Keys to communication for remote work and travel

Freedom is one of the main reasons why someone chooses to work as a freelancer. The freedom to choose their own schedule, set their own rules, work their own way, etc. Sometimes freelancers and people with remote jobs want to take this one step further and they start using their freedom to become what we call Digital Nomads. A Digital Nomad is someone that travels the world while doing remote work. You may have a part-time job, but like many other ways of living, the digital nomad lifestyle requires a full-time commitment.

One of the challenges that you face when travelling while working is communicating effectively with your team or clients. They need to be able to trust you, so you need to be there for them and ready to answer when a situation requires it.

In this post, we’ll give you some advice to help you improve your long-distance communications without keeping you from enjoying your travel to its fullest. Don’t expect a list of tools, but best practices and things to keep in mind to avoid future problems.

Get used to different time zones

If you are travelling the world while remote working, you’ll likely be in a different time zone from the rest of your team or clients. This already adds some complications but, usually, when working as part of a remote team or with more than one client, you’ll have to learn to work with multiple time zones at the same time while you keep changing yours every few months.

Tools like Slack will tell you the local hour of your teammates, but you won’t always be using Slack, so try to keep a general understanding of everyone’s time zones to plan accordingly. If you’re in Bali, Indonesia and you need to talk with your co-worker in Medellin, Colombia about a deadline that’s getting close then you’ll have to wake up early in the morning or stay after 8:00 pm to catch them. It is a small concession to give you the opportunity to live this lifestyle.

If you’re freelancing, and one of your clients is in Lisbon, Portugal; the other one in Cape Town, South Africa; and another in New York City, US; you’ll have to be very careful of your deadlines and the work that needs to be done for each one because we’re talking about three completely different times of the day. Clients are concerned with their deadlines, not with your sleep habits. If you don’t want all that to turn your travel experience into a mess, keep a general awareness of everyone’s time zone and plan accordingly.

Find a coworking space

Ok, the majority of us became remote workers or started freelancing because we didn’t want to be near a cubicle. But, having a stable place you can work from will become necessary sooner rather than later. The act of going to a workplace triggers healthy work habits that will help you to stay connected and stay productive.

In coworking spaces, you’ll have everything you need to work comfortably and you can find them in most cities around the world. Also, you can find like-minded people that prefer remote working. Talk with them and they can share tips with you and maybe even a new destination to check out.

Illustration from slack website (https://slack.com/intl/en-mx/)

Direct communication: Slack and its alternatives

For remote workers, having a direct communication channel is essential. You’ll use it to plan and work on projects, send files, ask questions, ask for help when you need it, or send memes during breaks (or during a meeting). Usually, you won’t give a lot of thought to choosing the best method or platform to use. You might even try to just use WhatsApp or another instant messaging app, this might work in some cases… But, in general, it is a terrible idea.

What could go wrong?

If you work with more than one client or you are part of a team, you’ll notice very quickly how these apps lack the features you need to keep effective communication channels without losing your mind. You need to be able to categorise communications, search for information quickly, send and receive files, keep track of multiple conversations at the same time, and depending on the kind of work you do this list could be bigger.

Trying this on WhatsApp can be tricky. Switching from a personal account to a business account can help keep things more organised if you prefer this type of communication. You can categorise by client, by work type and by team. And, as we have found, many phone plans have WhatsApp as a free service, not deducting from data plans. This means no matter how many messages or files shared there are no extra charges at the end of the month. It doesn’t have a solution for every communication problem, so there are some alternatives to consider.

What platform to use

As of now, the quintessential solution to apps like WhatsApp, whether you’re a freelancer or a remote worker, are Slack and its alternatives. Skype is useful for calls, but that is pretty much it. Whatever tool you decide to use, just remember to keep in mind what features you need to keep everything organised and easy to find. Here is a quick list of things that an effective tool should provide you with:

  • Organised conversations with groups and individuals
  • Quick access to previous messages, search-ability
  • File management
  • Native integration with other tools you use (or at least allow you to integrate through Zapier/IFTTT)
  • A mobile app, preferably
  • A way to turn it off when you won’t be available

Ok, I found a tool I like, now what?

Now, these tools are only useful if you keep effective communication habits. Check your messages in a timely manner, but don’t let them interrupt your work, especially if maintaining focus isn’t easy for you. Try to stay aware of the general state of each project you’re working on to know if you should be expecting messages that require your immediate attention. If that’s the case, you should be checking all new messages as they come, but avoid answering immediately if it isn’t necessary. If there aren’t any emergencies right now, just take small breaks from work every few minutes to send and answer messages. Communication is important, but you can be absorbed by chats easily if you don’t set priorities.

Asynchronous communication

You don’t always have to answer in real time to keep effective communication with your team or clients. Frequently, your first conversation will happen through email. This gives you a few hours to answer without causing any trouble. In some cases, this is the most effective way to communicate, for example company announcements, general reminders, weekly status updates if teams are too big, etc.

Email is the most common option, but it’ll get messy sooner or later, so what many remote teams use is a specialised tool like Fridayapp or Twist for specific purposes and then they allow email notifications. A CRM is a great way to keep everyone on the same page regarding any activity with a lead or client.

For this type of communication, you should set apart specific times a day to check new messages and update everyone. This type of communication is designed to add structure to establish workflows and reduce distractions from matters that don’t need an immediate input from you, but you still need to participate.

Work-life balance for digital nomads

Travelling the world, enjoying the benefits of a remote job, can be a liberating experience, especially if you have trouble managing your work-life balance. But even though the digital nomad lifestyle can free you from many of those problems, it comes with its own set of issues for your healthy work-life balance. If you’re going to be travelling frequently, you need to consider the time you’ll spend searching for accommodation, a new place to work, food, and all the activities you plan to do. This is time your availability could be limited, and you can’t wait to the last minute to let everyone know that you will be busy for a week.

You don’t want your work to become an obstacle to enjoy your travels, but you don’t want your travels to become an obstacle to getting your work done. The best way to keep that from happening is getting your work done on time, communicating frequently, and setting clear boundaries. Letting your messages and work pile up will make a mess of your schedule and take time away from you that you could have been spent going on that tour you planned for next weekend.

Always think about WiFi

Being a digital nomad, your work depends on your internet connection, so let everyone know if you’re going to be away from a reliable WiFi source. In many cases being away from notifications will give you time to rest and recharge your batteries, but if it’s not your day off it can make you anxious, especially if you couldn’t notify anyone that you’ll be away. This won’t help you enjoy your lifestyle and it surely won’t help your performance at work, so keep it in mind when planning your days. It is always best to be open with your clients if you think you might lose signal for a bit.

If you want to scout out public WiFi, there are some handy apps to use. Check your app store to see which work for the areas you are travelling. Depending on where you are, you could easily find a coffee shop with free WiFi.

Remote communication takeaways

Communication is a key element of any aspect of life, but when it comes to keeping a remote job as a digital nomad it has its own challenges and ways to approach it. You will rarely have the chance to have a face to face conversation with any of your clients, so you need to use the tools available to keep everyone on the same page. Keep in mind your specific needs and be aware of the challenges of each situation to choose the right tools and develop habits that help you to be as present as any in-person employee.

