Things we tend to forget

Visiting guesthouses and hotels on a regular basis makes you realise how many things we tend to forget when preparing a room for a guest.

Things we tend to forget

Things we tend to forget (Photo taken at The Wardrobe Guesthouse, Pretoria) – http://thewardrobeguesthouse.co.za/

Owning an accommodation establishment does not necessarily make you an expert on what to put in the rooms; in fact, we tend to overlook a few things due to being so used to the establishment’s offerings. As we know by now – no customer is the same and no target market either. A business traveller might need a two point plug next to his bed as well as at his desk in the room. A family room might be more comfortable for leisure travellers when there is bubble bath for the kids or a pack of cards to play with in the room when the weather is not so pleasant. It is about going that extra mile that everyone speaks about.

Here are a few things TMG noticed many establishments tend to forget to add to their guest rooms. Take note and maybe consider adding this to your rooms for the next guests to increase customer satisfaction and to give them a better experience of your establishment. It might be small things, but isn’t it true that it’s the small things that count?

  • Two point plugs in the rooms for a hairdryer (if there is none provided in the room), cell phone chargers, laptops, etc.
  • Information files in the rooms, providing information on local attractions, restaurants, coffee shops and shopping facilities.
  • It is always great to have a minibar in the room – just remember to stock it before the guests arrive and be sure to explain the payment procedures to them. This service is a preferred service by TMG for business travellers, as they are the ones who might work late in the evenings.
  • Have a look at the lighting in the rooms. This is a big issue, especially for business travellers, at many South African establishments. Be sure that there is ample lighting at the desk area and next to the bed for working and reading purposes, as well as at the mirror areas where ladies might want to do their make-up.
  • Make sure about the correct height for the desk and chair where your guests visiting for business might want to work during the evening. You don’t want to tire them – in fact, you’d like them to feel comfortable and at home, right?
  • Also have a look at the position of all electric sockets in the rooms. The places guests would like to have electric sockets are mainly beside the bed and at the desk area, as well as close to a mirror.
  • Speaking of mirrors – remember that women (and many men too) need a mirror at a comfortable height for blow drying their hair, checking their outfits and doing their makeup. Should there only be mirrors in the bathroom, be sure that the area is secure for an electric socket for things like hairdryers and shavers. This is not the ideal, though. Rather add another mirror in the room itself.

Any more things you’ve noticed guesthouses or hotels tend to forget? Share your views and tips with Travelling Mystery Guest by leaving a comment.

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Top 8 Hotel Pins

Here are my top 8 hotel pins from hotels based in South Africa – these are the things that will draw a customer’s attention when researching South African accommodation. Do you have pins like these? Please feel free to share them with us in the comment section below…

1. Surprise – Giraffe Hotel:

2.  South African Sunsets – Phinda Private Game Reserve:

3. Romantic Destinations: Lion Sands, Sabi Sands:

4. Destinations with a view – Delaire Graff Lodges and Spa:

5. Impressive attractions – Labyrinth at The Edge, Hogsback in the Eastern Cape:

6. Serenity – Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse in the Drakensberg, Kwazulu Natal:

7. Something different – The Outpost Lodge, Kruger National Park:

8. Beach Picnic Options – Oyster Bay Lodge:

Which Facebook posts encourage engagement?

It happens to all of us – you think this Facebook post is going to draw everyone’s attention and then in the end you are lucky if it got one like! But why? Which Facebook posts encourage engagement?

