Building a new audience

The other year I was travelling around England and I stayed in a small hotel in the tiny seaside town of Portreath Cornwall. It was a Monday night in the middle of March and what should have been a quiet night wasn’t. I was surprised it was so busy because walking around the town earlier I noticed almost everything was shut.

When ordering our dinner, we got talking to the owner and she told me an interesting story about how they have built an audience on a Monday night.

First, I will tell you about the back story of this quaint little hotel.

The owners purchased the place about 17 months ago when it was in a bad state. The rooms were dark and dingy and the bistro area was unappealing and drab. They knew the first thing they had to do was renovate. So, they did. At great expense. The next thing was to build an audience.

The competition in the town consisted of 2 other hotels all with a history, all with a loyal following. The new owners had to find a way of getting noticed without the major spend on advertising. They tried local papers but with no result. Then they tried something different.

George Ezra.

building a new audience

Little did they know that talented singer-songwriter George Ezra was in town on a sabbatical to write new songs. He dropped into the local supermarket across the road asked the owner where he could get a Pint.  Lucky for the owners of the hotel the owner of the supermarket was a loyal patron of the hotel and said to George that he should drop into the pub across the road.  So, George did.

Enjoying the friendly atmosphere George got into a conversation with the owner, just as we did. Seizing the opportunity, the owner asked George for a photo. Getting ready for a selfie the owner asked George if he could stand behind the bar and pore a Pint. Being the nice guy George walked around picked up a glass and started to serve the next patron. Photo was taken. They then asked if they could share this moment on Facebook.

The hits kept coming

After a few days, the picture of George was viewed by over 200 thousand people. Enough to give the hotel some profile and interests for someone to notice.

Do what your competitors aren’t willing to do

Monday night burgers. At the same time the hotel decided to do what the others weren’t doing on Monday and that was opening. To do this they had a special burger night with different types of burgers each week. Compile this with the George Ezra Facebook post and you have a hit. We had to book in advance to get a table for dinner.

I’m not saying that everyone will have that celebrity walk in the door and give you profile. That was luck and opportunity. But what I am saying is that sometimes you need to look at your competitors and see what they are doing and what they are not doing and take a punt. The audience will not automatically come, you must give them a reason to do so.

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