How Guadalajara is Taking Tourism to the Next Level

We have already mentioned how Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city and our current nomadic HQ, has turned into a preferred destination for business travel due to its position as a technology hub as well as a meeting point for many industries in the area.

That, combined with a local culture that exudes authenticity, their contributions to Mexican culture overall, and their unique approach to tourism has helped turn Guadalajara into one of the most popular destinations in Mexico and Latin America.

As we have been exploring the city, we have more detailed insights into what sets Guadalajara apart from other popular tourist destinations in Mexico like Mexico City. There are definitely amazing attractions in the city that are helping to contribute to its tourism strategy.

First, let’s talk a bit about what makes this city different in terms of tourism!

Guadalajara’s Approach to Tourism

There’s something you’ll start to recognise after spending some time exploring the streets of Guadalajara (or GDL how the locals call it), especially around the most traditional touristic areas, and that is the way in which the locals make you participate. Interactive is the keyword here. Many places allow visitors to do more than stand, take photos and buy their products. Locals try to involve you in the process, making you an active part of the experience.

Why limit yourself to buy local delicacies when you can also help to make them? Often visitors will walk into shops to find the owners preparing something and, instead of asking them to wait or stopping what they are doing, the shop owner will begin introducing what they are working on and how it is made. This way there isn’t a disconnect between the purchaser and the product. Getting a chance to know what makes the product special and the effort put into it, makes each visitor have more of a connection with it.

With this focus on authenticity and warm experiences, visitors get a deeper connection with the place itself, differentiating Guadalajara from other cities. For many tourists, this feels fresh and unique and leaves a lasting impression that follows them back home.

Cultural Roots and Authenticity

One of the many things that sets Guadalajara apart from other big cities in Mexico is the way it remains close to its cultural roots on almost all aspects. It has grown to a large metropolis, but the city’s urban landscape has stayed in harmony with its roots. It grows and evolves, but Guadalajara remains Guadalajara.

Many businesses and institutions make local traditions a part of their own branding, helping to expand the city’s identity across all commercial sectors as they grow. This creates a rich environment that tourists can enjoy without sacrificing their comfort or the authenticity of the experience.

Photo by CliNKer on flickr

Combining Work and Play

We have established that Guadalajara is one of the most popular regional cities for business travel because of the IT and electronics industries, the constant investment in development, and the number of event centres like Expo Guadalajara, but even business travellers need to sit back and relax for a bit when they are somewhere new.

Business travellers may start their days in meetings or conference rooms, but after work you’ll find them exploring the whole city. Attending a concert in the Teatro Degollado, listening to mariachi music in the plaza or eating tacos and tortas ahogadas just like the rest of the visitors to the city.

As soon as everyone leaves the city, they’ll be planning their next trip. Next time they will take that tour through the local distilleries they missed, attend a convention for mariachi bands, explore Lake Chapala and visiting Tlaquepaque or the Hospicio Cabañas building to watch José Clemente Orozco’s murals (declared world heritage site by Unesco in 1997).

Photo by Nuestros Dulces

Nuestros Talleres, rescuing traditional Mexican sweets

The main goal of Nuestros Talleres is to rescue and protect the traditional sweets and chocolate of Jalisco. The brand lets you participate in the making and tasting of various sweet delicacies like rompope, cajeta, marzapan and local chocolate. You can also buy a lot of traditional sweets and tequila because Nuestros Talleres’ owner also owns Nuestros Dulces, a local company dedicated to producing and distributing typical Mexican sweets.

What makes Nuestros Talleres unique?

Nuestros Talleres is located in a 150 year old house in the centre of Tlaquepaque, away from the metropolitan area. With the help of Sayula Etiqueta Naranja, Cajeta Lugo, and chef Cristina Taylor from Chocolatería Artesanal, Nuestros Talleres keeps the sweet flavour of Guadalajara, Jalisco and Mexico alive while providing you with an opportunity to connect with their history and culture.

What marketing tactics are they using?

Nuestros Talleres takes advantage of the marketing efforts of tour operators that bring groups of tourists to the area throughout the year. The business creates an experience that is authentic and unique. That leads to many customer referrals and testimonials, giving them authority online for a good tour. Press are always looking for something interesting and unique to write about for new digital stories, so by having a creative hook, Nuestros Talleres garners good coverage.

Jose Cuervo Express, a journey through the land of tequila

Tequila, the iconic Mexican spirit that fills the shot glasses of the world was born in Jalisco, and as you would expect is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the region. Among the many tours dedicated exclusively to tequila and its history, the Jose Cuervo Express stands out. Every Saturday you can take a train trip to the blue agave fields and the La Rojeña distillery, one of the oldest distilleries on the continent and the place where Jose Cuervo produces its famous tequila.

What makes Jose Cuervo Express unique?

Mundo Cuervo, the hospitality and tourism branch of Jose Cuervo, offers other attractions that add to the tequila experience. The Solar de las Animas and Villa Tequila hotels, Hacienda el Centenario, and beautiful gardens, typical Mexican patios, and the biggest bar in Latin America are all there to add extra layers to each visitor’s experience. They turn an iconic product like tequila into a bigger experience, sending their customers on a journey through time and space to witness the story of the nation, the town and the brand.

What marketing tactics are they using?

They leverage their brand to uncover opportunities. Jose Cuervo is mainly a tequila brand, but they expanded by creating a whole division dedicated to hospitality. Hotels, guided tours, their own train and even a cultural centre let them sell more than just a drink. By leveraging the history of the area and the global reach of Jose Cuervo tequila, the hospitality branch is able to draw in guests that want a more in-depth experience with the brand other than just a quick stop at duty-free on the way home. They market online through travel agencies, platforms like Airbnb and through their own site. Each one of these areas has its own marketing channel but all of them are connected, each one targets different segments of their audience and then sends them to their other offerings while connecting all of them to their brand and their main product.

Tour Street Art GDL, exploring the colours of the city

Guadalajara is filled with many galleries, but the city itself is a gallery. From the historic centre and the many street art installations, there has popped up a small industry of walking tours that let visitors enjoy the artistry of the state of Jalisco. Tour Street Art GDL takes visitors through the public art galleries that many streets have become. There are many different iterations of these tours, all vying for top spot with tourists.

What makes Tour Street Art GDL unique?

You don’t need to be an art connoisseur to enjoy this tour, just keep your mind open to the stories that surround the city as guide, Karen Mora, walks you along the colourful streets. This tour doesn’t just leave the art on the walls like others, it let’s participants make their very own street art and takes their experience to a different level by making each customer a part of the tour.

What marketing tactics are they using?

Tour Street Art GDL utilises many different avenues for its marketing. Important for tourism brands is to get in front of as many different potential customers as possible. Listings on larger sites like Airbnb, Expedia and Viator take advantage of those site’s marketing power and piggyback their efforts. But, as with many tourism brands, Tour Street Art GDL takes full advantage of social media, crafting engaging visual content to inspire potential customers to join in.

What tourism trends we learned

Guadalajara is a metropolis and each of its surrounding suburbs, Zapopan and Tlaquepaque being the main ones, offers tourists a vast array of touring options. The villages of Jalisco offer up great day trips as well. But, for each of the tour operators that want to attract their potential customers, they take advantage of the marketing power of other businesses as a main source of their ticket sales. Nuestros Talleres and Jose Cuervo both use the history and culture of the region to build up a unique experience for their visitors. Their offerings, like Tour Street Art GDL, include the visitor into the tour and make each feel like they are a part of the experience, not just watching.

