Help your hotel and restaurant guests celebrate

It’s my birthday this week, and this morning I received a birthday card from my hairdresser. And like all the best birthday cards it had a gift tucked inside. OK, so it was only a voucher. Is this original? No. But as a customer, what does that say to me about them? It makes me feel that they value me as a customer. Will it help to keep my business? On it’s own it wouldn’t but it does help to reinforce the good service I receive. Will I end up spending just as much despite the voucher? Sadly (for me) probably yes.

And my hairdresser isn’t the only one doing it. I get regular texts from another store that I’ve not visited in 18 months, but they are great at reminding me when it’s Mothers Day, Valentines, or any other time I might be wanting a gift, or to help someone else celebrate.

But surprisingly I get very few mailings or communications of any kind from any hotels or restaurants where I’ve stayed or eaten. To the contrary, when we celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary a few months back, when I booked our favourite local restaurant I told them it was a special anniversary. Not one single mention of it while we were there. I was actually disappointed that no one had picked up on the fact.

People seldom celebrate alone; so helping your guests to celebrate seems an obvious opportunity to bring in more business. Capture your customers’ birthdays, anniversaries and special dates on your database, and then invite them to your hotel or restaurant to celebrate, and receive their special gift, offer, or maybe just that little bit of extra attention.

  • Invite wedding couples back for their first (and subsequent) anniversary.
  • Make birthday cakes or even just a cup cake and candle, as a surprise to give a day to remember.
  • Invite businesses to celebrate any awards.
  • Keep a note of special anniversaries for local businesses – their AGM, awards dinners, anniversary of their launch.

Make any offers or incentives worth while to encourage people to bring their family, friends or colleagues and make up a big party. What you lose in profit margin in one area generally you’ll more than make up for with the extra spend on other items.

But it’s not just about the additional business on the day. Bringing their friends, family or colleagues introduces others to your hotel or restaurant; look after them well and you’ve got a great opportunity of winning new customers.

And receiving a birthday card with a voucher – or an invitation to celebrate a forthcoming anniversary – is a pleasant surprise, and adds a very personal touch. (If you can hand write these, even better.) It can make a huge difference and really demonstrates your interest in your customer, building their loyalty and repeat business.

Adding personal touches and rewarding customer loyalty are some of the topics discussed in the interview series ‘How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge‘ which starts today and runs until 16th July. Register at any time, but the sooner you register the more calls you’ll have access to.

Caroline Cooper

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