‘Guests like to be known’: restaurants luring diners back via personal reservations

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Booking a array astatine your favourite edifice nary longer involves simply contacting nan constitution and giving your details. Now it often involves nan edifice contacting you excessively – sometimes respective times over.

Online booking platforms utilized by hundreds of restaurants successful nan UK now nonstop retired preservation confirmations, reminders, requests for feedback, early deals and news. Some nonstop definite customers a “personalised booking link” aft their visit, to promote them to travel back. “I dream you had a awesome clip connected your past sojourn … and that you’ll travel backmost to spot america again soon,” sounds 1 example, sent connected behalf of Som Saa, a Thai edifice successful eastbound London, via booking level SevenRooms.

“If you’re keen to research much of nan paper and already person a day successful mind, you tin ever book a array done our nonstop booking nexus here. Hope to spot you soon, Som Saa team.”

Som Saa co-founder Mark Dobbie said: “In a metropolis for illustration London, it’s difficult to guidelines retired from nan crowd sometimes, truthful it’s adjuvant to beryllium capable to punctual group we’re here.”

July, a precocious opened edifice successful cardinal London that uses SevenRooms, has besides been sending retired individual booking links. “So acold it’s been going well,” said co-founder Julian Oschmann. “About 10% of our first-time guests usage it to make different booking.”

SevenRooms introduced what it calls “marketing automation” successful 2019, but said restaurants are progressively moving to personalise their communications to customers. Guests mightiness beryllium invited to book again astatine definite moments, including aft their first visit, if they haven’t visited for a definite number of days, aliases if they didn’t rebook aft cancelling. A edifice mightiness besides promote them to book again if they bought a circumstantial wine, aliases deed a spending threshold, nan level said.

“Restaurant operators person realised that personalised retention trading performs amended than different tactics,” a SevenRooms spokesperson said. “Restaurants want to cognize and understand their guests, and guests want to beryllium ‘known’ by their favourite spots.”

Som Saa, adjacent Liverpool St position successful London.
Som Saa, adjacent Liverpool St position successful London. Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Observer

Inflation and nan costs of surviving situation led to a 6.7% alteration successful edifice spending successful 2023, according to Barclays data. And among those who are still going retired to eat, location is simply a trend, peculiarly pinch younger customers, to book much than 1 venue earlier deciding which of them to spell to. Booking level ResDiary reported a 60% summation successful no-shows for reservations successful 2023, astatine 8%, compared pinch 5% for 2022. No-shows led to an mean yearly gross nonaccomplishment of £3,600 per venue, it said. Sending reminders mitigates cancellations.

Feedback emails are besides valuable. “We study a batch from nan customer feedback we receive,” said Dobbie. “We look astatine it arsenic a team, weekly, and talk if location is thing we tin do otherwise to improve. We person a consequence complaint of astir 15% of tables. The immense mostly of those are positive, I’m pleased to say.”

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These communications tin besides thief restaurants tailor offers to peculiar guests. “You can, for example, tag a impermanent who was super-interested successful nan uncommon riesling list, and erstwhile that has been refreshed you tin specifically fto them and different riesling lovers cognize there’s thing going connected that you mightiness beryllium willing in,” said Dobbie.

Ben Floyd, proprietor of Lumière edifice consultancy, recommends his clients correspond pinch customers. Unless a crockery aliases a venue goes viral, he said, societal media sites for illustration Instagram don’t thrust overmuch custom. “With booking platforms, you tin punctual group you’re there, and [be] much targeted astir marketing.”

Restaurants saw an mean of £727 successful gross from each automated email campaign, said SevenRooms data.

But excessively galore emails, from booking links to newsletters, whitethorn move imaginable customers off, though diners tin opt retired of communications. “Continually bombarding week-in, week-out pinch offers is annoying,” said Floyd. “There is simply a line.”

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Source theguardian
theguardian