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Blog / August 6, 2021

Part 3: Lessons on Retaining More Guests

guest retention

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? In this three-part series, we explore how you can Acquire, Engage and Retain more customers with SevenRooms.

In the final week of our recent Coffee Break series, we explored themes around how hospitality operators can retain more guests to maximize revenue for their businesses. Read on for key insights and takeaways from our ‘Retain’ discussion with Alexa Detzi, Director, Enterprise Success at SevenRooms. 

Retain More Guests

Retaining customers should be a major focus of any restaurant, as repeat customers are more valuable than first-time guests. In fact, a recent study showed that a 5% boost in customer retention can lead to an increase in sales of upwards of 95%. Retaining your guests for the long-term is crucial to a restaurant’s success, but how do you get your guests to come back? Success is reliant on several key factors: 

  • Owning your guest data and relationships
  • Investing in marketing automation tools 
  • Understanding guest sentiment
  • Sending personalized, targeted marketing using data 

Owning your guest data and relationships is crucial for a successful retention strategy, and it all starts with how you’re connecting with your customers. Do you have direct access to and ownership over your guest data? Do your customers have a way to connect with you directly? And do you have the data you need to create exceptional experiences for your guests? These are all important questions — and can all be achieved with the help of the right technology platform that provides you ownership over your guest data, while facilitating direct relationships that drive repeat visits and orders. 

That’s where SevenRooms comes in. We provide a 360-degree view of every guest, across every on- and off-premise interaction, helping build guest profiles that showcase: 

  • Personal data — name, email, phone number, etc.
  • Preference data — allergies, seating and drink preferences, etc.
  • Transactional data — order history, spending patterns, etc. 

Platforms like ours help you leverage your guest data to automatically market to your guests. With the right data and technology in place, restaurants can send highly targeted, automated marketing messages that look and feel personalized for guests. There are many benefits to marketing automation, including time savings, cost savings, consistency and increased retention. In fact, personalized marketing efforts have been shown to increase return visits for full-service restaurants from six to 12 percent. 

“Marketing automation leverages technology to put your restaurant’s marketing efforts on autopilot,” said Alexa Detzi, Director, Enterprise Success at SevenRooms. “This frees up your team to provide more memorable service experiences that technology can’t replace. Your teams will have more time to spend on the floor with guests, and not worry about how often you’re reaching out to the guest to keep them coming back.”

Today, with labor shortages and rising operational costs, automated restaurant marketing can help you increase loyalty and repeat business without adding headcount or special expertise. Review aggregation and guest feedback tools enable you to understand guest sentiment, with automatic post-meal surveys and a single, streamlined view of all reviews across every channel. These tools enable you to capture real-time feedback from guests, helping you understand what they loved about their experience or what you could do to make it better in the future. This data can also be used for targeted, automated email marketing campaigns, helping you address negative and positive feedback immediately after a guest’s experience and gaining loyal customers for life.

Using data such as the last time a guest visited, whether they left a positive or negative review, how much they spent, and much more, you can configure emails to send to guests when they exhibit a certain behavior or reach a certain threshold. For example, imagine a guest hasn’t visited your restaurant in 30 days. Instead of manually combing through your reservation books to find that information, you can set up an automated email marketing campaign to send out an email to the guest automatically saying ‘We Miss You’ and invite them back in to dine. 

There are many different ways to trigger automated email marketing campaigns. Guest data can be used to create automated guest tags such as ‘positive feedback’ or ‘first timer’ that can, in turn, be used to create tailored marketing emails. These specific emails can be used to thank guests for positive feedback, welcome new guests to your family, or a multitude of other use cases. They have the added benefit of making a guest feel special, ultimately driving deeper relationships that build loyalty.  

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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