Category Archives: Grow your Business

And the winner is…

Award WinnerEarlier this month I was a guest at an awards ceremony – the British Excellence in Sales Management Awards, hosted by the very funny Jimmy Carr. Quite apart from having a great evening and an excuse to put on a posh frock, I was delighted when I discovered my host was up for an award. And this wasn’t any old award; this with the lifetime achievement award. So you can imagine my delight – and of course his – when he was announced the winner. Such a proud moment for him, and made me feel proud to be part of it.

Congratulations Peter Thomson, well deserved.

So today I’d like to talk more about the power of awards, but…

Before we get into that I’d like to announce our survey results.


The results are in

It was fantastic to hear that so many of you (47%) feel incredibly lucky to have an amazing team who are fantastic ambassadors for your business.

The not so good news that 35% of you believe your managers/supervisors lack confidence/experience to lead effectively.

Although 30% say you have only one or two challenging people but overall they are fairly engaged, 22% recognise you have a number of staff who are disengaged.

I was also really interested in some of the things you systematically do to measure levels of engagement amongst your team.

So over the coming weeks I will share with you some more ideas of things you can be doing with your team to measure levels of employee engagement and ideas on how to improve it.

I’m also thinking through what else I can do for you to help bridge that gap where your managers lack the confidence to lead effectively (which probably no doubt has an impact on levels of employee engagement too).

Here’s one way of boosting employee engagement for starters…


External awards are a fantastic way to give recognition to your team; to show you appreciate their hard work. And although winning is great, just being nominated for an award is a great morale booster, because it demonstrates your team you think you are worthy of it.

They also provide an opportunity to stand out from the competition and boost your business profile.

I recall from my corporate days when our sales director put me forward for the Institute of Marketing Sales Trainer of the year award. I didn’t win but I was one of the finalists, which gave me a huge boost, and an opportunity to invite my colleagues along to the awards dinner which was great for my profile and for the business.

Keep your eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. Look at the criteria they are looking for and ensure a good match for you and your business.

And even if you currently think you’re light years away from reaching those criteria, set it as a goal to nominate your team (or an individual within your team) for the award next year. Let them know the goal and work with them on developing an action plan to fill the gaps. Then empower them to do what it takes to reach that goal.

Even doing something internally as a league table can help maintain focus as well as an element of fun. This might mean concentrating on a different theme each month so that everyone has the opportunity to be recognised for their particular skills and strengths. Just as long as it’s relevant to your definition of success.

Be sure to recognise all departments, including back of house staff, or those in non-customer facing roles. It’s all too easy for them to get forgotten, and of course they all have their part to play.

So what awards will you be entering in 2018?

What do you want to be famous for?

What would you think of a menu that only had one dish on it ? Or a venue that only offered one option.   Well that’s exactly what happens at Bubbledogs who serve the unlikely combination of grower champagne and gourmet hotdogs.

So why would anyone in their right mind provide such a limited offering. Well lots of reasons……   

Firstly you’re only going to attract customers who like and want champagne and/or hot dogs!

But from a marketing perspective it makes it so much easier to stand out. You get known for one thing, and one thing that you do really well. And suddenly you’ve cut down on all that competition. Now you’re no longer competing with any restaurant or wine bar, only being compared to other champagne bars. And how many of them serve hot dogs? None. So your USP is obvious.

And by only focusing on one offering you have a chance to get it right…. Source the finest ingredients; practice it day in day out to perfection.  You become the go to place for whatever it is you specialise in.

Look at it this way: If you had a problem with your heart your doctor would refer you to a heart specialist. If you wanted a top of the range mountain bike you’d go to a specialist mountain bike shop rather than Amazon or Halfords.  If you need some advice on employment law you wouldn’t just go to any solicitor, you’d go to one who specialises in employment law.

I know this idea makes some people nervous.  “Well, what about all the people who don’t want champagne or hotdogs? That means I’ll lose all their business!”  Yes, that’s right, you will. But do you want these people anyway? We all know how draining it is to have customers who don’t appreciate what you offer. Keep them away and focus on those who do want what you offer.

Being all things to all men doesn’t work. It dilutes what you do. And it means you end up with such a diverse range of customers that it becomes impossible to appeal to every one of them. If your customers are incompatible with one another you run the risk of losing them all.

