The Big Big Burger & Chef’s Special Spectacular At City Garden Hotel Makati!

We recently where treated to a lunch “spectacular” with an awesome host Ms Rinna Reyes (F&B Manager), their corporate chef, Chef Dennis Peralta who prepared our lunch for the day and their story telling, always smiling head chef, Chef Mario Bassig. First read more

10 Awesome Questions to Ask Every Hotel & Restaurant Customer, Part 2

Your hotel and restaurant customers should be at the top of the list of people to get advice from. Why? Because these are the people that pay you money; your business runs because of them, so the least you can do is listen to their feedback.

So let us continue the 10 Awesome Questions to ask every customer you have right now!

6. What did you honestly think of our service?

I know that business owners might not want to ask this question because it is a tough one, but it has to be asked. You might not want to hear negative remarks from your customers. Just the same, after a customer has had the chance to experience your service, ask them what they honestly thought of your service. If they give you a flippant answer, ask again, and let them elaborate.

Now if you are squirming as you read this, you might have a problem, as you should be able to ask this question honestly and confidently without the fear of hearing the stark truth. So again, work hard to close the gaps. Take the time to review your entire sales and service experience. Then look for ways to improve them.

7. What is one thing that we could do better?

This question probes deeper. Even after you have done a great job, ask this question. Know your areas for improvement by asking, “Well if there was one thing we could do better, what would it be?” This is in the form of a searching question which a customer has to answer.

He will come up with an idea or suggestion that might have been overlooked, and it just might be the key to unlocking something very powerful about your business. So keep asking this question and do the necessary fixes here and there, and you’ll soon build an unstoppable business.

8. What else would you like us to sell or offer?

This question is a killer question and can seriously open the door to thousands or even millions of dollars in extra profits. But do not ask this question yet during sign up or even the delivery phase of your service.

Only ask this question when you have gained a sufficient rapport with you customer and you are talking like close friends. When you have established enough trust, ask them, “What else would you like us to sell?” Do not ask the question “What else would you like buy?” If you ask the “buy” question, people will normally say, “I’m fine right now.” Or they ask you, “Well what else can I buy?” This is a good conversation to have.

However the sell question will get you and your customer thinking about new products and services that you have not even contemplated yet. When you sell someone a product you solve a problem but you create another. And if you aren’t aware of the other problems you create, your customers will go elsewhere to solve them. For example, I help people increase their business profits. I solve the problem of not enough money and I create the problem of what they are going to do now with their extra profits.

So by asking this same question to my customers, I have learned that they like to know how to invest profits to build wealth and that they want to learn about protecting their income. So offering quality investment opportunities and business insurances are other areas I’ll be expanding into.

9. Do you know anyone that could benefit from working with us?

Again, ask this question only after you’ve provided an excellent customer experience. If you’ve done your job well, people will naturally want their friends to benefit in the same way they did. So ask the question and then pause and wait for a response. If they are hesitant to share names, it might be because of two reasons. It is either there might be some unresolved issues that need to be addressed or they are a little concerned that you will hard-sell their peers.

Both these issues can be resolved simply by talking honestly with your customer. However if you’ve done your job well, you’ll find that vast majority of people are only too happy to refer you to their family and friends. The reason why this is so powerful is: like attracts like.

If you have a great customer, generally all of their friends will also be great customers. So have fun with it. If you’ve built enough rapport, your customer will provide you with a list of names and numbers which you can follow-up!

10. Do you know any businesses we should align with?

This questions digs a little deeper into your customer’s psyche. Ultimately, if they allow it, you would want to find out as much information about them as you can – what magazines do they read, what shows do they watch, what personalities they listen to and where they shop.

By knowing these information you can develop a profile of your customers and this makes it easier to uncover new marketing or cross-promotional opportunities. You want to ask, “Do you know any companies we should align with?” By asking this question, people start thinking and after a few moments they say, “Yes you need to speak to my ‘ABC’ business and you should also talk to ‘XYZ’.”

This is great business, as you can contact these businesses and say, “One of our mutual customers John Smith suggested we talk. He sees an opportunity for us to work together that will benefit us both ways. Are you open to meeting for coffee so we can discuss some ideas?” And just like that, you are in.

Your customers hold the key to unlocking untold profits for your business. So constantly seek their feedback in a meaningful and purposeful way. Grab a pen and spend the next ten minutes planning out how and when you are going to integrate these questions into your business.

If you need to make graphs to put on desks – do it. Or if you already have scripts or process maps, find a way to work these in. Finally, if you have a team, get all your team members involved in this activity.

