Success Story

How Data Consolidation Skyrocketed Solotel’s Revenue Across 26 Venues

Nov 22, 2023

How Data Consolidation Skyrocketed Solotel’s Revenue Across 26 Venues

Managing even one restaurant’s tech stack can be challenging for any team. But when you have over 20 properties, data consolidation isn’t just a nice-to-have — it’s a necessity. 

Robert Squillacioti is the chief marketing officer for Solotel, which manages a diverse portfolio of pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels across Australia. While Robert knew that data consolidation would be a game-changer for Solotel, there was one major roadblock: he couldn’t find the right solution. 

“We’d done a lot of work in understanding operationally what customers needed in the customer experience, and we’d found that no one could really solve that,” Robert explains. 

Robert wanted a system that went beyond reservations — one that enabled the Solotel team, from corporate to front of house, to create exceptional guest experiences powered by data. This solution was SevenRooms — but Robert just didn’t know it yet. 

Without a central database, Robert and the Solotel team had to spend time manually pulling data across systems. They also didn’t have easy access to high-level reporting, limiting their ability to understand guest and venue-level trends and translate that data into effective marketing campaigns. 

We talked to Robert about how he solved these data and business challenges with SevenRooms’ customer relationship management (CRM) system and integrative marketing solution. He also shared how data consolidation has allowed him to create hyper-targeted marketing campaigns and guest experiences, leading to improved revenue and guest retention.  

Building a Customer-First Approach With Data Consolidation 

When Robert joined Solotel, he saw an opportunity to improve the data collection process across venues and the company as a whole. 

“I came in when our digital maturity was really low. I was able to build a team out internally to then look at things like our ecosystem, our technology and our architecture and what’s solving for what.” 

Through this process, the Solotel team categorised tech into four buckets: customer experience, employee experience, infrastructure and reporting, with customer and employee experience being the most important.

As Robert says, “We knew our customers’ behaviour to a point, but it was very manual. We had to export data out of one system and match it from one system to another.”

Finding a Central Database Solution

Reexamining Solotel’s tech needs led Robert to look for a solution that was not just “an operational reservations system, but a marketing function.” 

Their reservation system at the time, ResDiary, was limited — it didn’t give them access to the robust guest data they needed to better understand their customers and business, and it didn’t solve the problem of inefficiency across the company.

After learning that SevenRooms was an all-in-one CRM, reservation and marketing solution, Robert realised it would allow him to create a comprehensive customer data platform (CDP) to aggregate data at the company and venue levels and eliminate manual data-pulling. 

Now, Robert has access to data from multiple sources in a central hub, including SevenRooms’ CRM, guest profiles, marketing automation and an array of integrated digital marketing solutions from other customer systems.

“It’s really exciting now because we can see so much. And it’s really underpinned by SevenRooms,” Robert says.

Translating Guest Data Into More Impactful Marketing Campaigns

With SevenRooms, Solotel has a deeper understanding of its customers — which varies widely per venue — and can access deeper, more impactful insights through guest profiles and tags. 

Guest profiles allow Robert and his team to store and access guest information, preferences and history, enabling highly personalised service and hyper-targeted marketing campaigns. 

“What we find really works with SevenRooms is the instantaneous, or automated messages, we can trigger off the back of particular behaviour. We’ve seen great success with the birthday campaigning. Great success in the upgrades.”

Guest tags, on the other hand, enable guest segmentation based on specific criteria, like visit frequency, spending thresholds and feedback, leading to deeper insights and tailored guest experiences.

“Through our customer data platform, we can now create segments based on guest behaviours including spend and visit history which helps us better define our VIPs,” Robert says, allowing his team to roll out targeted messaging, VIP treatment and special offers to drive repeat visits and more revenue.  

As Robert says, “Our strategy and approach is very much customer first, and we use technology to enable that.” 

How Data Consolidation Led to Company-Wide Transformation

With a diverse portfolio ranging from local pubs to fine dining, Solotel relies on data to understand venue-specific guest behaviour and anticipate changing restaurant trends. 

“As things evolve and markets change, and even suburbs change where the venues are, the guests tend to change as well,” Robert says.

While a consolidated database helps the Solotel team identify overarching trends and patterns, the benefits don’t end there. From cost-efficiency to more effective promotions, Robert shared how data consolidation has positively benefited Solotel and each of its venues. 

Increased Efficiency and Time Savings 

A consolidated database has enabled the Solotel team to shift its focus from manual data-pulling across systems to effecting change at the company and venue levels.

For example, now that they don’t have to spend time pulling reports, Roberts says the team can hone in on behavioural trends and parlay these insights into creating a better guest experience. Having one integrated data source has also led to more efficient and effective meetings.

“When we talk about SevenRooms, it’s my customer service manager, digital marketing manager and my marketing manager from the restaurant family all together having one conversation around one bit of information instead of everyone trying to pull data from different directions.”

It also means team members can interpret reports, identify trends and translate critical insights into effective strategies without outside help.

“I don’t have to have a data analyst involved at all. It’s all at the click of a button.” 

The user-friendly interface and easy-to-read graphs enable team members — regardless of technical proficiency — to interpret restaurant data and set key performance indicators (KPIs) without having to be a “reporting wizard,” as Robert puts it. 

