Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves’ platform to optimise the guest experience

May 31, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Howard Smith Wharves (HSW) on the waterfront in Brisbane sat vacant from the 1960s having originally being built in the 1930s at the behest of the Queensland government to provide locals with relief work during the Depression.

Today, the space has been completely redeveloped and the site is now home to an array of exciting venues including Felons, the Felons Barrel Hall, Mr Percival’s, Stanley, Yoko, Greca, Ciao Papi and The Fantuzzo Hotel.

The logistics of running such a space are demanding and the opportunity for direct to consumer communication, and data collection is huge. To interact with their consumers, HSW have adopted SevenRooms’ data technology platform to improve “the quality of the guest experience we provide,” says HSW CEO, Luke Fraser.

“SevenRooms appealed to us because of the comprehensive nature of the platform. It spans every function our venues need, all seamlessly integrated. Most importantly, the platform enables us to interact directly with our guests, rather than through a third-party platform that owns the relationships and guest data.

“Having a platform that we could adapt to our operations at Howard Smith Wharves, both in terms of our branding and our varied offerings, was very important to us. Through SevenRooms we’re able to deliver a consistent, high-level of service by leveraging approved data behind the scenes to ‘wow’ our guests at every visit,” says Fraser.

Founded in 2011, and headquartered in New York, Seven Rooms is an integrated direct to consumer platform. SevenRooms’ says it provides the industry’s only holistic platform that spans every touchpoint, helping venues build a 360-degree picture of every guest to build direct relationships, deliver exceptional experiences, and increase repeat business.

Paul Hadida, General Manager Australia at SevenRooms says, “Ambiance and the quality of food and drink has long been considered the hallmark of great hospitality businesses. Equally important today is guest experience and the appeal of being genuinely understood by a venue.

“Venues that deploy a one-size-fits-all approach to guest experience will quickly fall behind those who identify the importance of the personalised experiences that incentivise loyalty and turn occasional guests into regulars.

“Having access to guest data is a crucial competitive advantage and allows venues to deliver truly personalised experiences to each guest.”

‘SevenRooms’ – the name is curious and telling. Headquartered in New York, SevenRooms is inspired by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter’s theory of seven rooms as shared in the best-selling book, “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People”: “There are seven consecutive rooms in New York, each one more exclusive than the one before. Just when you think you’re at the best place or the top spot, there’s always another room you don’t have access to or one that you haven’t discovered yet.”

SevenRooms believe the seventh room is not the newest, nor the best, nor the latest, nor the greatest. Rather, it is the one that knows you best; the place where you feel most at home and its technology is intended to support venues in creating a personalised experience for their guests and the best opportunity for seamless service.

SevenRooms research found that 83 per cent of Australians would share their personal data with a venue for either health and safety measures or personalised experiences.

Guests’ data is saved on an opt-in basis only and SevenRooms point out that it is used only to enhance the experience for guests. Allergy information can be saved so guests will never receive promotional email promoting something they are allergic to. Or, if a guest visits the same restaurant and eats the same meal every month, SevenRooms will inform the venue so it can send a tailored promotion offering, for example, a free starter or a discount on that dish the next time they visit.

The platform was created to provide operators with comprehensive, integrated solutions that span both on- and off-premise, like QR codes to check-in and for contactless ordering and payments. Through online ordering, venues can offer direct delivery and collection services without having to rely on third-party delivery platforms like UberEats.

Hadida says: “When a guest reserves online, the technology flags their name, previous visits, spending habits etc, so the front of house staff can greet them by name, with a ‘welcome back’ or ‘thanks for visiting for the first time, we’re really happy to have you’. As a foodie myself, these are all the small elements that can go unnoticed, but that, when combined, create an experience that I remember and recommend to friends and family.”

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