Being able to use other online services that leverage huge visitor counts lets these brands reach a larger number of potential customers than they would be able to if they tried to work solely from their own website. Platforms like Viator, Expedia and even Airbnb are bringing in millions of monthly visitors, and by listing on these sites, tour operators in Jalisco are able to have increased reservations without having to spend as much on advertising. There is strength in working together with larger brands when it comes to selling tickets. Let the bigger brand do the hard work and just focus on providing an exceptional experience to beat out the competition.

Web Design Trends for Travel Websites

Nowadays, businesses in all industries acknowledge the need for a properly designed website. The travel industry and the different business categories it encompasses are no exception. There are many reasons for this, for starters travel agencies, hotels and tour operators want to deliver the best service to their customers, and in order to do that they need to keep their website in the best conditions.

Another reason to be up to date with web design trends is competition. The travel and tourism industry is highly competitive and is always finding ways to improve, so businesses are always searching for the best travel website design inspiration to be one step (or more) ahead of their competition.

There are many topics to consider for your travel site, and here is where we explore some of those topics for you. Whether you are tackling it in-house or looking for help from an agency like Forager Media Group, it is always good to have best practices in mind.

Image taken from Vidanta’s website (https://www.vidanta.com/)

Branding for travel agencies and tour operators

Branding is the first aspect a tourism website needs to consider and it can be a bit tricky. You want your visitors to connect with your business and your brand, but you also want them to focus on the travel experience and the amazing destination you are located. Sometimes even beautiful design can be a distraction, and you don’t want your potential customers to get distracted before they book. You need to remember that in this case travel and tourism are your products and services. There’s no reason you can’t associate the experiences your customers will enjoy when they travel with your own brand, especially if your business adds to the experience.

Competition is another aspect of branding that can be hard for a travel business. After all, how are you supposed to compete with a business that covers the same places that you do? Well, differentiation here is key. You need to keep in mind that it isn’t about the tours and destinations, it is about the people that visit them. Keeping in mind the wants and needs of your potential customers makes the process of differentiating your travel business from the competition more straightforward.

The same applies when you’re designing your new travel site. If your key differentiator is comfort for example, your web design should reflect that from the moment your visitors first see your homepage. Other aspects of branding like consistent visual appearance are still essential for tourism websites. Arguably even more than for other industries because your customers can visit the same places when buying from the competition, so you need to be sure that they remember you.

If you are needing help with branding, you can always let Forager give you a hand. Our branding specialists have years of experience working with businesses in the travel industry to deliver effective branding and marketing strategies.

Keep your travel website user-friendly

Traveling is amazing, you enjoy new experiences, relax, learn new things, meet new people and collect a lot of new memories to share with your loved ones and treasure forever. But, planning a trip can also be a scary experience for some people. It might be the first time they do it in a while and want everything to be perfect, maybe they’re worried that the airbnb listing they chose ends up being a scam, or maybe they are full of work and don’t have the time to plan properly.

That, among many other reasons, is why you should never ignore user experience when you’re working on your website design. If you want travellers to choose you instead of your competition, start by creating a user-friendly website instead of a clumsy website full of clutter that makes it difficult and confusing to make a booking. In many cases, customers won’t choose the best option, they will stick with the best website and avoid the others.

Image taken from RCI’s website (https://www.rci.com/pre-rci-en_US/index.page)

The homepage for travel and tourism sites

Talking about user experience and keeping your site user-friendly, the homepage is frequently the first encounter your customers will have with your business. You need to seize the opportunity to capture their attention immediately. All elements of your branding should be present to welcome your new visitors immediately. All the functions they expect from a business like yours should be there. You need to research what your customers are expecting from you. A common trend in travel and tourism websites is to add a very small form over the fold asking about desired destinations and preferred dates to allow customers to find an available service in a matter of seconds.

The best web designs include all the expected functions and information without causing the homepage to look cluttered. Finding the right balance could be difficult sometimes but your effort will be rewarded with conversions and loyal customers.

Include a travel blog

This is one of those pieces of advice that have been repeated over and over again for years, but there’s a good reason for that. A travel blog is the best way to bring attention to the details that make the experiences you sell a great investment. It is an opportunity to attract new visitors interested in more specific topics and communicate directly with them through your content.

Most importantly, a travel blog is a way to turn your travel website into a lead generation machine. No matter how much effort you put optimising your web design, the majority of your visitors will most likely leave before making a booking and if that happens you won’t have a way to contact them. But, with a blog you can increase the chances of a subscription to a newsletter or other type of mailing list, keeping an active channel to contact your visitors and increase the chances of a future sale.

High-quality photography is a must

When the service you offer is connected to a travel experience, whether you provide your customers with a guided tour or a hotel to stay, you need to help your potential customers imagine what it is like to book with you. Photography is the most typical and useful way to achieve this, accompanied by great copy and video. The mental picture they’ll get will be as good as the photo you choose, so make sure that the one you use is a high-quality photo that reflects the experience in the best way possible. Aim for natural, well-illuminated photos showing people enjoying the service you offer.

E-commerce trends and the travel industry

Adding online booking to your site is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to applying e-commerce principles to a travel business. Travel agencies, hotels, tours, airlines and car rental service providers are all evolving to capture the attention of travellers that desire for more information, simpler processes and better experiences. Studies suggest the global online travel market to exceed $1 billion by 2022. Your travel business needs to be ready for that.

Tourism website design needs to stay ahead of the changes in consumer behaviour and new technologies that affect it. One of the improvements that all tourism websites need to apply as soon as possible is making every bit of the website mobile-friendly. Currently, around 28% of the market’s revenue comes from bookings on smartphones, and that doesn’t include all the research customers do before booking. This number is expected to grow as trust in mobile payments increase.

Getting Google’s attention

Last but not least, your travel site will be competing against thousands of others, but only ten will appear on the first page of Google’s search results. SEO is more effective when planned from the beginning. Making a good website is easier than fixing a bad one. Search engines are the first tools travellers use to research destinations and offers. They often check what travel bloggers have to say about them. So, appearing on the first page of search results will give you a great advantage and send many more visitors to your site.

On the web design side, the first thing you need to check is performance. Visitors expect your website to load in two seconds or less, and Google expects it to be ready by the half-second mark. Bad design can lead to a slow website and a slow website can lead to poor rankings. This translates to a lot less bookings. Good design helps to reduce bounce rate and keep your visitors exploring your website. This gets you points with Google’s algorithm and helps you to earn and keep your rankings.

Travel web design takeaways

Each business is different. Web design tends to follow some general principles, but every industry has its own challenges and needs and you need to adapt to the requirements of your business. In the travel industry, you need to adapt quickly to the changes in consumer behaviour and new technologies or else your competition will surpass you during the busy seasons. Keep in mind the aspects we mentioned here and do your own research using analytics or tools like surveys and social media listening to understand your own target audience better and use the data you collect to test new ideas and improve the performance of your website week by week.

