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Blog / June 2, 2022

4 Keys to Building Stronger Guest Relationships

Aaron Arizpe Headshot

Aaron Arizpe

In the hospitality industry, as in life, communication is the foundation of any good relationship. It helps operators build rapport with diners, establish expectations, remind guests of upcoming reservations, and get them to come back after their experience is over. With this in mind, operators need to be strategic in their approach to each and every guest touchpoint. But with a growing number of these interactions taking place virtually, how can you create and maintain a brand voice that can be heard clearly around the world?

Luckily, software innovations make it possible to own your end-to-end guest experience — no matter where or in which language it takes place. Today’s best reservations, waitlist and online ordering systems give you the tools to meet guests where they are and make it easy for them to interact with your brand.

Read on to learn 4 ways to leverage these versatile platforms to generate revenue and insights for your business, while strengthening your guest relationships in the process:

1. Keep your brand front and center with white-labeled solutions.

Digital touchpoints like social media posts and marketing emails are now as prevalent as good old-fashioned handshakes and table touches. They also provide equally valuable opportunities to make a lasting impression. For guests joining your waitlist, placing an order or making a reservation online, white-labeled solutions like SevenRooms ensure your brand is always at the forefront.

Customizable widgets allow you to communicate cancellation policies, dress codes and other important details up-front. With a direct, white-labeled booking tool you can capture each guest’s contact information to help grow your client database automatically. Plus, multi-venue operators can display reservation availability or wait times for their entire portfolio in one place, enabling cross-selling among sister properties and keeping more business “in the family.”

One popular NYC venue prominently outlines its cancellation policy with a pop-up.
Another in Chicago has configured their widget for easy cross-selling.

2. Double your “clique” with direct booking and ordering links.

Whether guests discover you by strolling past your storefront or scrolling through their feeds, it’s important to capture their attention. But fully utilizing every inch of your valuable digital real estate involves more than just stepping up your Instagram game. It’s just as important to create a seamless online experience for your guests while also prioritizing direct, commission-free reservations and orders.

These best practices will help you meet your guests where they are, increase profitability and convert today’s followers into tomorrow’s regulars:

  • Plaster direct booking and ordering links across owned channels like your website, Google My Business profile, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Rely on third-party marketplaces only when you need more traffic during harder-to-fill time slots — and download SevenRooms’ revenue management guide for more tips on book optimization.
  • Optimize your Google listing, since up to 30% of all reservations are made there.
  • Set up a virtual waitlist so that guests can access your waitlist from anywhere, and enable two-way SMS messaging to alert diners the moment their table is ready.
“Book Now” buttons feature prominently on this Chicago restaurant’s social media profiles.
This New York-based restaurant group has enabled a virtual waitlist with two-way SMS messaging.

3. Welcome international guests with multi-language communications.

Popular third-party booking engines make it easy for international travelers to make flight and hotel arrangements in their native language. So why not extend the same courtesy when it comes time for them to make restaurant reservations?

Globally-minded platforms like SevenRooms offer the ability to customize your communications in 14 different guest-facing languages and counting. These options are available via a simple drop-down menu within the booking widget and can be extended across the entire guest journey, including confirmation emails. Better yet, these translations are pre-built into the software and can be quickly enabled as needed.

At this popular Italian restaurant in Paris, guests can quickly toggle between English, French and Italian through a drop-down menu within the reservation widget.

4. Keep the conversation going by automating guest follow-up.

The full guest journey shouldn’t end when the bill is paid or an order is delivered, but few operators have the resources necessary to follow up with guests individually. Those who do are often forced to take a “spray and pray” approach, broadcasting generic messages across their entire email database. This fragmented, impersonal experience makes keeping track of guest sentiment difficult, and cultivating regulars even harder.

Fortunately, marketing automation software can help you personalize your communications with every guest — and stay connected for the long haul. First, strategic auto-tagging lets you quickly identify the specific customer segments (like positive reviewers or first-timers) that matter to your business. Then, marketing automation tools allow you to target these guests with a library of out-of-the-box email campaigns proven to drive repeat business, create guest recovery opportunities and boost retention. Best of all, tracking links and email conversion tracking make it easy to evaluate the performance of each promotion.

In-depth campaign performance reports help you measure the ROI of every marketing promotion. 

Looking to take full control of your end-to-end guest experience? Book a demo to learn how SevenRooms can help you own and optimize every guest touchpoint, increase profitability and boost customer loyalty.

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