Marketing Automation: How to Cultivate Regulars On- and Off-Premise

a photo of Aaron Arizpe

Aaron Arizpe

5 min read

Oct 7, 2021

Marketing Automation: How to Cultivate Regulars On- and Off-Premise

Building and maintaining a strong base of loyal regulars is crucial to all hospitality businesses. But with more and more guest interactions taking place outside the four walls of your venue, how can you cultivate these relationships with your on- and off-premise clientele at the same time? And especially at a time when so many teams are short-staffed, how can you sustain them?

The answers start and end with guest data, the most powerful loyalty driver in an operator’s arsenal. Read on to see how today’s technology solutions empower hospitality businesses to collect an unprecedented amount of data, then leverage it to acquire and engage more customers than ever before. Plus, learn how marketing automation tools provide a scalable, time- and money-saving solution for operators looking to boost guest retention.

You Had Me at “Hello”

Loyalty starts with knowing your guests, an ongoing process that develops from the very first interaction. With a direct reservations platform, data collection starts the moment that someone makes a booking or joins your waitlist. Similarly, with direct online ordering solutions, the guest relationship begins immediately when an order is placed.

With a strong customer relationship management (CRM) system in place, each reservation and online order is automatically matched to an existing client profile, or a new one is created according to their contact information. An integrated point of sale (POS) takes this a step further, pulling up historical data on their past visits and orders, and offering real-time spend tracking.

In the framework of this robust database, client tags empower your staff with a 360° view of every customer, opening up endless opportunities for personalized service and hyper-targeted marketing campaigns proven to increase loyalty. Client tags make it easy to:

Quickly identify venue-specific and group-wide regulars
Provide a personalized experience based on known preferences
Segment your client database according to guest behavior
Reach these groups with timely, relevant marketing campaigns around major holidays, birthdays and more

Customizable auto-tags are even more powerful, allowing you to automatically identify specific guest segments based on an endless array of criteria including spend thresholds, visit or order frequency, and more. Whether you are looking to email the guests who joined you on Mother’s Day to promote your Father’s Day menu, or let your New Year’s Eve party guest list know about your Super Bowl delivery packages, cross-selling has never been easier.

Early and Often

Savvy operators know the importance of collecting guest data early and often. Since the full scope of a guest interaction doesn’t end when the bill is paid or food is delivered to a customer’s doorstep, it’s crucial to keep a constant eye on guest sentiment.

Luckily, review management software allows operators to view an aggregated summary of reviews from all of the popular third-party channels, and quickly link them to specific reservations and guest profiles. Meanwhile, guest feedback tools automatically send post-meal surveys to every guest, on- and off-premise.

Armed with this rich data, operators can build even more comprehensive guest profiles while keeping their finger on the pulse of guest satisfaction. By soliciting this direct feedback first – and fast – you can manage any issues before they escalate, which creates meaningful opportunities for guest recovery and ongoing guest retention.

Boosting Loyalty with Marketing Automation

Ultimately, all of the data in the world is meaningless if you can’t find a way to use it. But there isn’t always a dedicated marketing team on staff to help leverage valuable guest data by creating targeted campaigns that can boost repeat business. Fortunately, this is precisely where marketing automation comes in.

We’ve seen how strategic auto-tagging helps operators build specific customer segments. Marketing automation software then allows them to effectively engage each of these groups by sending the right message, at the right time. Data-driven and automated, these additional guest touchpoints create incredible opportunities for relationship-building.

The best marketing automation solutions come with a library of email campaigns proven to drive repeat business, create guest recovery opportunities and boost retention. Common examples include:

Re-engagement – Automatically tag and email guests who haven’t visited or ordered in a given period of time, in an effort to bring them back.
Late Cancellations & No-Shows – Target truant guests with automated emails to encourage them to re-book.
Feedback – Thank guests who leave positive feedback, or buy yourself time to follow up with guests who leave negative feedback.
Abandoned Waitlist – Reach out to guests who join your virtual waitlist but don’t get seated, in order to offer them a reservation for next time.
Booked/Ordered Through a Third-Party – Convert every customer to book or order direct.

Whether it’s touching base with your longtime, dine-in regulars or reaching out to the armchair quarterbacks at home ordering game day delivery, staying connected to your clientele with marketing automation software is crucial to cultivating repeat customers. Book a demo to learn how SevenRooms can set your business up for success with these powerful tools today.

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