10 Tips to Market Your Hotel on Instagram

By now we have talked a lot about digital marketing for the food industry, especially for restaurants. We have published a lot of tips to get the best out of a restaurant’s social media and other digital marketing efforts, but now, we’re going to look into how hotel marketing can make the most out of their Instagram feeds. Hotels, like food brands, have something very visual they can share with potential customers. That makes Instagram a great place to reach their audience.

In this post we will showcase our top 10 tips to get the best results when using Instagram to promote a hotel. Though there are basic aspects of social media marketing that are usually valid to all industries, we’re going to pay special attention to the challenges for hotel marketing strategies to be successful on Instagram.

Why is Instagram good for hotel marketing?

There are many social channels to choose from, and depending on resources and a hotel’s target market, one of the most interactive and inspiring for a destination-specific business like a hotel to use is Instagram. The magic of Instagram is that it is the perfect platform for visual storytelling. Its platform is focused on high quality photography and video content with both short and long form copy, so it’s perfect to appeal directly to your potential guests looking to let their imagination fly.

Apart from that, Instagram provides all the essential tools needed to convert followers into bookings and customers, allowing contact information and buttons to be added so that the marketing team can track all clicks. Instagram is the perfect addition to any content marketing plan.

And speaking of tracking, Instagram provides you with actionable data about the performance of your posts and stories. These insights are priceless if you want to have control and understanding of the growth of your profile and how it translates into sales.

Now, let’s take a look at some tips that will help your hotel’s online marketing take advantage of Instagram better!

1. Have a strong marketing strategy

Avoid going in blind. The first step to success in social media and all marketing channels is knowing the newest marketing trends and knowing what your competitors are doing. Being prepared means you know what goals you’re aiming to achieve and, specifically, how Instagram makes them happen? What steps are you going to take to ensure this final result? What are you going to do if it doesn’t work?

Apart from these questions, you need to know who your ideal hotel guests are and have clearly defined roles for everyone involved in each marketing campaign. Don’t rush the process. Take time to write a detailed social media plan to ensure you won’t be wasting time or money, or even better, let our marketing specialists take care of that for you!

2. Research and write customer personas

Making customer personas is part of what makes a successful marketing plan. This is true for Instagram too. In order to really know your customers, you need to stop guessing and gather real, verified data about them. This includes anything from demographic information to behavioural data. You need to know who they are, what they like, do they use a computer or a smartphone, where are they from, and do they use platforms like TripAdvisor to make decisions on where to book.

A great place to start is right from your current hotel website. If you have Google Analytics set up then you will be able to access a lot of that data already.

Customer personas are semi-fictional profiles of your ideal customer and the result of that research process. Collecting this data is a bit easier for the hotel industry because direct contact with customers is a constant occurrence. By giving quick surveys to guests, you can gather quite a lot of information used to formulate the best marketing strategy.

3. Customers want a story, give them one

When a person travels, they aren’t just thinking about moving from point A to point B, they’re already imagining all the things they will do when they arrive. Even business travellers put some thought into how to enjoy the hotel and the destination. Putting your storytelling skills to work becomes essential to an effective communication between your hotel and your guests.

Focus on the experience and the emotions that your guests associate with it to post visual stories they can connect with, and don’t forget the power of user generated content. The good thing about Instagram is you can share content from other profiles. If a guest posts an online review, share it. If they post a photo of their stay, share it.

4. Quality over quantity

It might be tempting to post 4 different photos of the hotel every day with 8 stories of people jumping into the pool, people love that right? Sure, they probably do. But they also love the 20 recipes, 150 baby pictures, and 2000 cat videos they find every hour scrolling down their Instagram feed.

Your goal here should be to differentiate your content from the crowd. Aim to publish one high-quality post instead of four mediocre ones. This way your content can become a breath of fresh air to relax from an overcrowded feed.

5. Work with influencers, but do it wisely

Influencer marketing is an excellent way to reach wider audiences, increase brand awareness and get more customers. But not all influencers will get the expected results for all businesses. It depends on both of your audiences and current goals. Check your customer personas again and compare them to the influencers you find. Does it make sense that your audience and their audience overlap?

Do your homework with influencers because we have all heard horror stories of influencers that aren’t really all they claim to be. Check their followers, their engagement levels and their content for suspicious characteristics. A big following is great but it isn’t necessarily a sign that it will get you more followers, you need to pay attention to their posts and the engagement rate from the past 14 days.

6. Leverage trends and seasons

This one goes without saying, seasonality is essential to all businesses in the travel industry. Local businesses know their on and off seasons, and you can use this to predict customer behaviour and adapt accordingly. This should include your Instagram profile.

The same goes for social media trends and hashtags, pay attention to what your audience is doing and with your customer persona at hand participate in social media trends in a way that makes sense to both your brand and audience. Loyalty programs, for example, can easily be utilised to draw in more followers.

7. Stand out with video content

Video content is being used more and more, and there are good reasons for this. Video is an effective format to capture the attention of your audience and many marketers agree that it produces the best ROI (return on investment) compared to other common formats like images or pure text. Check out software like Lumen5 for easy ways to make video content.

Video is a great way to tell a story, and you have plenty of options to try. Use Insta Stories to share brief moments, and IGTV to use longer videos to tell a more detailed story. Feel free to get creative as long as it makes sense. You spent a lot of time coming up with a branded look to your website design, so make sure your videos don’t stray from your brand image.

8. Be ready to invest in ad campaigns

Getting new followers and increasing your reach on Instagram by organic means is still possible. Just like word of mouth still works for promotion of a brand, organic growth is still a powerful tool. But to reach as many people as possible, paid ad campaigns are still the best. Instagram gives you different formats and options to use their ad platform to expand your reach and convert customers.

You don’t have to spend thousands on ads, but be aware that for some things like special promotions, you might need to keep a good balance between organic and paid efforts to get the conversions you want.

9. Listen carefully

Social listening consists of observing the conversations and mentions around your market through social media channels. This can be how you are mentioned in relation to local tourism and local events. It is a convenient way to gather priceless information about what your target audience perceives as interesting. It also shows how they perceive your brand.

It’s useful to prevent a crisis, expand your reach, develop a positive image, improve your service, find influencers and gather ideas. Use social listening tools and keep an eye open to the conversations people are having about your hotel, then you can use your discoveries to improve your Instagram strategy.

10. Measure and optimise

Last but not least, one of the most important things you can do on a regular basis is tracking all your activity to have an in depth understanding of how everything you do is bringing you closer to (or keeping you away from) your goals.

Use Instagram analytics or a third party app to find trends, monitor progress, measure performance, fix problems on time, and uncover opportunities. If you don’t have the experience to analyse all the data, let Forager help you.

Every hotel business is different, and it’s up to your creativity, your goals and your knowledge about your audience to know what is the best way to use your Instagram profile. Whether you are a boutique hotel or an international hotelier, following a few basic tips will give you a good starting point. Remember to track your activity and really understand your hotel needs to be able to experiment and improve week by week. Eventually you will discover what works best for you and your audience.

If you want more help, feel free to get in contact with one of our marketing specialists.

We have a new Mexican home!

Our new nomadic HQ:

Guadalajara, Mexico

As you know, Forager is a team of food and travel lovers who enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle. We aim to travel to as many different parts of the globe as possible, exploring new cultures and learning new trends to help our clients be more competitive. One way we ensure this is by choosing a new nomadic headquarters each quarter. Of course we still love Cork, Ireland where Forager Media Group is permanently based, but we are excited to be calling Guadalajara, Mexico our new nomadic HQ for the first three months of 2020!