Facebook engagement

Facebook engagement (Image from: http://www.mikegingerich.com)

Your fans on Facebook wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to follow or know more about your guesthouse, hotel or restaurant. The only challenge here is to give them what they want. Let’s look at a few need-to-knows when it comes to Facebook posts:

  • Not many people like commenting on posts that are full of errors and spelling mistakes. You wouldn’t either if you think about it.
  • Facebook is meant for socializing – speaking to your fans in a corporate tone isn’t going to get you any engagement.
  • Write your updates in Word or Excell (a program that has spell check). This might be an extra step, but rather safe than sorry.
  • Long updates lose readers. Keep your posts short and sweet and make sure that your link appears in front of the content.
  • Rather don’t use shortened links on Facebook. Shortened links may appear spammy so the chances that the reader will open the link are less.
  • Spice things up with images. Your fans will engage with your brand through images well whether it is funny, inspirational or promotional. (P.S. To make your pictures even more enticing, use PicMonkey, a free photo editing tool that lets you add text, overlays, frames and more).
  • Ask questions or create polls.
  • Give your fans a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes – wish one of your staff members a happy birthday and post a photo on Facebook, or congratulate a couple who just got engaged at your venue an post the photo on your page.
  • Offer fan-only perks. One of the main reasons people follow brands on social media is to be able to get to know about specials and promotions first. For example: Use a secret word that only Facebook fans would have seen that will ensure them a free drink before 20:00 that night.

These are but a few Facebook post tips that might increase engagement on your page. Be creative and think out of the box and you’ll see how your fans engage with you more often.

For workshops on the basics of social media, contact Travelling Mystery’s owner, Renate, on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562.

Follow Travelling Mystery Guest on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TravellingMysteryGuest

Who is your target market on Facebook? (Part two)

How can you identify and get to know your fans (target market) on Facebook? In our previous post we had a look at why we need to know our Facebook fans and the process of defining them. Today we look at the questions to ask and growing your Facebook fan base:

Target your customers

Target your customers (Image from http://www.webscoutmarketing.com

Ask the right questions:

  • How many people are in my target market?
  • Where does my target market hang out?
  • What does my target market enjoy the most?
  • What does my target market worry about the most?
  • How much is my target market willing to spend?
  • Does my target market consist of different segments?
  • What makes the people in my target market feel welcome?

Now…what do you do with all this information? You use it to help you…

  • write better content and web copy that will relate to the right target markets and encourage them to engage with your brand,
  • understand where to spend more time when it comes to networking, and
  • see why people rather buy from you than from your competitors.

How can you grow your fan base on Facebook?

  • Update your profile and/or company page on a regular basis to keep information up to date. This includes your contact details, maps and directions to your hotel, guesthouse or restaurant, images of the destination, etc.
  • Follow leaders in your industry.
  • Comment on other pages’ status updates and pictures – just remember to keep it relevant.
  • Ask fans to share your posts. (Obviously the amount of sharing will increase if you offer them discount…)

For more tips and discussions on this topic, book your workshop with Travelling Mystery Guest by contacting Renate on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562.

Happy targeting! 🙂

Who is your target market on Facebook? (Part One)

You might know who your target market is for your hotel or guesthouse, but do you know which part of that market is on Facebook? Kids under the age of twelve will most probably not be there, nor will most of your pensioner customers. So who is your target market on Facebook?

Facebook fans

Facebook fans (Image from http://www.niposoftware.com)

You can get to know a large section of your target market via Facebook, as every person on Facebook shares a certain amount of information about themselves with the world on this platform.

What can you learn?

Psychographics (what your customer likes, what makes them tick, what are their biggest problems and their biggest desires, etc.) are just as important as the demographics (age, sex, location, etc.) You’re going to want to know which television programs they watch, which sports teams they support, etc. Why? Because this gives you an insight into what motivates your customers, which will help you to understand what will make them want to buy your service.

The process of getting to know your target market:

  1. Take time to explore the individual profiles of your Facebook fans. Look at their demographics, their likes, status updates, links to other social media profiles and websites.
  2. Look at your fan page’s insights. Here you will find group demographics of your fans, as well as the posts on your page that they find most interesting and which encourage the most engagement.
  3. Use the Facebook search tool to find entire groups of people who fit your target market, follow their conversations and when you see an opportunity, take part in their discussions.
  4. Use the Facebook Polls option to ask your friends and fans about what they prefer when it comes to your kind of service.
  5. Create a highly targeted ad that invites the right people to take a survey elsewhere online. (A good, free option to use is Survey Monkey or Pop Survey).
  6. Keep an eye on your mini news-feed (on the right hand side of your Facebook page) to see what other actions your Facebook fans are taking.

