Marketing in the hospitality industry

Work on your brand

What makes your restaurant unique compared to other restaurants in the area? That's a question you need to answer for yourself and your customers. Because good marketing starts with a strong brand. So ask yourself: why exactly should customers come to your business? Is it because you prepare food in a special way? Is it because of your excellent hospitality? Is the food in your cafe cheaper than in other cafes?

Video content

Video is booming. And fortunately, there are countless options for using video marketing. For example, choose to make a company video or start a series of how-to videos on YouTube. You can also opt for slightly more accessible ways to share videos, for example a video of the atmosphere in your business or a vlog about the turbulent life as a hospitality entrepreneur.

Make use of social media

Of course, social media should not be missing. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Tiktok: they are all valuable channels to keep in touch with your guests in the current situation. It is important to check whether you have enough time to keep your profile active and up to date. Our advice: one active account is better than three poorly maintained profiles.


A monthly email newsletter can be a very effective way to keep your guests informed about the goings-on at your restaurant. Unlike social media, e-mail marketing also gives you the opportunity to provide more detailed explanations or to share multiple messages in one message. Plus, it's an effective way to entice guests to return or make repeat orders.

Think local

Many of your guests go to a restaurant spontaneously. They often make their choice on the spot which restaurant they go to. Suppose you go shopping in Rotterdam. You decide to find a restaurant with your friends, but you are not familiar with the city. You want to eat Vietnamese food. You grab your phone and open google. You search for 'Vietnamese food Rotterdam.' Google will show you a few restaurants on the map. And in the search engine there are three good suggestions at the top. So those are the restaurants that have put a lot of effort into their website. In addition, a number of restaurants have invested money in advertisements. Because these restaurants rank high in Google, people tend to go to that location. They map out a route on Google Maps. Choices are therefore often made very spontaneously and locally. So keep that in mind. Many people are unable to find their way to a restaurant, so they look up the hospitality facility online. And so you can take advantage of that.

Put your food 'in the picture'

All of us have at some point licked our lips from a juicy hamburger, and we get thirsty from the sight of a fresh cocktail. So make your followers very enthusiastic with what you have in store! For example, on a day off, prepare some of your dishes and then take pictures (or have them taken). You can then use this for your website and social media in the weeks after

What do you put in such an e-mail newsletter?

• the new menu
• put one specific dish or drink in the spotlight
• share a giveaway
• introduce a new employee
• announce a special evening, ect.
• other news

How to encourage guests to UGC?

UGC is data and information created by outside individuals who are involved in an organization without compensation. So be sure to include UGC in your hospitality marketing plan. The next step is to get your guests to create UGC. Since it is authentic content that you are not directly involved in, it might seem difficult at first sight to realize that, but nothing could be further from the truth. Start with the basics: what makes guests pull out their smartphone and take a photo or video in your business? The interior, the presentation of your dishes, original and lively elements, and colorful artwork, you name it.
In other words: turn your restaurant into a photo stop. Create a place that almost screams to be photographed. Also make sure that guests quickly find your account name and preferred hashtags in your social media account details so that you can easily get tagged and create more momentum.
Another hospitality social media marketing tip for promoting UGC is to offer guests a gift or discount when they post a photo, video or story – or even their experience in the form of a positive review – on social media.

Start with SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. This includes everything that allows a visitor to find you in Google, without an advertising budget. For your restaurant it is of course especially important that (potential) guests from the area know where to find you. You increase your local findability by, among other things, creating your Google My Business profile and by collecting reviews.

Google My Business

Most guests first check their phone before making a choice for a hospitality facility. One option that is often used is Google Maps. After all, here is an overview of all restaurants in the area, with photos, a description and reviews from people who have been here before. It is good for restaurant owners to know that you have a large part of the control of Google My Business in your own hands. For example, you can upload photos yourself, adjust opening hours, add an attractive description and actively ask for reviews from satisfied guests! The latter is done easily by creating a review link, via the free Google review link generator. This makes collecting reviews a lot easier. Pro tip: make a QR code of the link and put it on the bill that guests receive!

Collect email addresses

• You can leave a note after every dinner where guest can write down their email address and join a giveaway.
• You can also use social media or your website to get people to sign up for your newsletter.

Advertising on social media and then getting people on your email list, it's the holy grail for successful hospitality marketing.

Why a website

If you have a (party) cafe or a shawarma place, it doesn't matter that much. All the information you want to share and all those 'party pics' that you want to watch on a Sunday morning with the blush on your jaws, you can indeed all share on Facebook. But that's where it ends.

Have a website made

Every self-respecting restaurant should make the effort to have a website made to leave a good impression with your (potential) guests. You may not gain many guests with it, but you sure can lose them on it. Especially for the older guest who spends a lot of time looking for opening hours on a Facebook page.
If they are looking for a restaurant, Google is simply used to view the website.

Google and Lens

Google already does a lot for you, websites like Lens have an entire archive of reviews ready for you. Ordering at home is done via Thuisbezorgd and on Facebook and via newsletters, restaurants keep their followers informed of promotions, offers and discounts. Enough tools as a restaurant owner to be visible and let people know that you exist.
Yet a good website should not be underestimated. You already give your guests a first look into your living room with a website. Do you want your first impression to be one in 10,000 with a standardized profile on Facebook? A website also gives you many more opportunities to get a great spot in the Google rankings. Guests looking for any Italian specialty restaurant are more likely to come across well-functioning websites on Google than a stray Facebook page.
So a well-functioning website is necessary. The relatively small investment does not outweigh the potential number of guests you can lose with it if you don't have it.