So run training on these questions and then have a monthly meeting where staff can share what they have learned. If you do this process right, your hotel and restaurant business will reap the awesome rewards.

Effective and Low Cost Marketing Strategies for Any Hotel and Restaurant Owner

Marketing need not cost you an arm and a leg!

Below are effective and low cost marketing strategies that you might have overlooked. What’s more awesome is they are so easy to do.

Discover these eight easy and incredibly low cost marketing strategies that you could easily apply to your own hotel and restaurant business right now:

1. Do the unfamiliar – If you want a better outcome for your hotel and restaurant then you must change your routines. Expand your network and attend functions. Be prepared to tell people exactly what you have on offer and do not be afraid to ask for business.

2. Get new business from referrals – We are all connected. Everyone can be your prospective customer or knows someone who is a potential customer. Do not be shy to enlist the help of your family, friends, associates, and neighbours to help you grow your business.

3. Set up strategic partnerships – If there are businesses that can refer customers to you and you can refer customers to them, give them a call and go and see them. Set up a more formal arrangement, exchange brochures, get to know their business, and start referring as soon as you can.

4. Be visible – Stand in front of a crowd, send letters to the editor, look for relevant local organizations to join or become a head of at least one. Distribute your business card to as many people as possible.

5. Volunteer your time for public service – If you just make time for it, you can be referred to businesses just by being a good corporate citizen and helping out in local charities or events. Make time for it and get well rewarded in many surprising ways.

6. Use a blackboard – Surprisingly, you will be amazed by how much business you can get from simply putting a blackboard outside your hotel and restaurant.

7. Ask your customers for ideas – Take some time to sit down with a few of your customers and ask them for ideas to help you grow your hotel and restaurant. They will generally have some very interesting ideas that you may not have thought of. Smart hotel and restaurant owners are always very open to other people’s ideas, and who better to look for ideas than your existing loyal customers? They get to feel good because you asked for their opinion and you get some great advice (hopefully) for free.

8. Do not underestimate the power of simple, thoughtful gestures – Look for ways to do the little things for your customers that other hotel and restaurants won’t bother to do – remember names, give them an on-the-spot discount, and always look for ways to exceed their expectations.

Now, get out there and start applying these eight easy and incredibly low cost marketing strategies. If you do need help executing any of these strategies, you can always personally email me on Jay@theBizVo.com to help you get started.

10 Awesome Questions to Ask Every Hotel & Restaurant Customer, Part 1

Sadly, most hotel and restaurant business owners hesitate to ask for advice.

They prefer to use the old trial-and-error method so they do something even though they are not sure it would work, and if it does not give them the desired result, then try something else again, try and try different methods until eventually they achieve the fruits of their hard work.

The problem with this is it will take you many years to get the results you want, and by that time, many business owners have gone broke. You can easily avoid this simply by asking your customers for advice.

Your customers should be at the top of the list of people to get advice from. Why? Because these are the people that pay you money; your business runs because of them, so the least you can do is listen to their feedback.

Now you may be wondering, ‘How do I get advice from my awesome customers?’

Well, you ask awesome questions, of course. And the better the questions, the more potent the answers. Here are my 10 favourite questions we have found for every hotel and restaurant customer:

1. How did you learn about our business?

I have always been curious as to the most profitable marketing method employed by hotel and restaurant owners, that is why when I get the chance to talk to them, I ask them about this. Their common reply is that they do not have any idea why customers come to them.

This is what I call the ‘let’s-throw-some-mud-at-the-wall-and-hope-something-sticks’ mentality. This may work for a period of time, however as you become more successful, you are going to attract more competition. When this happens you can’t afford to waste your energy and resources.

In today’s high competition among hotel and restaurant owners, your survival will depend largely on your ability to determine effective marketing strategies and what marketing strategies must be abandoned. Hotel and restaurant owners must make it a point to ask their customers these awesome questions:

“So how did you know about our business?” and “How did you learn about our product or service?”

You can reiterate these questions although you may sound annoying because your goal is to know the real cause of their patronage. Train your staff to do this with reminders listing all core activities and tell them to mark down the results of every response, and then tally up the results at the end of each week. After gathering the results, the logical thing to do is to take their feedback into consideration.

Enhance and improve on what’s working and stop what does not serve your customers.

2. What made you decide to buy our product or avail of our service?

This is a simple question that many business owners fail to ask. I often ask them why customers buy from them, and all I get are blank stares. It seems that they do not have any inkling as to the buyers’ psyche, and that they do not even take time to explore this issue. From now on, ask everyone this question.