Data-Driven Insights That Drive Smarter Business Decisions

One of Robert’s favourite features is SevenRooms’ Performance Comparison, which allows him to forecast reservation pacing trends.

performance comparison table

“That’s one thing that’s really great now, is we can sort of watch that like hawks and know what the next week or the next 10 days is going to look like.” 

Through this feature, Robert can compare historical data to see if Solotel venues are tracking behind, on par or ahead, and then use this data to inform business decisions.

“Because we’re so diverse, the ability to get the reporting on a global scale and then be able to break it down by restaurants and then everything else, it drives a lot of our thinking.”

For example, with this feature, they know what the next 10 days will look like in advance — including what percentage of reservations they should historically have by that time frame. They can then use this information to bring in more staff if they’re pacing ahead or create an email campaign with booking specials if they’re behind. 

With multiple filtering options, like per venue and overall, Solotel can focus on increasing reservations for a priority venue or meeting or exceeding global revenue goals. 

These reports can be automated and sent each week, ensuring the team remains up-to-date on each venue’s performance, promoting efficient and informed decision-making.

Hyper-Targeted Upsells That Drive “Easy Revenue” 

Upsells are a smart way to boost revenue and increase guest satisfaction, and Solotel uses SevenRooms’ integrated data to make this marketing tactic even more effective.  

Robert notes that the Solotel team identified an exciting upsell opportunity by looking at restaurant analytics from one of Solotel’s restaurants, North Bondi Fish

Sales of a specific Champagne brand were high at this venue, prompting the Solotel team to offer the bubbly as an upgrade through the SevenRooms reservation widget.

sevenrooms booking widget upgrades

“The upgrade sale on Veuve Clicquot [at North Bondi Fish] is through the roof. It’s just amazing. We know that’s what the clientele wants and drinks. The ability to just have it there and add that bottle to an experience has been really, really strong.” 

After successful implementation, the Solotel team rolled out this upsell to another Solotel venue, their fine-dining, Sydney-based restaurant, Aria. In the screenshot above, you can see that customers are presented with a reservation upgrade after selecting a date and time. They can choose a glass or bottle of champagne at varying price points and pre-pay, so the upgrade awaits them upon arrival. 

Solotel has since implemented upsells across 10 venues. In the first half of 2023 alone, they generated over $120,000 AUD in incremental revenue. 

Because of this success, upsells have become a strategic focus for Solotel. As Robert notes, “Upgrades we’re all over. We love that. It’s easy revenue.”

Personalised Marketing Campaigns That Boost Loyalty 

Guest data, combined with automation, allows Solotel to surprise and delight guests while reducing the workload for the marketing team. It also helps boost loyalty and retention rates.

“Because our brands are strong, luckily, there is an element of frequency, but there is so much opportunity to get people to come back,” Robert said. “Even once or twice more in a year would drastically change our business.” 

Robert and his team look to SevenRooms’ automated email features to drive reservations and walk-ins, and the consolidated data to assess performance. Each restaurant has its own unique retention and acquisition targets. To help meet performance goals, Robert implemented an email trigger campaign featuring a customised birthday greeting and a complimentary birthday cocktail. 

Showing appreciation with an unexpected gift was a hit with Solotel’s venues’ guests. The campaign generated 787 covers and over $125,000 AUD in revenue. 

As Robert says, “Getting an email into an inbox to drive behaviour still works.” 

But the real star here was guest data, which allowed Solotel to send personalised birthday greetings to email subscribers before their big day, leading to a spike in reservations. 

birthday gift targeted promotionTailored Events and Experiences That Wow Guests 

Special events are a big driver of business for Solotel’s venues. Using guest data, the Solotel team creates events tailored to venue-specific guest spending habits and preferences. 

special event gordon ramsay

Past events have included a wine dinner at Solotel restaurant, Barangaroo House, and a “meat master class” at Chophouse, presented by renowned Chef Matt Moran. 

But the one that really resonated with guests was the Gordon Ramsay popup at Aria featuring special menu items and a wine pairing. Using SevenRooms’ event management software, Solotel sold a whopping 300 covers in seven minutes. 

Hosting unique events is a way for Solotel to ensure its venues stay top of mind with target audiences. 

“The big thing for us is making sure we stay relevant. We’re in this experience race,” Robert says.  

Robert also notes that his team keeps a pulse on shifting restaurant industry trends to ensure each brand stays fresh.

“The younger demographic, millennials and a bit younger, are really looking for overarching experiences rather than just ‘I’m going to get food and drink at the pub’,’” he says.  

Solotel understands that guests crave unique dining experiences, and data has enabled them to create standout events that drive ticket sales, attract VIPs and boost retention rates.

The Key to Success: Leave Nothing on the Table 

It’s clear that managing and marketing a robust, diverse portfolio comes with many challenges. But Robert leans on SevenRooms’ unified CRM and marketing solutions to create a customer-first approach that keeps guests coming back for more. 

While restaurant data consolidation is an essential first step, it’s how you use that data that makes all the difference. Robert makes it a point to leverage all of SevenRooms’ marketing features to help increase loyalty, repeat business and revenue. This strategy has enabled Solotel to get the most out of SevenRooms’ consolidated data analytics, from reservations and retention to revenue management

To learn more about how SevenRooms can help you consolidate data across platforms, resulting in improved guest experience and deeper insights, book a demo today