Restaurants love travelers, so lets talk about how to make it easier for travelers to discover your restaurant. The Internet, Smartphones and Social Media has changed our lives in some many ways, I like to think the changes have made our lives easier. We have access to information literally at our fingertips 24/7. While some will complain that we miss the world going on around us, I like to think it makes the world an easier place to discover.
Trips can now be planned over-night, plans for the day can be made last minute and yes reservations can be acquired as you walk down the street.
Welcome to Key West – 90 miles from Cuba
I recently returned from a long weekend in Key West, Florida. I went on this trip without any prior knowledge to where we were going or what we were going to do. And the beauty of this was the 13 other people we met down there didn’t have a clue, either.
For some vacations are about unwinding, for others it’s disconnecting. For me it’s discovery, a little adventure now and then is good for the soul. These days my adventures occur with a Smartphone in my hand which provides me access to restaurants, entertainment, lodging and real time information customized to my taste. In my younger years I would take to the streets without as much as a map and enjoy the thrill in being clueless, sometimes it was a hit or miss. When you are in your twenties time is a luxury you can afford not to mention my tastes and needs have matured as well. These days I prefer to hedge my bet and rely on technology and my extended network for recommendations.
MediaPost.com recently wrote an article reinforcing this idea: Mobile Apps Offer Restaurants, Food Brands Marketing Opportunities
Let me set a scene for you, picture a group of people visiting a destination looking for places to eat, drink and be entertained. The group leaves and we take to the streets heading for the central district in this case Duval Street in Key West. As the hunger set in, a handful of us rely on our trusted personal transmitters equipped with geo-targeted capabilities aka Smartphones… to find a place to eat.
Finding a hidden treasure on vacation has never been easier thanks to mobile apps. I went back to Ana’s Cuban Cafe 3 times for this little cup of joy.
Here’s the fun part:
Friend A chose Google (Places for Business) to search for options. Google+ is quickly becoming the ultimate travel companion.
Friend B opted for Urbanspoon aka Your Foodie-Style Road Trip Guide.
Friend C went with Yelp, be wary as all reviews are not created equally.
As for me, I elected to go with Foursquare, which I consider the Ultimate Travel Tool.
Whether it’s Foursquare, Yelp, Google or Urban Spoon travelers rely on their smartphones to find trusted places to eat.
So what does this all mean? It means as a restaurant you better make sure you are taking advantage of the way diners search for restaurants. Whether the diners are living in your town, visiting for work, pleasure or planning a trip. Be resourceful and use the apps that are built for consumers to find your restaurant. Because if you don’t a competitor will be serving your customers for dinner. And while dining at your competition they just might be checking-in or taking pictures of the restaurant and endorsing future visitation to their network of friends. Ouch, double burn.
What do you do now restaurant owners and operators?
Fill out those profiles, list yourself on as many apps as you can. Since Foursquare is my app of choice lets outline how a business can get get started today.
This little baby makes maps obsolete.
Foursquare has now created an easy to follow 3 step process to help drive traffic to your restaurant or small business. Here they are:
1. Get Discovered – Claim your restaurant by setting up a Foursquare Account
2. Engage and Reward Customers – Crazy thought, share updates, news and information such as promotions, pictures or specials
3. Monitor Foot Traffic – Keep tabs on who’s frequenting your restaurant, when does traffic spike and what are your best days – hello free analytics!
Of course just listing yourself is not enough but when you combine this with a strategy and the right execution you can capture the low hanging fruit that might just being walking by your front door. Taking it one step further, in early August 2013 now check-in retargeting makes Foursquare behavior data actionable. If you add this along with the option for small businesses to create promoted listing, you have a highly targeted marketing tool.
Need more help getting started? Drop me a comment and I can help set you up with help and support. And if you are planning a trip to Key West you can follow my activity and tips on Foursquare here.
Do you have a trusted app that you rely on for dinging, entertainment or lodging? Share below your personal favorite and let me know what you like best about the app.