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Blog / August 6, 2021

Part 1: Lessons on Acquiring More Guests

Group of Friends at Table

Bianca Esmond

Warmer weather. Vaccine accessibility. Pent-up demand for travel and dining experience. The Restaurant Renaissance is here. 

But does your restaurant have the technology and operational processes in place to help you meet and exceed the expectations of these guests? This three-part series explores how you can Acquire, Engage and Retain more customers with SevenRooms.

Recently, SevenRooms launched its new website and brand category, redefining the company as the industry’s first and only Guest Experience and Retention platform. Over the last ten years, the company has evolved, now offering a complete, data-driven platform that helps operators create exceptional experiences that drive revenue and repeat business. Our mission to provide data to our customers is more important today than ever before. To quote SevenRooms CEO & Co-Founder Joel Montaniel in his Letter From the CEO, ‘Now, more than ever, we believe operators should own their guest data, build direct relationships with guests and have complete control and ownership over their digital channels. This is possible with SevenRooms’ Guest Experience and Retention platform.”  

In our recent three-week Coffee Break series, we explored themes around how hospitality operators can provide exceptional experiences to their guests while maximizing revenue for their businesses. Read on for key insights and takeaways about how operators can ‘Acquire’ more guests, featuring a discussion with Alexa Detzi, Director, Enterprise Success at SevenRooms and Jillian Ressler, VP of Brand at Tartine Bakery.

Acquire More Guests

There are three keys to acquiring more customers. First, it’s incredibly important to optimize and own your online presence to create deeper, longer-lasting relationships with your customers. Second, it’s important to create a plan that helps you connect with third-party diners and convert them into direct guests. Lastly, leveraging the data collected from those direct relationships is key to creating marketing programs that drive repeat business. 

Direct is best when it comes to your online channels, as a direct strategy enables you to create more touchpoints with guests that drive loyalty. To get started, take stock of all your online listings to confirm that your business and contact details are accurate and easy to find for guests. Ensure your menu is readily available online, that your profile has images of your venue and food, and that you have proactively responded to any publicly visible reviews. 

From there, make sure your call-to-action buttons are going to platforms that help you facilitate direct relationships with your guests. These should be platforms that help you collect and own your guest data, which can be used to acquire more guests.

“Now is the time to make the change [to direct solutions] because consumers are in the perfect place to be retrained,” said Alexa Detzi, Director, Enterprise Success at SevenRooms. “They’ve had a pause from their usual habits, and the media have planted seeds during the pandemic on the impact of third-party marketplace on small businesses like restaurants.”

When it comes to converting diners to direct, don’t forget the importance of communicating and marketing your unique offerings for guests that are only bookable via your owned channels. This could include the option to select indoor and outdoor seating options or special experiences like a Chef’s Table. 

Converting third-party guests to direct guests can be done in a few different ways. The first is through day-of confirmation calls. Have your host stand team insert book direct messaging into confirmation calls that encourages guests to go direct for their next experience with you. Once the guest is on-premise, train your host stand to welcome guests by communicating book direct programs and offers. Finally, make sure you’re leveraging physical assets to drive that message home. This could include a check insert educating guests on direct booking, a #bookdirect sign, or a card with a conversion offer, like a free drink the next time they visit and book directly. 

“We use our global website and social media channels to redirect people as much as possible to our direct channels,” said Jillian Ressler, VP of Brand at Tartine Bakery. “Everywhere we can, we’re messaging ‘Come find us on’ Once we get you to the global website, one of the first things you see is how to order for pick up or delivery directly. That’s been really powerful for us.” 

Guest data is the key to success. Capturing data on your customers as they interact with your brand both on- and off-premise helps you acquire guests directly, and more often. This data not only allows you to provide exceptional experiences to your customers but helps with long-term acquisition through targeted marketing. With a 360-degree view of the guests across online ordering and reservations, operators can drive repeat business automatically. 

“We have this really comprehensive view of our customers,” said Jillian Ressler, VP of Brand at Tartine Bakery. “Everyone booking reservations at one location and ordering delivery at another, or someone who has ordered delivery from us 20 times but never dined on-site. We’re utilizing SevenRooms marketing tools to send out direct reservation links [that get people back through our doors].”

Interested in learning more about how you can ACQUIRE, ENGAGE and RETAIN your guests? Learn more via our Coffee Break: Restaurant Renaissance series, or reach out to request a demo today. 

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