Combine staffing shortages with the continued demand for off premises dining, and it’s become nearly impossible for operators to keep up with the guests who are coming through their doors, let alone create a unique experience for them.
To remedy this and make sure their guest relationships are on point, operators should look to a guest experience platform that can help them automatically create and utilize custom auto-tags on their guests. But, what are auto-tags, and how can operators use them? Custom auto-tags unlock and surface up critical guest data and insights for operators. They use rules-based algorithms to automatically apply customizable tags to a guest profile based on a wide array of guest behaviors. This enables restaurants to gain a complete view of their guests to deliver truly personalized service and hyper-targeted marketing – all without lifting a finger.
Elevating the On-Premise Experience
For a guest, nothing makes an on-premise dining experience better than feeling like they are welcomed and recognized. In fact, 51% of Americans say that a waiter remembering them from a previous visit would make their dining experience stand out. For operators, creating these warm hospitality interactions can be done easily by looking at the auto-tags on each guest’s profile.
Auto-tags can identify anything and everything about a guest, from spend thresholds and if a guest is a frequent no-show, to whether they’re a big tipper or often leave positive or negative feedback. They can be used in a wide array of circumstances to help staff proactively drive more revenue and deeper loyalty for the restaurant. For example, by helping them identify if a guest is a wine lover, and, if so, what they should offer or upsell.
The insights provided allow operators to craft and personalize the experience for each individual guest before they even arrive. This means that once a guest walks through the front door, their experience can be tailored from start to finish. With staff shortages affecting the hospitality industry across the world, auto-tags are also an important tool for enabling staff to do more with less. They can show the same level of hospitality to each and every guest, even if they’re short staffed for the day. This ultimately helps boost loyalty and guest retention -- keeping these guests coming back for years to come.
Taking the Experience Off-Premise
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of third-party services for online orders had exploded and the desire for takeout and delivery options had increased.
In fact, digital ordering and delivery has grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014, and it’s predicted that online ordering food revenue will rise to $220 billion by 2023. This number tells the story of why it’s so important to use a direct online ordering solution. Restaurants who leverage a third-party platform for delivery and pickup orders do not have access to data on their guests. This makes it impossible to know who they are and what types of experiences will drive their long-term loyalty. When it comes to delivery, 75% of restaurants guests prefer to order directly from the restaurant, according to HT's tenth annual 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study: Powering Hospitality's Recovery.
Coupling direct online ordering tools with auto-tags gives operators data that can help them elevate their off-premise experience and provide stellar experiences to a guest who might prefer to order-in for the night.
For example, off-premise auto-tags can identify which guests might be online ordering “regulars” or identify who might be a big spender. By identifying this, an operator can make a note to leave a complimentary appetizer or surprise in the guest’s next order – building that relationship from afar.
Bringing A Guest Back
Auto-tagging’s strategic use-cases don’t stop at creating amazing on- and off-premises experiences. They can also help increase revenue for a restaurant by helping to create repeat and loyal customers.
In this case, auto-tags on guest profiles can help operators automatically create customer segments and personalized marketing campaigns that encourage diners to make a reservation, order through a direct channel and even reengage a guest who may not have visited in a given period of time. It can also help push demand between on- and off-premise channels, helping restaurants to truly engage with guests across every aspect of the customer journey
For example, imagine a New York diner who visits a restaurant every Friday night for dinner. As a result, they have a ‘regular’ auto-tag applied to their profile. However, this guest has never ordered for delivery, and the operator wants to thank them for their long-term on-premise loyalty. Using this ‘regular’ auto-tag, this operator can create a highly-personalized marketing campaign that sends a 25% off promotion for Monday night delivery or pickup to only their most valuable customers.
With this type of remarketing, driven by auto-tags, both the customer and operator win -- the customer is rewarded for their loyalty, and the operator can drive revenue on what is typically a slower night for in-person dining.
Looking forward, operators must prioritize creating memorable and unique experiences for guests on- and off-premises, no matter if they’re facing staffing issues or not. They should look to implement auto-tags that will not only benefit them immediately by providing them with a goldmine of data about their guests, but also long-term through the loyal guests and revenue they will ultimately drive. It’s imperative that operators incorporate these changes to set themselves up for success as the restaurant industry continues its recovery post-COVID.
About the Author:
Joel Montaniel is the CEO & Co-Founder of SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for hospitality operators, where he leads business strategy. Prior to founding SevenRooms in 2011, Montaniel served as the Chief of Staff at LivePerson, leading strategic, operational, and cultural initiatives. He started his career at Credit Suisse within the Real Estate, Finance & Securitization Group. He graduated with a B.A. (Hons) from Georgetown University.