We packed up in Vancouver and headed south to sunny Mexico. Vancouver was an amazing city for digital nomads and entrepreneurs, full of delicious food and sustainable businesses. And though we love Vancouver, especially Forager’s founder, Bryce Mathew Watts who was born there, it was time to go to our new destination, and that is Mexico’s second city, the beautiful city of Guadalajara!

“Man of Fire” mural by José Clemente Orozco in the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico

The second largest city, but not second best!

Guadalajara, or GDL to locals, is considered the archetypical Mexican city. The capital of the state of Jalisco, it is home to some of the most iconic Mexican cultural emblems: tequila, mariachi music and charreria (a Mexican-style of rodeo).

Second only to Mexico City, Guadalajara is a huge metropolis. It has an historic centre stretching back almost 500 years, which is home to the Palacio de Gobierno, the beautiful Guadalajara cathedral and the mesmerising maze of Mercado San Juan de Dios. The artisan district, Tlaquepaque, to the east is where visitors can find the best art and handicrafts from Jalisco and beyond. Each of the neighbourhoods, or colonias as they are known, have a unique characteristic and make each part of the city a new adventure.

Its biggest suburb, Zapopan, is where many larger companies are based, including Expo Guadalajara and the World Trade Centre, and it is also where Forager Media Group is setting up for our three month stay.

The city carries the title of being Latin America’s Silicon Valley. Although many cities are fighting hard to be considered as such, Guadalajara’s technology and electronics industry have a history that can be traced all the way back to the 1960’s, which means it is packing quite a punch in order to keep its rival cities at bay.

Usually a business destination, many people travel to Guadalajara for work, but from the moment they put a foot in this colourful city, the flavours and the people make it difficult to distinguish it from a leisure trip full of experiences to remember and repeat.

Colourful umbrellas giving shade to artists and travellers alike on Andador Independencia in Tlaquepaque, Mexico

Guadalajara: The colourful

Arriving in Guadalajara one of the first things you’ll notice are all the different colours. It is a bright and lively city, with free concerts, cultural events, street markets and lots of traditional handicrafts spread out across the many colonias. The city is a perfect combination of everything the Forager team loves to find when travelling.

But the decorations aren’t the only thing that makes Guadalajara diverse. Previously known as one of the most conservative cities in the whole country, Guadalajara has evolved into an increasingly progressive city. Now, it has become so progressive that it is considered to be the gay capital of Mexico. And because of its large business sector, it is attracting talent from all over the world.

A delicious torta ahogada at one of the many take aways in Guadalajara, Mexico

Guadalajara: The flavourful

Tapatíos (the name locals give themselves) are very proud of their food, so much so that you can’t go a few metres without coming across another delicious food venue. There are many local delicacies to try here, but not being from Mexico, our team thought tacos might be a bit of a cliche. We were wrong, tacos are mandatory and cheap as chips! All conversations lead to food in Guadalajara. Their rich gastronomic culture is a source of pride and with such strong flavours and colourful lates, we will be quite busy these months.

Some of the most popular dishes include Birria which, to many, is the most iconic plate of the city. Made of goat with a blend of tomatoes and spices, it is accompanied by corn tortillas and fresh lime. Don’t forget to try tortas ahogadas as well. It is a pork sandwich in a crispy baguette that is unique to the city. Torta ahogada literally means “drowned sandwich”, once made it is covered in a tomato sauce similar to a beef dip except no au jus, just tomato. With every food in Mexico, all we can say is ask how spicy things are before you pour too much on. Similar colours, but with VERY different heat levels.

Photo taken from Wework website (wework.com/buildings/punto-sur–guadalajara)

Guadalajara for digital nomads

Guadalajara has a lot to offer digital nomads. There are loads of options for co-working spaces like WeWork, Regus and the local company Nevermind. Internet speeds are fast and ready for your daily remote working without problems.

Life is affordable in the city and there are some nice remote work-friendly opportunities thanks to the current growth of the technology industry and others from local companies and international giants that expand to the region. As so often we find ourselves working from a local cafe, you won’t be without options here in Guadalajara. There is the standard and reliable Starbucks, but there are a whole host of other small cafes to choose from. Take a stroll down Avenida Chapultepec, one of the trendy centres filled with boutiques, or the high-end Providencia, or even the restaurant hub that is Chapalita. There will be plenty of places to park your laptop and log a few billable hours.

There are very few obstacles to do business in Guadalajara. You may find it difficult to communicate without at least a basic understanding of Spanish, but locals are friendly and will try to help with sign language if needed.

And when it comes to safety, if you’re used to relatively crime-free cities (like the case of our previous HQ, Vancouver) you’ll notice a difference in Guadalajara. It isn’t by any means a very dangerous city, but crime does happen here. Muggings do happen, so it is always a good idea to stick to walking around during the day and to not leave anything unattended. With a little common sense and good planning, you won’t feel any less safe than in other major cities. Just make yourself familiar with the places you should avoid and develop basic safety habits like keeping valuable objects with you or at home.

The famous circular pyramid at Guachimontones in the mountains of Jalisco, Mexico

What to do in Guadalajara

Now let’s talk about fun things to do in the city other than work. Starting outdoors, for those who love to spend time in nature the charming park of La Barranca de Huentitán is perfect to take a relaxing walk, or a run along its cobbled path like the locals. At the end of the park, you’ll find thermal baths where you can relax after all that exercise but beware, there aren’t changing facilities so if you plan to get in the water go wearing your swimsuit and be ready to go back with damp clothes.

Keeping with the nature theme, there are plenty of day trips out of the city, like visiting the pyramids of Guachimontones or heading to Lake Chapala. And who could say no to a little stop over at the beach after a hard week of working. Well you are in luck, Puerto Vallarta is just a short bus trip away. Rest up on the beaches and have a drink or two to recharge for more work and exploration.

For the foodies, Guadalajara hosts many food festivals with local and international food for you to enjoy, and the history lovers will be delighted by all the tours across all the vestiges of the last 500 years.

The iconic blue agave fields of Jalisco are how we get Tequila

Tequila!

Of course, being the capital of Jalisco, the state where the iconic Mexican spirit was born, we need to dedicate an entire section to the amazing liquor made from the blue agave.

Tequila is made by a special process of fermentation of the nectar from the blue agave. It is a succulent (a plant that holds moisture in thick leaves) native to Mexico and the southern United States with a long list of other uses and benefits apart from making Tequila. It is also used to produce a number of other spirits, including Mexican mezcal and Venezuelan cocuy.

Guadalajara and the surrounding towns are very proud of their tequila, especially the town bearing the same name. It is so important to local identity that the United Nations has designated it a World Heritage Site, and there are many tours that will take you directly through the many distilleries.

The beautiful skyline of Zapopan at sunset

A three month adventure awaits

We are looking forward to exploring Guadalajara and Jalisco state over the course of our time here. Every cafe we can find, each restaurant we visit and every tour we go on will help us feed our sense of adventure, understand our industry better and harvest the best new trends for our clients. We will be sharing our experiences and shedding light on how Tapatios go about promoting themselves and their businesses!

