84 – How to Market Your Hotel’s Breakfast Options

by | September 29, 2021

In this episode of the Suite Spot, Host Ryan Embree discusses how hotels can market their breakfast offerings in order to set and exceed expectations for future guests.

Hotel breakfast was one of the most impacted pieces of the guest experience during the pandemic and it’s critical for hoteliers to communicate accurate messaging and information surrounding breakfast offerings for travelers moving forward. Ryan shares some innovative ideas around how to market your hotel’s breakfast amenity on social media and how to leverage online review response as an effective communication tool. This episode is a great resource for hoteliers looking to relaunch and refresh their breakfast options for 2022 and beyond.

If you are interested in learning more about how Travel Media Group can help market your hotel’s breakfast options or to submit a question for future episodes, call or text 407-984-7455.

Episode Transcript
Our podcast is produced as an audio resource. Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and human editing and may contain errors. Before republishing quotes, we ask that you reference the audio.

Ryan Embree:
Welcome to Suite Spot, where hoteliers check in and we check out what’s trending in hotel marketing. I’m your host, Ryan Embree.

Ryan Embree:
Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of the Suite Spot. This is your host, Ryan Embree. Thank you so much for listening wherever you are listening from out there. We’ve got a great episode for you today. It’s just myself, but we’re going to be talking about really just a minor piece of the travelers’ hotel experience with some major, major implications. In fact, we do an annual episode counting down the top five sentiment tags that our professional review response team identifies and uncovers in guest reviews of all of our hotel partners’ reviews that we respond to. So we are talking more than a hundred thousand reviews that we are responding to annually. We take all of that data and we look at those sentiment tags and we uncover the top five. We’re actually going to be having our 2021 episode here within the next couple episodes.

Ryan Embree:
But back in 2020, one of those tags was breakfast. As I mentioned before, very small piece of the traveler experience, but such an impact on the entire stay. Breakfast has become almost this expectation for a lot of hotels; that free hot breakfast is such a feature and amenity that can’t be overstated to a guest. But an extremely popular tag, even in the times of 2020, where we didn’t see a lot of travelers come through, this was a hot subject because hotels really had to rethink the breakfast experience at their property. Now, prior to COVID, you know, you could have business travelers sitting there with a cup of coffee in the morning and newspaper, kind of taking their time, a family enjoying their breakfast, you know, pancakes, waffles, everything like that, breakfast buffets, all of that good stuff. But now the game has kind of changed there. Hotels had to go to breakfast on the go.

Ryan Embree:
They still had to provide breakfast to their guests, but in a different light. Now in 2021, as the Delta variant is making a huge impact on hospitality, and as we enter the fall and winter months, the expectations for breakfast has completely changed from traveler to traveler. We’ve mentioned this in multiple podcasts, a lot of the educational webinars that I’m doing right now, the spectrum of guest expectations are all over the place. It’s never been like this in the history of the industry before. You could have a traveler walk into your hotel lobby expecting that hot breakfast buffet like they had before, back in 2019 and prior. And they don’t want to change in that breakfast experience. And then you could have the guests right after come into your lobby and want a breakfast on the go. They don’t feel comfortable sitting in a breakfast area with multiple travelers that have traveled all over the country, congregated in a confined space.

Ryan Embree:
So hotels are trying to manage these expectations and figure out how to accommodate both of these types of guests. So today’s episode, as you can imagine, is really going to be about how to rethink and how to market your hotel breakfast options, whatever they are out there. So we are going to move throughout the spectrum because we know some parts of the country are experiencing different local restrictions and policies. So the first place, of course we love to start is social media. This is going to be the best place that you can communicate and start to set expectations for travelers that are going to be coming through your doors. As we enter the fall season, I think one of the things that really stands out about breakfast is the ability to offer seasonal breakfast items, right? We’ve all heard of the pumpkin spice latte. This could be an opportunity for you to do some seasonal breakfast items and advertise and market that across your social media platforms. Get people excited, but at the same time setting the expectations of what they can expect.

Ryan Embree:
So if you’re still doing a breakfast on the go out there, and you have pumpkin flavored muffins or something like that, make sure you’re mentioning in that post, that all of our breakfast to go items for each of our guests include this pumpkin muffin that will be included in your breakfast. You know, if you’re doing something a little bit more like the breakfast of old, sharing a picture of maybe some guests enjoying their breakfast with some seasonal decorations in your breakfast area. Another really cool idea that we’ve seen throughout the pandemic became very popular is going live and, you know, sharing tutorials for drinks, specialty breakfast drinks. You know, if you’ve got a bar or full service restaurant in your hotel, why not share a post about how to do a Bloody Mary bar or a recipe for a yummy mimosa. Keeping a rolling calendar of breakfast-inspired holidays, right?

Ryan Embree:
We’ve, we know all of these National Waffle or Doughnut or Pancake Day, you know, keeping that calendar in your back pocket is just another opportunity for you to educate your travelers and really market and advertise the type of breakfast experience that they can expect while on property. Another really cool idea is doing some social media contest. For example, if you’re seeing a lot of families, if you’re in a leisure destination, and you’re seeing a lot of families come through your hotel, why not do a social media contest for a pancake decorating contest. Where if you’re serving breakfast in your hotel, having some of the kids decorate some pancakes and then sharing that to social media. Everyone loves those types of posts. You’ll obviously get the likes and shares from those guests that, that are being mentioned and shared. So just another way to expand your audience.

