How do I get on the urban list????

(03 /10 /2014)

These days “The Urban List” is a go-to for consumers looking for somewhere cool or different to “do coffee”, meet for cocktails or dine.  Just in case you haven’t already heard about it, “The Urban List” showcases cafes, restaurants and bars or pubs in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane that have “made the cut” – they’re the best hospitality businesses around as recommended by their patrons.  Reviews of businesses are undertaken by “The Urban List” team at their whim – you can’t ask for it and you can’t pay for it; you need to rely on your patrons spreading the good word.

So, how do you get your patrons to spread the word to encourage “The Urban List” reviewers to come knocking?  It’s pretty simple – give your patrons something to crow about!  Think about what your business offers, whether it be a café, five-star restaurant or trendy bar, and how you can differentiate it from the place down the street.  Does your menu offer something a little bit different?  Do you have a wine list that is second-to-none?  Is the food you put on the plate just so amazing that patrons have no choice but to recommend you to a dozen friends?  Does your business cater for niche markets – paleo, vegan, paddock to plate?  Are your cocktails unique with funky names that are positively memorable?

But it’s not just the food you need to consider to get people talking…it’s about the overall consumer experience!  Staff are a key component of the experience – they must be knowledge, friendly and suitable to your business.  A stuffy maître d’hôtel who is used to heading up a five-star restaurant is unlikely to be the right person whipping up funky cocktails in a hip bar!  Location is another important variable – your patrons are more likely to talk about your business if you’re located somewhere a bit different or even a little tricky to get to.  There’s nothing better than hanging out in an out-of-the-way city lane, sipping coffee, away from the café chains and hustle and bustle of the city centre or drinking boutique beer in a castle overlooking the city lights that has taken a little bit of effort to get to.  After all, only a select group of people will make the effort to get there which then makes it more attractive to those seeking a little bit of adventure.  Also think about the venue itself – lighting, music, seating arrangements – these all impact on the consumer experience and will contribute to how much your patron “sells” your business for you.

Now that you have your menu, location and venue attributes sorted, how do you get in touch with “The Urban List” team?  This is where your patrons add the most value – they simply jump on-line and send in a “tip”, recommending you for a review.  But to get your consumers to do this, you might need to give them a gentle push – perhaps have a flyer at their table providing details on how to do it; offer a “Facebook” check-in when they arrive at the venue that encourages them to contact “The Urban List”; put it on a notice board behind the bar; encourage your staff to tell consumers about how appreciative you’d be if they could just recommend you.  There are many different ways of achieving this but ultimately, communication and networking is the key; it’s a matter of working out how to best engage your customers so they can’t refuse.

And then when “The Urban List” team do call, that’s the time to really sell the consumer experience honestly and enthusiastically.  It may not be vital to your business “to make the cut” but it certainly will go a long way to ensuring you attract your desired crowd and growing your business further.  As with most other business activities, communication and networking are the keys to getting yourself noticed and “The Urban List” is just another part of the mix so get cracking!


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