NATIONAL REPORT—We live in an experiential economy where consumers seek new and exciting experiences in their day-to-day lives. Hotels are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this lucrative trend by providing these experiences closer to home to local residents, where they can be enjoyed many times over and create loyal guests for life across the portfolio.
When we talk about hotels as part of the travel industry, we overlook the important fact that locals can play a pivotal role in a hotel’s profitability. In fact, a strong F&B presence with locals can help fortify your bottom line against seasonal travel slumps. Increasing your F&B retention rate (a.k.a. increasing the percentage of locals in your book) by 5% can increase your profits in that area by 25% to 95%.
East, Miami, a SevenRooms partner and Swire Hotel’s first U.S. property, has made winning with locals a strategic priority. The team uses SevenRooms’ guest experience technology to target their locals effectively and provide personalized experiences each time they visit. Senior Marketing & Communications Manager, Erika Thomas, shares how the popular hotel group keeps Miamians coming back for more.
“Showing our guests a good time, making them feel at home, and being authentic goes a long way in Miami.”
—Erika Thomas, East, Miami
Use multi-channel marketing. “It’s all about marketing. We take a multichannel approach to our digital marketing to make sure the local community is informed about what we’re up to. We use social media, email marketing, paid search and our websites. We have used giveaways to launch new menu items and expand our brand into new niches.”
Partner up. “We have a great PR agency that helps us brainstorm programming and trends and what will resonate with locals vs what people will travel for. We also partner with local brands and influencer accounts that make sense for us, so we get them into the restaurant to then spread the word and make sure we are a part of their communities. We also host events that showcase our F&B venues, and the goal is to really wow attendees so they come back as individual diners.”
Offer a unique dining experience. “For us, it was important to create an authentic environment for the restaurant that would appeal to anyone looking for a unique dining experience, not just those staying at the hotel. People love to go to try new places, but they are also creatures of habit. Show them a great time, make them feel at home, and be authentic, and you’ll create a regular. The food, and the full EAST, Miami experience – those usually speak stronger than anything we can say about ourselves via marketing. It ultimately comes down to the guest experience and the confidence of making it great every night, even for a local who has so many options.”
Treat locals like locals. “The hotel is constantly building new ways to reach new local guests and keep them coming back for more. This includes developing “invite-only” programs that specifically target repeat customers. Rewarding these guests with an exclusive affiliation makes them feel like VIPs, and drives more business from the property. So our CRM (guest database) is a huge part of how we can execute on targeted marketing efforts like these.”
Try new things. “In September we hosted a wine promotion. We shared it online and promoted it via in-house hosts and waitstaff, and it proved to be successful in moving the product in record time. But it was only successful because we had the right tools to make guests aware of specials and promotions, and then execute on them efficiently. In return, the guests felt extra special.”
Commit to using data. “The key is having the right data to know who is a local and if they are a regular. We tag all return guests’ profiles with information like their birthdays, anniversaries, likes and dislikes, and any allergies. It can feel time consuming but going this extra mile to collect this data pays off. Repeat guests want to be treated like repeat guests and not some stranger. This is even more true when it’s a local at a hotel. They want to feel special and feel like they are on the inside.”
Want more ideas on how to draw in the local crowd to your F&B outlets, download SevenRooms’ most recent guide, Hotel F&B Local Marketing: Unleash the Revenue Potential of Locals.