Ryan Embree:
We know right now staffing is such a huge problem. So hotels might want to offer that hot breakfast like they have in the past, but they might just not have the staff to do so. So doing a breakfast-to-go is another option for you that we saw through the pandemic. Just making sure that you’re including that in places like your website and social media is absolutely critical because if they’re seeing outdated information or have an expectation of a full service breakfast, when they enter your property, those expectations aren’t met, you’re going to see that on the other side of your reputation, through reviews and negatively impacting that experience. Another great idea that we’ve heard and shared with our hotel partners is partnering up with local businesses, breakfast cafes, coffee shops around the corner. This is the time where hospitality, restaurant and hotel alike should really be kind of forming this alliance

Ryan Embree:
and these new partnerships. With Uber eats, guests expect on demand service from their food. Why not reach out to one of your local businesses, maybe around the corner that could do some delivery for travelers during the breakfast time. And then another great idea is a food truck event. Having food trucks, you know, breakfast tacos out in your parking lot that will bring a lot of social awareness to your property and could get you a lot of shares and likes, especially if those vendors are taking pictures of the hotel or the area and they’re sharing their location. So all things to keep in mind when we’re talking about how to market your breakfast on social media. Another suggestion that we share, especially for those looking to target the younger, maybe Gen Z or Millennial traveler out there is sharing healthy breakfast options.

Ryan Embree:
So maybe going away from the historical, you know, scrambled eggs and bacon and sausage, and maybe promoting some, you know, egg whites, turkey bacon, fruit. You know, this, this type of stuff goes a long way for that type of traveler that’s looking for more healthy options. We have just been hearing over the last year about how important our health is. So providing those healthy breakfast options–extremely important and could be very attractive to travelers that might be just at the end of the decision making process and, and see something like this on your social media and say, “Yeah, listen, I’d love to wake up and have some, you know, egg whites, turkey bacon, and fruit. It looks like this property across the street doesn’t even offer anything like that.” The same is an article that we found on sustainable and ethical coffee. Creating a story about your food and beverage sourcing, whether it’s sustainable, local products.

Ryan Embree:
This goes a long way in the eyes, especially of those younger travelers. So sharing the story of how you’re sourcing your food and beverage items like coffee, for example, you know, locally sourced food. This can be extremely important to that younger generation that’s looking for these types of initiatives from businesses, and it’s actually having an impact on their purchasing decisions, so keep that in mind. The other piece of the puzzle here is our reputation management and review response. So obviously we’ve done a great job on our social media marketing and advertising our breakfast, but where are some other areas, some gaps, that we can set proper expectation about our hotels breakfast experience that guests can anticipate when they arrive on property. Review response and reviews is that area. We’ve talked about it before on this podcast, how important review response is and a way to just reiterate what makes your property special.

Ryan Embree:
If someone rants and raves about loving your breakfast on a five star review, you know, speak to that in your review response. Talk about what you serve at the, at the property. This is an opportunity for you to use this as a billboard and an ad on sites like TripAdvisor, Google, and OTAs to influence bookings. Breakfast used to be a great opportunity for hoteliers, GMs, and owners to learn about people and their stay. A good GM or a front desk manager would be in that breakfast area, talking to the guests, asking what brought them there, what they like about their experience so far, what they’re doing on property, all of these things gave clues to how to improve the guest experience at the property. But now with COVID-19, and the Delta variant specifically, that opportunity has been taken away from hoteliers for almost a year and a half.

Ryan Embree:
So how do we get that insights and sentiment from guests if we’re not able to speak with them face to face? And the answer to that is things like sentiment analysis through review response. In our last episode, we talked about this incredible update that we did to our advanced sentiment reporting that will go specifically into areas of your hotel experience like breakfast. We have hotels that are going into these tags and they’re making changes to their breakfast. Maybe they’re adding some healthy breakfast options, or they went with a new coffee vendor. What our hotel partners have the chance to do is see how that change impacted guest experience. So if all of a sudden they’re noticing patterns and trends that they’re getting more negative reviews based around breakfast, that change didn’t go over well and guests are not liking it. They’ll have to make adjustments. On the other side of the coin,

Ryan Embree:
if their star rating starts to improve, we know that those changes work and that’s the type of insights and data that we’re able to provide our hotel partners. We even have a specific score assigned to breakfast. So I’ll give you an example here and kind of show you how to improve your online reputation just by using this sentiment score around breakfast. So if a hotel went into their OneView® feed and went into their sentiment analysis reporting that we provided them and saw the average score of a review that mentioned breakfast is 3 stars, but yet their overall score is a 3.5. That means that that breakfast is bringing down and weighting down their overall score. If they were to improve their breakfast, and let’s say, get that breakfast tag score up to a 3.5, that would push their overall score even higher. So identifying those areas that are seen as problems or places that expectations aren’t being met to the guests can help you improve your overall score.

Ryan Embree:
Breakfast is a huge part of that. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, it was a top five sentiment tag in 2020, so extremely important today. I hope everyone got some, you know, some, some really cool ideas about how you can incorporate your hotel’s breakfast into your marketing and advertising through social media and review response. As always, if you’re looking for more information on this, some more cool ideas, please visit our website@travelmediagroup.com, or you can reach out to us at (407) 984-7455. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time on the Suite Spot. To join our loyalty program, be sure to subscribe and give us a five-star rating on iTunes. Suite Spot is produced by Travel Media Group with cover art by Bary Gordon. I’m your host, Ryan Embree, and we hope you enjoyed your stay.

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