The changing face of advertising

 

The internet has been changing the way we advertise for a number of years now and most leisure based businesses have a website and more and more are offering free Wifi on their premises. But do businesses within the leisure sector need to go further?

 

A website needs to be “live”. That means that you need to have regular updates on your website. Make sure you are putting new photos on so people can see what is on offer. Why not add a video to the website – but keep it short. 30seconds to a minute is as much as people want. It was found in a recent study that the most common activity carried out in the pre-booking stage is looking at online photos. The same study revealed over half the people looked at reviews on trip advisor before booking and 73% of these people said the online reviews were the reason they had booked.

 

Wifi is a must now. In the same online survey as mentioned above Wifi ranked higher on the list of key/desirable facilities than leisure facilities. (54% v 30%). The cost of Wifi can be high but it does qualify for the Annual investment allowance so you will get up to 100% of the cost allowed against tax in the first year (exact amount will depend on other capital expenditure in the year). The key thing is to let potential customers know you have this facility or any facilities for that matter.

 

Recent figures show that 52% of consumers used a mobile device to book travel last year. A Mobile version of a traditional website is needed to make booking from a tablet or smart phone an easier experience. The growth is expected to increase with experts saying that searches from a tablet will increase by 180% in the next year. Searches on a desktop computer are set to reduce by 4% in the same period.

 

Facebook is now accessed by 24m users around the world. Facebook has embraced advertising and there are many ways to promote your business both paid and unpaid. Before embarking on Facebook advertising you need to consider what you are trying to achieve and how you will know you have achieved it? It is important to check your target market will see the posts. For example, in terms of being likely to purchase something on the back of a Facebook add or post, it is the 30-40 year olds. Therefore if your target market is 60+ then the time and cost of this form of advertising is unlikely to be recouped via increased takings/bookings.

 

Whatever form of marketing you are doing you need to make sure you can measure if it is working. It could be that to add online advertising will cost you nothing extra in your marketing budget if you can identify a current method which is no longer bringing in the customers. The message from the recent Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester was that the marketing budget had to be constantly reviewed to ensure it was still value for money and that owners of leisure businesses have to embrace technology and the alternative marketing available through technology.

 

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