A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Vancouver, Canada

Working full time as a remote worker has been gaining popularity over the last decade. Freelancers are embracing the trend and enjoying the advantages of the digital nomad lifestyle. Being a digital nomad in Vancouver, Canada can be a nice adventure from the usual work schedule. A nice change of scenery is exactly what draws many digital nomads to this type of work. Freelancers enjoy better working conditions that adapt to different needs and life expectations, and companies experience real cost savings for their office needs.

As a result, digital nomadism has become a popular lifestyle for professionals, especially those in the “knowledge industry”, and a goal for people new to the labour market and entrepreneurs. What better way to explore the world than by still being able to make an income while doing it.

Digital nomads typically spend a lot of time travelling the world, and that is exactly what the Forager team does. Since we launched our Digital Nomadic HQ program, we wanted to find the best city to start off. Over the course of these past three months, we have been exploring the beautiful city of Vancouver. Exploring the region, sampling new foods and learning about the local culture, both in and out of the marketing industry. Armed with our laptops, smartphones and a great international calling plan, we set off to explore our new nomadic home in British Columbia.

As with any new city, Vancouver comes with its own challenges that any established or aspiring digital nomad needs to consider before embarking on this journey. After three months here, we have come to find some great things about this city we wanted to share with you.

Overall, Vancouver is an amazing city, and any digital nomad looking for their next stop would do well to add it to their list. Below, we have put together some of our takeaways from this Canadian nomadic HQ.

Free WiFi

For any digital nomad, the first thing to be aware of is the availability of WiFi. Vancouver is one of the tech hubs of North America, so it is no wonder why it has so many great spots for free WiFi. In the downtown core, you can find plenty of work space to use at venues like the Central Library. There are also plenty of cafes with WiFi that can be utilised for the cost of a coffee (from $2.50CAD). The neighbourhood Forager set itself up, Gastown, has plenty of options.

Our only suggestion when visiting an independent cafe would be to check if the internet is working. We have purchased a wonderful cup of coffee or tea, sadly without any way to get online. Apart from that, you can find a more typical Starbucks if you want to stick with what you know.

Vancouver Public Central Library

WiFi at home is standard as well, so no matter if you are staying in a hotel or an Airbnb, there will be a good connection for those times when you just can’t sleep until you get just one more thing done.

Safety

Taking measures to ensure you are safe is essential for digital nomads, especially when travelling to places you aren’t familiar with. Vancouver is virtually a crime-free city. Petty crime can occur, so it is still important to pay attention to your surroundings and never leave valuables unattended on the table at the cafe. Crimes against travellers however, are very rare so you can feel safe as you walk around the city. Whether enjoying the nightlife or going for a run along the seawall, there is no need to feel unsafe.

Hot Desking and Co-Working

For many, a coffee shop or Starbucks is more than enough, but the comfort of using a space specifically designed for productivity and getting work done is what gives others the fresh start they need. Vancouver has a whole host of co-working spaces to park yourself for a few hours or days. You can find different WeWork options, Regus options, and some local ones too. We checked out HiVE because of its social impact focus.

Photo taken from Wework website (www.wework.com/buildings/station-square–vancouver)

If you prefer a dedicated working spot to be able to separate your day, then check out some of those options. And remember your old friend Google if you need to switch it up from time to time. There are many other providers you can choose from like L’Atelier Vancouver, VanCubers and Pavillion Cowork.

Local Opportunities

Even when you’re travelling the world as you work, it is always a good idea to check on local opportunities and build new contacts, find more clients and even a new job. For those interested in the tech industry, it is the perfect city as tech giants like Microsoft are opening new offices, and that entrepreneurial atmosphere brings new opportunities.

The local food industry has a lot of opportunities to offer (apart from unique flavours you won’t find anywhere else) and the film and television industry is quite active too. You can find plenty of local opportunities if you are searching for a new professional adventure.

Lifestyle

Of course, not everything in the life of a digital nomad is about working. We love this lifestyle because it allows us to enjoy all the things we love about travelling the world while still sustaining our careers. There is no need to sacrifice one thing for the other.

So, let’s talk about the fun part! Enjoying your new destination will keep you motivated to continue this career choice. Vancouver has a prolific food scene that you won’t be able to enjoy in a single trip. There are just too many things to try and places to visit and if you’re a foodie like us believe me, you’ll want to try everything. We even made a post about the local food scene, go check it out!

Water Street Cafe

Food isn’t the only thing waiting for you. Vancouver has a lot of events happening each week. Check out websites like Meetup to see what is going on in and around the city. There are plenty of concerts, theatrical shows, music festivals, film festivals and sports for you to enjoy.

If spending time in nature is your thing, don’t forget to take any of the local tours like the Sea to the Sky Gondola or just go for a hike in a local forest. You can’t miss the opportunity to go out and gather your own food from the woods if that’s not common in your city (or if you miss it) but before doing that, research the local rules and make sure you know how to do it safely!

Transportation

As a digital nomad you need to know how you are getting from one place to another. Luckily Vancouver has a great public transport system. The entire city is blanketed with plenty of bus lines, and if you are needing to go farther out, there is the SkyTrain. Tickets cost anywhere between $3.00-$5.75CAD per trip. And don’t miss out taking the SeaBus from downtown Vancouver across the inlet towards North Vancouver.

Taxis aren’t easy to find, and cost around $3.50CAD + $1.89CAD per kilometre. Car-sharing services like Car2Go, Modo and Zipcar are popular among locals and travellers, costing around $0.41CAD per minute or $13.00CAD per hour.

Farewell Vancouver

Vancouver, one of the greenest cities in the world, is an amazing place to visit and explore new experiences. We enjoyed our three months in the city. It has incredible food, great events, beautiful landscapes and, on top of all that, it’s completely remote work friendly. Digital nomads can enjoy their stay in a safe place with many opportunities to offer as they keep up their productivity without worry.

Don’t forget to do your research before travelling to a new destination and plan according to your needs, that will save you from more than a headache in the future! If you need inspiration, don’t miss any of our blogs on working remotely. Every three months we are exploring a new city.

Basics of restaurant website design

New web design trends come about every year, month by month, and even day by day. Sometimes because new technologies allow better features, and sometimes because different industries have different needs and requirements from their websites as their businesses grow. Audience tastes play a big role in what makes a great restaurant website design, and as the user’s needs evolve, a website needs to change accordingly. Usually it isn’t one single aspect that brings about a new trend, but a mixture of all three scenarios.

This constant evolution has been changing the way the internet looks for decades, and not only that, it has changed the way users behave and how business owners’ perceive how to use their websites as a successful channel to drive growth in their brands.

Why is a website important for restaurants

Restaurants, like many other businesses benefit from having an active branded website that receives regular updates. The homepage is basically a noticeboard for what is new and exciting at your restaurant. A website is a must-have for any restaurant serious about attracting more than just walk by traffic. Think of it as an extension of your physical restaurant and it needs to represent the restaurant in a way that shows potential customers what they can expect from a visit. A beautiful website represents a beautiful restaurant.