In fact, to fast-track things, you can even ask retrospectively. Spend a couple of hours, call fifty past customers – you’ll be amazed with what you would learn. In fact when one of my clients did this, the number one reason they got was, “Because you always greet me with a smile and remember my name.” Imagine what it is really costing you when you hire an unfriendly person!

3. What were the factors you considered during the buying process?

It is important to ask this to your customers to know how the decision making process works for them. What works for someone may not work for others because each customer has different preferences and motivations. You need to discover what works for others and what turns them off. Afterwards, think of ways to address their resistance.

Some people might have second thoughts on whether they really need to buy your product. In that case, a smart business owner can offer a seven-day money-back guarantee to remove those hesitances. It pays to know the issues and remove them as fast as you can.

4. After using our product/availing of our service, what problems were solved?

Most people buy products or services to solve problems. But again, when I talk to business owners, most don’t know the problems that their product or service solve. By not knowing this information, it makes it extremely difficult to market your product or service.

So ask your customers, “Once you used our product/service what problems of yours were solved?” If they are unable to respond straight away, stay with this line of questioning. Keep asking the same question, but word your query differently. Your job here is to dig deeper and uncover the often subconscious reasons why people make decisions.

Then when you have this information, talk to your marketing team and they can turn these insights into great headlines, powerful images or even special promotions. Make your prospective customers feel that you understand exactly what they feel so they will have an instant connection with your product or service.

5. When is your birthday?

This is a really easy one. All you have to do is add one extra field to your customer sign up form – Date of Birth (DOB). Just add another column after the email address and before the phone numbers. They will fill it out and won’t even give it a second thought.

Then ensure that the dates are entered into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and program it to email your receptionist five days before someone’s birthday. A thoughtful business owner sees to it that during the customer’s birthday, the latter will be surprised with a handwritten card or note and/or a little present.

It is not the cost of the present that counts but the thought that goes with it. This is one way to make them feel special and loved, and this thoughtful gesture evokes positive feelings to your business.

More questions to come in Part 2 of this blog.

Three Guaranteed Ways to Double Your Hotel and Restaurant Sales

I’m sure the ultimate desire of many hotel and restaurant owners is to watch their businesses grow. However, most hotel and restaurant owners that we meet experience the same problem in time management – they are not able to devote enough time to stop and think of strategies and techniques that will make tremendous impact to their businesses.

Do you know that there are three main strategies to double your hotel and restaurant business? And I believe it is time that you benefit from this awesome knowledge.

The three strategies to double your business are the following: get more customers for your business; get customers spending more; and get customers coming to you more often. The strategies are very effective when implemented one by one, but they produce awesome results when utilized together. This is where awesomeness happens because these time-tested strategies have a multiplying effect on each other, similar to a compound interest. Let us discuss them in more detail.

1. Get More Customers

The first and obvious way is to get more customers for your hotel and restaurant. The number of your existing customers is proportionate to your profits. So simply double the number of your customers to double your profits. Sounds simple but it is also the hardest and most expensive way.

It takes a lot to get new customers because you have to build a relationship with them. They may need multiple contacts with you and your brand before they can recognize your presence, earn their trust, and do business with you.

2. Get Customers Spending More

The second way is to get customers spending more. Up-sells are the most common way to achieve this, as best exemplified in common culture by McDonalds’ “Do you want fries with that?” Apply this to your own hotel and restaurant and ponder on the possible up-sell you could apply at the time of purchase for your customers.

An ideal up-sell compliments and adds value to the original purchase, but it should not be something that the customer expects to have been included in the original purchase. For example, if your customer registered online for a ‘3 night room accommodation to one of your higher rooms,’ then a good logical up-sell is a ‘1hr full body massage,’ rather than the standard buffet breakfast that most hotel customers would already be used to.

In today’s Internet Age we are fortunate because of the ease and convenience in increasing order value. There are available commerce store platforms like Shopify where you can buy Apps that allow you to easily create up-sells without having to write a single line of code.

Hotel and restaurant owners can also think of ways to influence customers to spend more by offering bundles of related products. In this method, there are two or three products added to the purchase together as a bundle, and the customer can avail of a discount on the purchase.

3. Get Customers Coming Often

Finally, the third main way to double your hotel and restaurant is to get customers coming and the buying from you more often. You can best do this with strategically designed “nurture sequences” and marketing funnels. Follow up with your customers persistently so that they remember to buy frequently. One of the best examples with my hotel clients is what we referred to as ‘Room Recommendations for You,’ based on things that the customer has previously purchased or has inquired about.

