Report reveals uncertainty over social media
SOCIAL media may well be an increasingly popular marketing tool for bars and restaurants but it seems operators are still sceptical about its business potential.
According to new research from Barclays, more than one in ten hospitality and leisure operators now generate up to half of all sales through social media, but 60% said they only see ‘some’ or ‘limited’ opportunity in using it to engage consumers.
Nearly a third (29%) of respondents directly attributed up to 25% of their sales to social media, and a further 13% credited social media with generating up to half of sales. In addition, more than two thirds (68%) of those bar, restaurant and hotel operators currently said they have had a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ experience, attracting new customers, and receiving positive recommendations.
But more than one in ten operators polled said they do not currently use social media, nor do they have any plans to do so, claiming they don’t see any value or return on investment.
Jamie Grant, head of corporate banking at Barclays in Scotland, said the industry is “missing a trick”.
“Social media has blurred the line between personal and corporate communities – something that has been encouraged by consumers who now expect to be able to interact in an immediate and very personal way, not just with friends, but with their favourite – and not so favoured – brands,” he said. “This can create a very powerful feedback loop – if operators can successfully tap into these networks, both good and bad reviews can be used to their advantage. If a dinner reservation is delayed, for example, it’s easy for consumers to vent their frustration to the online world – the trick is being able to respond helpfully, turning a negative experience into a positive one.
“Getting the strategy right is key.”