Based on our experience designing websites for hospitality venues such as The Botanist, The Watershed Hotel and SoCal Sydney, we’ve learned that many hospitality marketing managers want to blog, but don’t see it as time-efficient or cost-effective. That’s why we compiled the Hospitality Marketing Manager’s Guide to Blogging, which outlines a 10-point content strategy showing you how to maintain a profitable, lead-generating blog on your hospitality website, even if you only have about 10 minutes of spare time a week.
Tip #9 – Think Outside the Box
So far we’ve been talking about blog posts as though they contain mostly text. Sometimes, however, text doesn’t do the topic justice. Other times you’re just at a loss for words. No worries! Blog posts can also consist of graphics, images and videos.
While content quality is paramount when maintaining a blog, there’s no rule that says you can’t mix things up a bit with some text-light posts. In fact, your readers will appreciate the creativity, especially if many of them are more visually oriented. Once you acknowledge that your audience uses a variety of ways to consume information, you can make sure you don’t ostracise any groups of potential customers. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that even in the Digital Age people love to read, so try to keep a balance between text and visual aids.
That said, the sky’s the limit when it comes to enhancing your blog. We’ll present some common examples of how hospitality venues can use visuals in their blogs, but feel free to let your imagination dream up an even better display!
Graphics are big these days, and you don’t have to be a graphic designer to add them to your blog. You can browse through thousands of free and premium stock icons, banners, flyers, logos, vectors and even infographic templates online. Simply download the one you want and customise it to your preferences. Menus look beautiful in this form (and there are plenty of menu templates out there). Flyers announcing an upcoming event at the venue are also a great way to communicate news to customers. And don’t forget about the power of infographics, which can visualise almost anything, from how a process works to the significance of statistics. If you already employ a graphic designer, just ask them to send you the file and you can upload it to the blog.
Images should already be a staple of any hospitality website, as they give visitors a tantalising glimpse of the food, beverages, accommodations, entertainment and the venue itself. Hiring a professional photographer is an investment that truly will pay dividends. Besides the images scattered throughout the site, many hospitality websites also have a gallery page. Consider including galleries in your blog as well. For instance, if you’ve hosted a function recently, you can write a short bit of text about it and then let the images tell the rest of the story. Or, if you want to highlight a new menu, the arrival of a new chef, or the opening of a new bar, lounge, etc., you can whet your visitors’ appetites with an image-centric blog post.
At first you may not see how to incorporate videos into your hospitality blog. True, videos seem more at home on other kinds of websites. However, you can do a lot with them. For example, you can create a sort of “trailer” for viewers to preview an upcoming event or menu selection. You can also have a videographer on hand at events to capture exciting moments (e.g. special concert or New Year’s party), which you can then share with potential customers to encourage them to participate. In addition, you can film patron testimonials about their experiences at the venue, screen and edit the videos and then post the best on the blog.
Another creative way to spice up your blog is to connect it to social media, so when you post a new picture to Instagram or Twitter, it will automatically generate a blog post containing that image. This can be useful if you want some short-and-sweet posts without a lot of text. But keep in mind that you’re limited here by character count, so if you have more to say it’s best to write it directly on the blog. Also, try not to over-post from social media, filling up your blog with brief posts that aren’t telling visitors much. Only use these to supplement the longer posts you write more frequently.
Thank you for reading the ninth installment of our series, the Hospitality Marketing Manager’s Guide to Blogging. You can download the full series as a zip file FOR FREE by clicking the link below. The zip file contains the Guide in PDF format for easy reading, as well as a Hospitality Blog Template in both PDF and Word format to help you get started.
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