Relationships with customers do not end after a sale. You need to follow up with them so they will be encouraged to make additional purchases. The usual way to do this is through email marketing. Another way is through retargeting where you input tracking codes to your site that allows you to follow site visitors as they navigate around the web. Facebook remarketing is now getting highly developed and something we regularly implement with our Business Evolution clients; it has come up with parts that guide buyers as they purchase one product to another based on pages on your site and scope of marketing funnel.

If you apply this to your hotel and restaurant business, imagine what would happen to your earnings if you increase your registration page conversion by 10%; add a low price product sale (what we in marketing refer to as tripwire) behind the registration; add an up-sell behind the tripwire; improve your phone sales script conversion by 10%; make an email follow up sequence; launch a Facebook re-marketing campaign; and then increase your targeted traffic by 10%? The awesome result: a massive increase in your leads, sales and profitability that enables you to double your hotel and restaruant business.

Take some time to focus strategically about your business as a whole and not just each little task that you need to do. Pull all the levers in your business, sit back, and watch it multiply.

We have found the exact medicine prescribed for growth of most hotels and restaurants. If you haven’t had the chance to meet me in person and learn these strategies and more, grab your Business Evolution eBrochure! We can certainly help you escape work early, take more holidays, and still make record profits with these cutting edge business automation tools and marketing breakthroughs!

The Most Profitable Hotel and Restaurant Marketing Strategy Ever

A hotel and restaurant owner should never run out of ideas to market his or her business. Many business books have been written with hundreds of different marketing strategies about sales and marketing; however, the key is to discover three or five strategies that are suited to your hotel and restaurant. Study the marketing strategies that you think will work for you and implement them.

Hotel and Restaurant owners consider Partnership Marketing, also called “Strategic Partners” or “Strategic Alliances” or “Joint Ventures” as the best marketing strategy of all time. In this method, you evaluate your business and think of other businesses that complement your product or service. These companies should not be your competitors although you have the same or similar customers.

Create an agreement with these companies that you will promote their product or service to your customers on the condition that they will do the same for your business. For a restaurant business, complementary businesses might be businesses offering condiments, drinks, suppliers of poultry, fruits and vegetables, and many other related businesses.

It is a simple process but if you learn more about it and master this art, you are on your way to massive and lasting business success. Here are five of the many reasons why Partnership Marketing is a smarter way to do business:

1. It is Faster

It is a lot faster and easier to find one business that will endorse you to their 1,000 customers rather than find a thousand new customers one at a time. To make better use of your time and finances, you would surely choose the first option. Write down a list of all your prospective partners then do some research on their businesses as to how you can add value to them.
Once you figure this out, give them a call, email or visit the office, and state that you are open for a partnership agreement with that company. Brainstorm on how you can help each other and better serve your customers.

2. It is Cheaper

Some businesses can afford to spend more than $100 just to generate a new lead, but that applies only to stable businesses. For a business that is just starting out, that would not be a smart financial move. A business would have to spend $100,000 to acquire those 1,000 leads – a large amount of investment that you only hope you could retrieve.

In a Partnership Marketing agreement, you do not have to shell out a large amount of money. Your investments would be a few hours to set up tracking links and write promotional emails. You would also spend a few hundred dollars to print some brochures and leaflets that will go into your partner’s next direct mail campaign.

3. It is More Effective

When a business owner does traditional marketing, most of the leads coming in do not turn to be customers because although many of those leads might want and need the product or service you offer, they might be skeptical or need more time to decide to buy. However, when your business is promoted or endorsed by a person or a company that is already trusted or credible, that power of being a trusted brand is automatically crowned to you.

This is called endorsed marketing, where you will not only get leads, but it will be much easier to convert these leads into sales. This means you accomplish the sales cycle quickly, bringing money into your company faster and leaving your business with more funds.

4. It Helps Your Customers

This is an important point that often gets forgotten. When customers buy and use your product, they will also need other complementary products or services. Hence, they will seek these products or services on their own and if you give them a hand, they will be grateful for your assistance.

In this way, you will also help them stay away from scams or illegal operators. If you know trustworthy companies and inform your customers about them, that is a value-added service for your customers. And satisfied customers will be loyal to you and will toot your horns for you.

5. It is Good for Your Brand

A business that is only starting out naturally has still an unknown or less known brand. Through partnerships, a new business will appear bigger than it actually is. By simply displaying the logo of your partner companies on your website, people will feel that you have more influence because of these associations and at the same time, you are a smart choice for your customers.

This will benefit your business because your partners will bring you new leads, and you will be better positioned to more convert your own leads easily. Existing partnership marketing will also facilitate new partners for your business and push your alliances to the top.