Search engines like Google allow their users to run local searches for restaurants and other establishments near them. When this happens, you have to consider how your restaurant is shaping up against the competition. Design and what you are saying about the restaurant need careful consideration. SEO (search engine optimisation) is a must in order to rank the highest you can. But it doesn’t end there, potential customers expect to see a website because they want to see what your dishes look like, what the interiors look like and if there is anything special about your restaurant compared to the one down the street. Sometimes an Instagram profile isn’t enough.

Once a potential customer visits your website, there’s a lot of expectations to fulfil. They expect your site to be error-free, to load quickly and to be easily navigable while staying aesthetically pleasing. Not only that, they expect to be able to book a table or even order food directly for delivery, which requires some e-commerce integrations.

It’s surely a lot of work remembering all these different facets and putting them into practice, so to give you a clearer idea of what users generally expect from your website, here is a list of our top considerations for the best restaurant websites.

High-quality photography is essential

No matter how much work you put into getting the most functional website you can, if a potential customer is scrolling through your site and the images they see aren’t high quality, the best thing you are going to achieve is making your visitors feel like your restaurant may be nice to visit “some day”. The chain restaurant that opened up down the street will be bumped up on their list of places to try out. The chain doesn’t have better food than you, nor a better customer experience, but their website visuals are gorgeous, mouth-watering and really showcase the vibe of their restaurant.

More and more restaurants discover that sometimes the key to better conversions (turning visitors into customers) is better photos. As a result, websites are full of beautiful high-quality photos showcasing the best parts of their restaurant. You are showing your food and your restaurant to a new audience, let it shine the way it should with slideshows of your menu and other inspiring photos. If you don’t have the time to learn how to take better photos, let the Forager team create a style guide for you to help shape your photography database.

Adopting UX design best practices

Current internet users don’t have the patience they used to have in the 1990’s and 2000’s. They probably didn’t back then either, but they didn’t have a choice. A website shouldn’t be a puzzle or a mental exercise, information must be easy to find and the website easy to navigate. That’s why we see more and more restaurant websites designed with UX design principles at the forefront. This applies to the website that is visible on desktops and mobile devices. Use specialised tools to uncover problems that could be affecting the way users interact with your website. Everyday, websites are making small edits to their design thanks to this.

You can begin to achieve this by outlining clear sections, adding easy navigation and removing all the clutter.

Visually appealing and effective menu cards

Somewhat related to the previous trends, menu cards or menu sections of websites have evolved too. Restaurants are now using all the freedom a website gives them to create visually appealing menu sections on their websites that are easy to read. This has also given an advantage for your comfort too, since the menu will be easier to update.

The key here is clarity. You want your menu to be very visual, but not at the expense of readability. Your visitors must be able to read your menu and see what they are going to be running to taste for themselves.

Branding and personalisation

Restaurants are all unique, and they need a website that is just as unique. Not just a copy of the restaurant down the street. A website needs to showcase the characteristics that make it special. Put your restaurant above the competition. You put in the work each day to make sure the food and customer service is the best it can be, and your online presence should be doing the same.

Branding has had a huge impact on shaping restaurant web design trends. In part because having a list of best practices to follow at hand is amazing at building effective websites. Sometimes though, it leads to them all looking the same. To avoid this, restaurants and other businesses combine these best practices with carefully crafted style guides and branding work to create the right aesthetic to set them apart from the competition and connect with their customers on a deeper level.

To achieve this, you need to start with understanding your own business and see what sets it apart from similar restaurants. If it were a person, what would be its personality? What do your customers like about it? What do you like about it? Are there any colours or shapes that you would associate with your restaurant? Those and other questions that dive deeper into the emotional perception of your business will help you to develop a clear idea of the results you want to get.

Forager Media Group offers comprehensive branding services. We’ll take care of making the questions and analysis to develop a style and strategy you could use in future web design projects or in other materials like social media profiles.

Booking integrations

Restaurant owners discovered that, if they want to turn their websites into an effective channel to get new customers, they had to give them a more active role in the sales process. Now customers don’t have to search for a phone number or address and then remember to call later. Instead, they can click on a button that says “Book Now” right there in the corner of the website and after a few more clicks they’ll have a table waiting for them at your restaurant.

Some restaurants even offer the option to order food directly from their website, so customers only need to go there and pick up their orders once they’re ready. This and other variations have become so common that customers expect it.

Not adding this functionality to your website is adding a step more to the list of steps your visitors have to take before becoming a customer, and as we mentioned before talking about user experience, the more complicated things are for your website visitors, the less likely they will become customers.

Takeaways

Trends will continue changing as time passes, when it comes to the internet, this can happen fast. You don’t need to be on top of everything, you just have to keep your visitors and potential customers in mind and be ready to make changes to make things better for them. A happy and hungry website visitor is one step closer to a new customer.

22 creative ways to use Instagram to market your restaurant

With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks right now. One of the most popular pastimes of these billion plus users is looking at food pictures and getting hungry. Tens of thousands of high quality food photos and videos are liked every minute by millions of hungry users. A hungry Instagrammer is a potential customer. Up your Insta game to catch their attention..

For restaurants, this could be a constant source of new business, customers, collaborations and exposure — if you know what you are doing. From the small family run diner to the big food chains, having an Instagram strategy in place can make all the difference.

The Importance of Strategy

The first mistake many businesses make on Instagram is the lack of a clearly defined strategy. Just taking pictures and posting them on your profiles can be good, but you won’t be able to repeat your success or bring consistent results. If the things you do stop working, you won’t know what to try next to get the best results possible.

The work of a strategy documentis to define clear parameters to guide all your efforts, it should include a quick summary of the market, descriptions of your typical customers and what they like. (This is called Customer Personas, we’ll talk about them in a future post!)

Apart from that, you’ll also need a section about your restaurant as a brand, including some keywords to describe its personality and voice, a set of goals you expect to achieve, a defined action plan with the activities you’ll be performing on the platform, and the methods you’ll use to track these activities’ performance and decide what’s working and what’s not.

Keep this in mind before trying any of the recommendations in this list. Don’t forget to test, measure, and of course, consider your own brand because not all restaurants are equal and not all of them will benefit from everything on the list.

Now let’s start!

1. Announce new recipes

Seasons change and so does your menu. Tell your customers about it! Using your instagram profile is an excellent way to bring attention to your newrecipe. Keep them interested in trying new dishes all year round.

2. User generated content

Your customers use Instagram a lot. Give them a reason to post about your restaurant and your food. This increases your exposure and helps reach new customers. Making them feel part of the brand gives them a reason to keep coming back.

3. Show your popular dishes

Fill your feed with high-quality pictures of your best dishes. Your followers want to know what’s waiting for them when they book a table. Give them a clear idea and keep them HUNGRY!

4. Behind the scenes content

Build a better connection with your customers and followers by taking them behind the scenes. Make videos of your best-sellers being prepared, especially if you can get a tasty shoot of the process.

5. Share the knowledge

Your followers hunger for more than just food, they also want to discover something new. Is your restaurant from a specific culture? Tell them! Or maybe the ingredients have an interesting story. Use that to keep your customers engaged and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

6. Feature customers

Customers are the life of every restaurant, why not make them a part of your Instagram strategy? Share pictures of customers having a great time. Build an emotional connection and you’ll have more regular customers and followers ready to try your food.

7. Collaborations

Do you have friends at other restaurants? Why not share each other’s relevant posts on Instagram and work together to promote each other? Build anticipation for any special collaboration, and don’t forget to take a lot of pictures!