We’ll be looking at asking the right questions and growing your fan base on Facebook in the next post.

Need some assistance with Facebook marketing? Contact Renate on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za and book your workshop today.

Does your hotel need a Google+ page?

It is difficult to say yes or no to the question whether your hotel needs a Google+ page or not. The difficulty comes in when we think about the current activity on Google+. South Africans are not very focused on this social media platform, even though it offers quite a few benefits.

If you ask me, having a profile with your hotel’s basic information and posting once or twice per week might just do the trick for now. But that’s just me.

Google+

Google+

What are the benefits of having a Google+ page?

  • It increases your hotel’s search rankings and traffic on Google,
  • Therefore you will also have an increased web presence,
  • And a greater subject authority.
  • Google now devotes more energy to Google+ people and page suggestions than on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, so if you are on Google+, chances that you could be suggested in searches are better.
  • Google has made social media, specifically Google+, an integral part of every business’s SEO campaign. (SEO: Search Engine Optimization)
  • More customer engagement via the Google+ Local social features
  • Direct access to customers that you can connect with them on a more personal level, encourage feedback and ask for reviews.
  • Integration with Google Maps which allows customers to find more information like your hotel’s contact details, address, directions and hours of operation.

If you have a Google+ page, but you have neglected it because you were not sure how to use it, perhaps now is the time to at least update your profile and include the most important aspects into your profile, like:

  • Photos with descriptive captions that highlight your hotel / guesthouse / restaurant
  • A link to your website
  • Links to your other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and your blog
  • Videos

Even though Facebook and Twitter are the current leaders in Social Media in South Africa, Google+ might soon be the platform with the most SEO value to add due to its standard integration with Google’s search results. It would be a good idea if you start learning more about this platform in the meantime – small steps at a time.

For workshops on the basics of social media, contact Travelling Mystery Guest on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562.

My top 5 bucket list restaurants in Jo’burg

1. Cube Kitchen

With a dash of uniqueness attached to its stunningly beautiful food photography, the Cube Kitchen is definitely number one on my dining-in-Jo’burg bucket list. An intimate 30 seat tasting kitchen, they believe the table to be a source of fun and conversation. They encourage lengthy dinners with lots of wine, food and conversation – as long as you bring the wine (they are not licensed, which is a little sad). But it sounds like my kind of people and I’ll definitely pop in sooner than later. Visit their website here: http://www.cubekitchen.co.za/home

Restaurants

Restaurants

2. Leafy Greens Café

Their slogan, “Eat well, do good” caught my attention immediately. “Leafy G” is committed to producing food that has the lowest carbon footprint (food that it high in minerals and vitamins in its raw form). Therefore the menu also changes according to seasonality. Located in Muldersdrift the restaurant also offers a peaceful escape from the busy city life. Find more information about this vegan-friendly café here: http://www.leafygreens.co.za/

3. Schwabinger Stuben

After recently returning from Germany, I would love to visit this old fashioned, yet cozy Randburg Restaurant. Menu options include the traditional eisbein, schnitzel and German sausages and the atmosphere is apparently true to the classic Bavarian tavern. This restaurant seems to be the ideal down-to-earth dining option with good value for money. Contact them on 011 787 2550.

4. Lucky Bean Restaurant

Apparently, according to Food24, you are lucky if you’ve even just been there. This restaurant seems to have taken traditional South African cuisine to another level with Ostrich Bobotie Spring Rolls and a warm Jozi heart. Find them here: Lucky Bean Restaurant

5. The Good Luck Club

For the occasional craving of Asian food, this spot seems perfect! From creamy coconut juice and slow beers to ‘lucky wings’ with ginger, fish sauce, garlic, parsley and mint, this sounds like the best place to enjoy some Asian cuisine. Visit their website here: The Good Luck Club