How to advertise for a Hotel or Restaurant?

“Advertising is the soul of commerce”: this is an immutable principle that will never change. So, if you are an Hotelier or a Restaurateur you have to do what your grandfather or father did before you: you have to advertise your business.

With only one difference: you have to be present where your potential customers are, that is on the digital landscape, i.e. on the Internet, social and entertainment platforms.

I am Giancarlo De Leonardo former Hotelier and Restaurateur, founder of Caro Collega, a club of enlightened entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry who care about the country where they live and the work they do.

Above all, they have realized that without marketing, their Hotels or Restaurants are weak and easy prey for foreign entrepreneurs and groups who want to expand and buy pieces of our country.
In this article I will turn a light on the opportunities of advertising i.e., “online” advertising, the fastest way to make your business known and find new digital customers. The fact of the matter is simple: if you don’t advertise online professionally, you are giving up 90% of your potential customers who spend their time on the Internet, social media and entertainment platforms.

Why settle for struggling in a sea where there are only 10 percent of the fish and give up the ocean where there are 90 percent?

In this article

Traditional advertising vs. digital advertising

But what is the basic difference between traditional advertising and online, or digital advertising?

Twenty years, when I was a Hotelier and Restaurateur, I used to pay to be in the yellow pages, or on billboards or in newspapers and trade magazines, or on TV or radio. And today? In an increasingly digital world, people no longer attend traditional advertising channels, but prefer to surf the Internet or spend time on social media or entertainment platforms, and that is where we need to be present with our Hotel or Restaurant.

In this context, instead of investing in yellow pages, billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, TV and radio, you need to invest in advertising, which means promoting your business on Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, where you can find your target audience.
With millions of people connected to social media, on entertainment platforms and searching for information on search engines, advertising is the essential modern tool for reaching your audience in a targeted and effective way.

That is why, as a former fellow hotelier and restaurateur, I am here to help you understand the concept of digital advertising and make the most of the opportunities offered by advertising campaigns on Google and on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or TikTok.

What is Advertising?

Advertising is one of the activities to promote your restaurant or Hotel in a digital environment among your potential customers (I remind you how important it is to identify a homogeneous group of customers).

As good as you may be at making predictions, you can never know in advance which advertising channel will give you the most satisfaction, so my advice is to focus on:

  • Google, which intercepts conscious demand, that is, an audience with a “need” to be solved (for ex: Hotel in Rome, Hotel with spa, boutique Hotel, or Restaurant near me, seafood restaurant in Milan, best carbonara in Rome);
  • Social Media, which intercept latent demand, that is, an audience that discovers your company even if they are not necessarily interested in your service and only later may decide to visit you or not (for ex: I see on Instagram the story or reel of a hotel or restaurant).

The opportunity we have is to create engaging and persuasive advertisements that capture the attention of a target audience (not a general audience!) and try to push them to take a certain action.

On Google the action will be, for example, booking, while on social media perhaps it would be about signing up for a newsletter or a specific interaction with a piece of content. In today’s digital landscape, advertising is an essential activity for the success of your hotel or restaurant. Through advertising campaigns, you can reach a large and highly profiled audience, increasing your visibility and generating qualified traffic to your Hotel or Restaurant website or social media.

The secret, of course, is to create eye-catching ads that you can present to the right people at the exact moment when they are trying to solve a need (Google) or while they are wandering carefree on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.

The better the ads are done, the more they will succeed in engaging a target audience and the better your ad campaigns will perform. This is work that produces measurable results in terms of extra revenue only if you do it professionally. If, on the other hand, you do it the way 90% of Hotels and Restaurants do it, you will have to settle for crumbs.

Google is the most widely used search engine in the world, and millions of people search every day. Google Ads campaigns allow you to rank at the top of search results relevant to your hotel or restaurant, increasing your visibility and getting more potential customers. This allows you to reach a large audience of people interested in your services and increase bookings and revenue.

Google Ads for Hotels also allows you to directly promote bookings for your hotel through the specific features offered by the platform.

Google Ads for Restaurants, on the other hand, allow you to also intercept the audience of Google Maps, which has become the top-performing platform for Restaurant search. It has gained such a success that it has changed its name to Google Maps – GPS and Restaurants (check the Apple Store or Google Play if you don’t trust what I write). It’s the Digital Yellow Pages but few people have figured it out yet!

Special Bonus: Google has the same interest that your Ads perform and that you find a lot of customers because if this occurs, you will increase the investment on the advertising campaigns: when you understand that a new customer costs you 5 € and maybe you get 2 per day because you invest 10 €, it is easy that you can decide to increase the investment to 50 € per day to get 10 customers.

Social media have become an integral part of people’s lives, who spend several hours per day on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram that are social media in the strict sense of the word, and YouTube and TikTok that are true entertainment platforms. With advertising, that is, advertising campaigns within these platforms, you can make your hotel or restaurant known to new potential customers.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok Ads allow you to create highly targeted ads based on specific demographics, interests and behaviors of your target audience. In addition, with Facebook Ads, you can also promote special offers and events, actively engaging your audience and generating interest around your business.

Above all, it is easy to calculate ROI (return on advertising investment), that is, the actual impact of advertisements on your company’s business performance.

caro collega


In an increasingly digital, interconnected, and fast-paced world, intercepting audiences in line with your offer is a real MUST. The struggle to capture people’s attention is going to get tighter and tighter, and if you want to avoid going extinct like the dinosaurs, you must put your head on these matters, as well or find someone who can help you out.

I have a dream, which is to help Hoteliers and Restaurateurs overcome the wall of distrust and seize the opportunities that digital marketing offers to Hotels and Restaurants as well.
Are you ready to join the club of enlightened entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry?

Article written by Giancarlo De Leonardo, former Hotelier and Restaurateur, founder of Caro Collega.