Brand Control Part III: The Traffic Game (continued)

PART III of IV (continued)

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This is the second half of Part III in our Brand Control series. Throughout this series, we’re looking at how you can grab control of your business, your customers, and your brand through freely available tools and strategies.

This series has included:

Part I: The Numbers Game
Part II: The Linking Game
Part II: The Linking Game, (continued)
Part III: The Traffic Game

The Reclamation Process Step I

What happens when the links to a restaurant’s listings are redirected to the restaurant’s own website? What happens when we add some basic search engine optimization?

Let’s find out…

Here’s a nearly identical search for a similar restaurant in the same area, which is still using a 3rd party reservation booking engine as a service; however, they’ve made changes to reclaim their brand:

SampleSearch_B_flt

 

There’s still a lot to do, but the results are clear: this restaurant’s website is its own booking engine. It has nearly full control of it’s own database, as all but one of the links above put the restaurant in charge of the customer’s data-footprint. As we know, this can be incredibly valuable.

Let’s compare the above search results side-by-side in a more visually-friendly manner. (Click for a larger version in new window.) What happens when your brand is first? What happens when your brand has been hijacked?

BM_OT_Small_flt

Let’s also take a closer look at what’s going on when all the other “portals” show up ahead of your restaurant and redirect your customers to portals:

RestaurantBrand_Hijacked_flt

 

As discussed above, the last 15 years have seen a dramatic paradigm shift in how we do business. The concept of a “portal” was valid several years ago, when new ways to find businesses began emerging. The problem now is these large companies have reached a tipping point of efficacy. Restaurants at the top will do well, but they are at the top because they run their business by providing great food, service, ambiance and value. It’s not because of some hocus-pocus conjured up by a divine guest-whispering technology service.

Ironically, the top restaurants are always destination restaurants; they are the ones that generate the most traffic for the portal. They also get to pay the highest bills, even though they need the service the least! If anybody “needs” anybody, the portal site needs these restaurants. It’s certainly not the other way around.

The ones at the bottom won’t see a benefit. They’re likely at the bottom because they’re not doing what great restaurants do, such as creating a world-class dining experience. They may be under the impression that technology will fix their business and bring them more customers. Those in the middle may see boosts from time to time; they may get some overflow when the top level restaurants get booked, but they are never as busy as they’d like to be.

Action Steps:
Important: An impactful, memorable experience for your guests is essential to realize the potential of these recommendations.

  1. Implement a Brand Management System:
    • System must consistently monitor your reputation with ease.
    • Constantly post fresh content on your chosen social media networks. (Should be at least 3 to 4 different networks.)
    • Engage in monthly/bi-weekly email and/or text marketing campaigns.
    • Monitor the growth of your social media networks to ensure your efforts are having an impact.
      • Adjust when necessary!
  2. Master The Art of the Moment:
    Engineer the best possible guest experience, what we like to call The Art of the Moment, that instant when something lively and memorable happens.

    • The guest perception of an expected experience.
    • Our ability to consistently project a better-than-expected rendition of that experience

    When these two come together, magic happens.

Follow these action steps, success is now at your doorstep. This is where the “Traffic Game” is won.

In Part IV of Brand Control, we’ll look at moving beyond the old “portal” paradigm. We will focus on rebuilding your restaurant from the inside out and getting back to the basics that make great restaurants so popular. Only here, we can use technology to the benefit of our customers and the business.