bad and the ugly) to global audiences via social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor.
Hotel digital marketers have a new focus
Great hotel experiences are much more than hotel rooms and the hotel experience starts long before the guest arrives. Now, more than ever, the hotel digital marketer’s role is to represent the physical experience of the hotel in the digital world.
Doing this successfully requires thinking about the entire customer experience from the moment that someone engages with a website to the guest experience when a customer is checking out, and everything in between. It’s an omni-channel, experience-driven approach that requires thinking beyond selling hotel rooms.
Putting a digital spotlight on hotel F&B
F&B (the other half of hospitality) is, in many cases, a significant and compelling part of a hotel’s physical experience (especially for upscale, boutique and luxury brands). Many of which are home to destination restaurants, meaning restaurants that offer alluring dining experiences with a nice atmosphere, great service and excellent food.
For hotel guests, a destination restaurant is part of the hotel experience and helpful in influencing their booking decisions. These restaurants also attract non-hotel guests and locals, introducing them to the hotel experience, which they may book in the future or tell their friends about.
Despite their significance and allure, hotel restaurants and bars are often left out of the hotel digital experience. Just as hotels are more than rooms to sleep in, hotel restaurants are much more than places for weary travelers to eat. Smart hotel digital marketers are finding ways to better represent their hotel’s physical experiences by putting digital spotlights on their food and beverage offerings.
Hotel brands that showcase F&B
Leading hotel digital marketers and hospitality brands are thinking beyond rooms and rates and working toward delivering digital experiences that reflect the physical experience at the hotel, which naturally include dining.
Here are some examples of hotel brands that are representing the physical hotel food and beverage experiences in their digital hotel experiences.
At the corporate level, spgcravings.com, known as the best place online for consumers to find interesting places to dine around the world, features over 1,500 restaurants and bars globally. The digital experience of this particular website isn’t targeted exclusively to hotel guests. It’s designed to speak to those looking for a great place to eat, including outside diners who live in the area or are staying in another hotel. The goal is to get more diners to eat at Marriott hotel restaurants.
When a consumer visits the spgcravings.com website on any screen or device, it automatically displays local restaurants and bars based on geographic location. Restaurant listings are complete with photos, videos, menus, special offers and links to book reservations and deliver the information that today’s consumers want and expect from a restaurant’s digital experience. One important detail to note about spgcravings.com is that the hotel booking widget is available at the top of every page of the website to integrate dining experiences with the hotel experience.
This forward-thinking hotel brand is actually taking a “restaurant-first” approach to hospitality. Trevor Horwell, CEO of Nobu Hospitality, explains that “If you look at the hotel business today, the majority of hotels are suffering because they don’t lead with food and beverage. They don’t have strong food-and-beverage concepts, and a lot of hotels are losing money. Today, we play to our strengths because that is one area that we do very, very well, and we bring in locals.” Knowing that dining experiences are their strong suit, they lead with dining in their digital hotel experiences.
The St. Regis Doha offers immersive digital experiences that reflect the physical experiences of the hotels and on-site dining options. The dining section of The St. Regis Doha website links to the individual restaurant websites for their restaurants and bars where guests can learn more about the experience, view the menu and make a reservation.
Each of the restaurant websites, just like the Astor Grill, links back to The St. Regis Doha website where visitors can experience and book a hotel room. They’ve created an integrated digital presence for hotel and dining that make it easy for consumers to find and reserve hotel rooms and tables, or both.
W Hotels & Resorts
The W Mexico City is another good example of a hotel with a digital experience that reflects the physical experience. Their restaurant, J by José Andrés, is a significant part of that experience and that is communicated clearly and consistently in its digital presence.
Close the gap between physical and digital
F&B is a significant part of a physical hotel experience that can no longer be overlooked by hotel digital marketers. Creating digital experiences that close the gap between the physical and digital hotel experience involves so much more than a website that promotes hotel rooms and rates. When represented as part of the hotel experience digitally, restaurants not only improve the guest experience but can also become more significant revenue drivers – filling empty seats with both hotel guests and local diners. How well does your brand represent your hotels’ physical experiences in the digital world?
Want to know more? Download The Hotel Marketer’s Guide to Digital Experience Management now and learn how to deliver great digital experiences throughout the guest journey.