SevenRooms GM APAC gives advice on increasing marketing channel effectiveness

March 5, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Paul Hadida, General Manager APAC at SevenRooms, sat down with Drinks Trade to outline a comprehensive approach for all on-premise venue operators looking to improve the effectiveness of their marketing channels. 

“Restaurants, bars, pubs, and hotels around Australia are now gearing up for the traditionally slower season that straddles autumn and winter. As temperatures and daylight dwindle, post-work golden hour drinks or a weekend afternoon in a beer garden slow somewhat.  With venues having a little more time on their hands now than peak season, today is a good time for venues to review what worked and what didn’t this summer, and how they can capitalise over the coming months. 

One of the best places to start in this crucial business analysis is marketing; one the foundation of a venue’s ability to acquire and retain customers. It’s important to assess every acquisition channel – from direct methods to social media – recognising their pivotal roles in overall revenue. 

Review and reevaluate marketing strategies 

Every venue – no matter how established – needs a strategic and up-to-date marketing strategy to get people in the door and keep them coming back for more. Yet, marketing a hospitality venue is a delicate balancing act—from email marketing and guest surveys to social media. On top of that, measuring success is also equally important. Ignoring even one element can result in missed opportunities and potential revenue loss. 

To analyse if current marketing channels are effective, venues should examine metrics such as click-through rates, conversions, customer feedback, and spend per channel. These figures give operators insights into not only the most effective channels for reaching their target audience but also those that generate the highest value per reservation.

The introduction of exclusive discount codes or promotional offers for each marketing channel allows for precise measurement of their direct impact on sales and customer acquisition. Actively encouraging existing guests to refer a venue to friends and family becomes a significant revenue driver, contributing to both retention and acquisition. SevenRooms research revealed that 61% of diners discover new restaurants from friends, family and co-workers.

In order to fine-tune their marketing strategies based on actual figures, operators must also analyse reservation patterns alongside marketing campaigns to help them identify the correlation between marketing activities and venue traffic. By doing this, venues can also allocate resources strategically, and optimise return on investment across diverse channels.

Understand and adopt omnichannel 

Rather than relying on one booking channel, the venues that saw the greatest success in recent years were those that used multiple. That’s because guests no longer just discover new pubs and bars when out wandering local highstreets. SevenRooms’ research found that Aussies discover venues through multiple sources – traditional and online. Four in five find venues through word of mouth, while 62% use Google and 50% do so directly, through a venue’s website. Others use Facebook (21%), Instagram (18%) and TikTok (8%).

Essentially, an omnichannel marketing approach focuses on being present everywhere their “omnichannel” guests are. It may seem like a time-consuming job but through marketing automation, operators can create a seamless strategy and seamless guest experience across every channel. Through consistent, positive experiences and an omnichannel approach, venues can boost brand recognition, make more revenue, and attract and retain guests. In a sea of competition, consistency of message and consistency of presence helps venues cut through the noise.

Direct interactions and reservations  

While omnichannel is essential, few channels are more effective than a venues’ own email marketing platform, direct reservations and online ordering solutions. In fact, according to SevenRooms’ research, four in five Aussies agree that making reservations directly is better for the venue. 

During the upcoming quieter period, venues should focus on these platforms as direct reservations enable them access to guest-approved data. For any venue using direct booking channels like, for example, their own website – rather than a third-party marketplace – collecting approved guest data is automated. When a guest makes a direct reservation, places an order online, or uses a QR code to order or pay, venues can automatically collect and store data like the frequency of their visits and common orders, to anniversaries and even allergies. 

Consumers today want personalised and meaningful experiences. Through guest-approved data, venues can understand their unique habits and preferences – and therefore, what they need to do to improve their guest experience and incentivise loyalty and revenue. For example, if a guest places a reservation and includes their date of birth, a venue can send them a tailored offer or message on their birthday, to incentivise them to make a booking. Or if a venue is hosting an evening with a sommelier, they can segment their guests based on those who love wine. By collecting data and personalising their marketing, venues can lay the foundation for long-term success.

Whether a venue’s goal is to boost revenue during the slower months ahead or capitalise on the vibrant peak summer season, marketing is indispensable. By reevaluating their marketing channels and approaches now, venues can become more strategic and effective, cultivate meaningful relationships, and deliver standout guest experiences that meet the evolving demands of their audience, both in the short-term and well into the future.”

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