Christmas is a lucrative time for restaurants, with office parties and annual gatherings of friends providing a good opportunity for businesses - especially those that can cater for large bookings and events - to end the year on a high. With this in mind, event management software company Tripleseat has partnered with KAM to interview 150 operators across the UK to understand their thoughts on the coming period and see where they can make the most of it. Based on the results, Tripleseat's John Karemy gives his top five tips to help Christmas 2023 be a cracker.
1 Tech is friend not foe
Everyone is aware just how difficult growing their team is right now, with recent reports suggesting there are well over 100,000 vacancies across the hospitality trade as a whole. With this in mind, it’s crucial that businesses are maximising their existing staff’s time and creating efficiencies. Businesses that took part in a recent survey revealed that on average they spend 9.32 hours a week managing bookings and events manually, the equivalent of losing a full week’s worth of a 9-5 every month. This is clearly a huge time-sink and integrating technology into a business for items such as managing bookings or managing inventory drastically reduces the time spent on administration and frees employees to put further focus on the business growth, customer satisfaction and retention.
2 Connect with customers past and present
Customer loyalty and retention is a significant part of securing repeat revenue. Research with KAM shows that 43% of hospitality venues surveyed are not tracking customers or prospects, an essential component of continuing to grow a business in the modern age via reviews, feedback and digital mailing. Of those that are tracking, one in five are doing so through spreadsheets, creating a time and labour-intensive system that is difficult to use and time-inefficient for staff. Digitising this and using automation means that businesses can provide better customer service and connect with more visitors, more frequently.
3 Don’t forget those who might have previously window-shopped
Just as important as collecting data from previous customers, is being able to collect data from customer prospects. This falls under the same umbrella as existing customers, with prospects included in the 43% of venues not tracking those that might have visited their site or sought additional information ahead of a booking that may not have come to fruition. This is all about making it as easy as possible for consumers to spend money at a time when every penny is under pressure. The ability to keep this data on record and contact them regarding promotions, menu changes or other marketing messaging is key and can result in a potentially huge increase in revenue.
4 Avoid the dreaded double booking
As simple as it sounds, this can be something many venues can have issues with. Our research highlighted that over a third (34%) of hospitality businesses are still using paper to manage event bookings. Given the importance and scale of bookings at the end of the year, missing out on one reservation could result in a key loss of revenue, especially at a time when the hospitality industry is struggling with record closures. Obviously, the risk of using only paper to keep track of bookings opens up the risk of double booking a private room, or missing a large booking altogether, resulting in unhappy customers and a very large loss in revenue.
5 Remember, it was worth it last year
2022 was a bumper year for events in Q4 with a median revenue increase of 41%, demonstrating the size of the opportunity for venues across the UK before the year ends, but it was a period that your venue was able to handle before and will be able to again. Learn from previous successes and grow from the mistakes that were made along the way to ensure you are delivering a successful and profitable Q4 this year and capitalise on what could be an enormous opportunity.
John Karemy is marketing lead at Tripleseat.