8. Repost your customers’ posts

Being social on Instagram is key. If you like a follower’s post and you think it goes with your restaurant, ask them if you can repost it! People will see you care about your followers and customers and this will help you build stronger connections.

9. Hashtags

Use the Instagram app or other online tools like Keyhole to research hashtags your customers use. You can add up to 30 hashtags per post. Take advantage of the most popular ones, participate in popular trends and always test new ones.

10. Live

Use Instagram Live to give your followers a live show! Show them your team having fun or share a live performance. Make them want to stop what they’re doing to come for a visit.

11. Comments

Be a part of the community. Like other people’s content by commenting, making jokes, or a simple compliment. If your friends have a restaurant too, comment on each other’s pics and let all your (and their) followers know your restaurant has personality.

12. Use those stories

Use stories to bring attention to special offers or daily events. Use them to generate a sense of urgency and fear of missing out. 24 hours goes by fast, so they will be keen to stay tuned and see what’s happening each day.

13. Be a part of the community

Use Instagram to bring attention to your community, your street and your city. People like to see you are an active member of your community, participate in local events or even do some non-profit work.

14. Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are excellent ways to increase your exposure, especially if you do it consistently. Your followers will expect the next one and pay attention. Offer a discount or a free meal. The best way is entry by following you, liking a post, or tagging friends.

15. Achievements

Did you get into the Top 100 restaurants in your city? Complete a major renovation? Share that with your followers and let them celebrate with you! This let’s them feel a part of the brand and differentiates your business from the competition.

16. Free input when you ask questions

Ask your customers questions to keep them engaged and learn more about their preferences. Adding a menu item? Ask your customers what they think or what they would prefer. Post a picture of the two options and ask them to comment with their opinion.

17. Special content for special events

If your restaurant offers live music, celebrates holidays, or any other kind of event you can imagine, share them in your instagram profile! It is great to share before, during and after the actual event.

18. Keep it consistent with a theme

Keeping a consistent theme across different networks is a huge benefit for being recognised. Post pictures with similar colours and shapes, keep a logical order in your profile, repeat word plays or topics. It shows quality and a plan to your business.

19. Share your great in-house team

Take pictures of your team doing amazing work! Share interesting stories, even birthdays. People want to follow (and buy from) a real person. Taking them behind the scenes makes them feel that personal touch.

20. Give more way to follow with name tags

Similar to a QR code or snapcode, name tags are a simple picture you can find in your Instagram account that allows other users to follow you by scanning it with their Instagram app. Put them on the tables, the menus, in the entrance and promotional materials.

21. Use your location to your advantage

Tag your location to your posts and increase your reach to your potential customers. Location hashtags and stickers are great for stories too. People that live close are the best chance for turning followers into new customers.

22. Tap into then influencer community

Collaborate with people that have large relevant audiences. They can visit the restaurant, eat there, post about it and share your food with their followers. Real influencers with real followers can be a great tool. Know your budget and establish clear rules before they come in.

Conclusion

Instagram is an amazing place to develop your online presence, earn a place in the hearts and minds of your target audience (and in their stomachs!), and to achieve this you can use any and all of these tactics. Use your imagination! But always keep in mind your goals, your context, and the people you want to reach!

We Are In The Great White North!

Our new nomadic hq:

Vancouver, Canada

Welcome to Vancouver! Home to over a dozen engaging and diverse neighbourhoods, more restaurants than you can fit on your plate and boasting a vibrant and outdoorsy community, Canada’s west coast gem has something for everyone. Vancouver is home to a huge variety of inventive local businesses and neighbourhood institutions and we’re so excited to call the city our current HQ.

Lynn Canyon Vancouver Canada

The Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver

Vancouver: The wild

It’s no secret that Vancouverites love wilderness and nature. MEC, a name synonymous with the outdoors in Canada first launched in Vancouver in the 1970s. The Vancouver location boasts a panoply of events to bring the community together and celebrate the best of what nature has to offer. Tourism sites are also quick to recommend a range of hiking trips in and around the Vancouver area, both solo and guided. Tour businesses should be able to rely on local visuals, from cityscapes to mountain ranges, to build their customer base and show off the quality of the experiences they provide. Needless to say, if you’re heading out here, pack your running shoes, because there is no shortage of businesses whose motivation is to get you moving.

Vancouver’s love for the wild side of life extends beyond leisure activities. Just beyond the city is one of the bases for local foraged food company West Coast Wild Foods. With two headquarters — one in Burnaby, BC and one in Portland, OR — West Coast Wild Foods specialises in all things delicious and freshly foraged in nature. They supply customers with high-quality products such as freshly-dried local mushrooms and tasty jams made from local berries. With a huge focus on local, seasonal harvesting, West Coast Wild Foods is forging a trail for the wild food scene.

Pan Pacific Vancouver Canada

Fine dining at the Pan Pacific Hotel

Vancouver: The trendy

In addition to its trailblazing nature-centric businesses, Vancouver is home to a trendy restaurant scene and is a haven for hip cafes. And with the city’s collective focus on healthy, sustainable dining habits, it’s easy to find an eatery or coffee shop that will cater to your own food ethics code.

For a chic, inventive take on fine dining, try Forage. As the name suggests, this Robson St. spot specializes in bringing local produce and wild finds to diners. Chef Welbert Choi selects his ingredients with great care, and works to ensure that his restaurant has built lasting ties with local fishers, farmers and, of course, foragers.

If you’re after a vegan eatery, Lotus Seed is the place to be. Located in the Granville St area, Lotus Seed specializes in vegan takes on multicultural classics, such as pho, ragu and even a vegan eggs benedict for brunch!

And if you really just want to snuggle up somewhere with a coffee, Vancouver has also got you covered. Home to dozens of trendy cafes, there’s no shortage of Instagrammable lattes and conversation nooks. For a taste of what the world of coffee has to offer without leaving Gastown, try Nemesis Coffee. The multi-roaster cafe serves up some of the best roasters in the world on rotation, and they also stock an impressive number of teas and even make their own apple cider. We love stops like Nemesis because they provide the best opportunity to get out of the house and get some work done. Finding a place that feels like a mix of home with a fresh view can make all the difference when living the digital nomad lifestyle.

Pride Parade Vancouver Canada

Pride Celebrations in downtown Vancouver

Vancouver: The diverse

Another thing we love about Vancouver is the range and scope of its diversity as a city. Back in July we enjoyed our time at the Surrey Fusion Festival, a local celebration of art, culture, and of course food in the Vancouver area. Restaurants throughout the city highlight a multitude of national and cultural backgrounds, and the range is sure to whet your appetite and your creativity.

The city is also full of activities and events by and for the city’s LGBTQ+ community. From serious conferences to late-night dance parties, Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ scene is inviting and varied in its offerings. Welcoming the beginning of October is a queer Indigenous dance party, and November brings the annual LGBTQ+ wedding show back to Vancouver. Marketing events specifically to certain communities is a great way to draw new audiences and ensure that your customers and clients feel welcomed and appreciated for who they are.

Feeling welcomed no matter what is such an important part of making the remote work and digital nomad lifestyle work, and we can’t wait to get to working (and playing) in our new short-term home.