In the example of Bubbledogs what they’re famous for is the product. And there are any number of products you may become famous for: your cream teas, your extensive wine list, a specific tour, ride, exhibit or activity, an unusual treatment, the best golf course in the county, the place to go to see giraffes, learn how to grow grasses or buy gorgeous gifts.

The list is endless.

But it doesn’t have to be the product itself. It could be centred on yours (and your customers’) interests: local history, gardening (which for anyone who knows me, gets my attention every time!), classic cars, fashion, or photography. All these provide an opportunity to share your interest and passions, as well as providing a theme, which can be built on.

What you become famous for might be the emotions you create: the fun factor, amazing memories, adrenaline and excitement, calm and relaxation.

It might be centred on what else people do when they visit you. Are you used as a base for wild and windy coastal walks, sailing or surfing, motor racing, quad biking, horse racing.

And once you’re famous for one thing you’ll not only attract the attention of your perfect customers, it becomes considerably easier to attract the attention of potential joint venture partners who already have access to the customers you’d love to get known to (and vice versa)  and choose where to promote yourself.

Once you have identified what it is that you have that others don’t, make sure you share this at every opportunity. Tell and show your customers how you incorporate these into your business. Show your customers in as much detail as possible what you do that is different, so they can see all this before they choose you. It could be why they choose you.

Oh, I’ve heard of them. Isn’t that the place that does …….”

It’s very easy to be enthusiastic and passionate about something that interests you, and this enthusiasm will translate into business if managed smartly. It means you are more likely to attract the type of customers with whom you can build up a good rapport and a better prospect of repeat business.

Unless you have a USP or some point of differentiation, you’re in danger of ending up with price being the only point of differentiation. And hands up, who wants to be competing on price alone?

Are you wasting sales opportunities in your restaurant or pub?

Are you wasting sales opportunities in your restaurant or pub?

Yesterday I went to wave on the Olympic Torch as it passed us by in our nearby town. After parking a good 20 minutes walk away and standing in the rain for 20 minutes I was certainly ready for a cup of coffee, as I’m sure were many others.

I knew I’d be passing a pub restaurant on the way back to the car, along with another 200 or so people who’d parked in the same street. So that meant 200 or so cold, thirsty and wet customers.

And guess what?

The pub was closed. What a waste!

Here they had a captive audience, and completely gone to waste. And the next thing is they’ll be moaning about lack of business. Surely for that number of people it was worth opening 30 minutes earlier and making a song and dance about it. After all we all had to walk past on our way to the procession. Juat a little bit of restaurant marketing could have gone a long way.

Even with passing trade there was a great opportunity to drum up business.

What could they have done?

Here are 7 ideas to get some sales:

  1. Took account of the weather and how people would be feeling on the day
  2. Put up a welcome board or sign to attract attention
  3. Organised take away coffee for people en route to the procession
  4. Put together a bundled offer – e.g. coffee and Danish or hot food to give value for money and upsell opportunity (win-win)
  5. Joined the other businesses who got press coverage of what they were doing to celebrate (and get on the radar of visitors for potential further business; another win-win)
  6. Contacted their regulars and existing customers to let them know what they had on offer (easy if you have a mailing list)
  7. Bothered to open the doors!

I know it’s not rocket science……

For more articles and resources


Pageants, Processions and Pride

I swear I wasn’t the only one with a tear in my eye as we watched the closing moments of Dame Kelly Holmes’ two gold medal winning races and that proud moment as she stood on the medal rostrum to the sound of the National Anthem. The word she used to sum up how she felt was ‘Pride’, and this was repeated a year later when she heard the news that London had won the Olympic bid.

In the UK we’ve certainly had plenty of our own proud moments over the past week with all the pageants and processions of the Diamond Jubilee.

So what’s this got to do with running a successful hospitality businesses?

When I am presenting anything to do with customer service I often ask my audience to share something they are proud of either at work or home, past or present. It’s amazing to see the transformation in people as they share their proud moments. Their whole physiology changes, their eyes light up, there’s a sense of energy and enthusiasm about them that really projects a ‘can do’ attitude.

Creating that sense of pride can be projected into our businesses too.

Do you have a business and an offering you are really proud of? Rest assured if you aren’t proud of what you do and are prepared to shout about it, your team and suppliers won’t take much pride either and this will certainly have an impact on the quality of product and service your customers receive.

If you wouldn’t want to stay in your hotel, eat in your restaurant or drink in your bar, why on earth would your customers? If you’re not proud of what you do, change it! Find something you are passionate about and is authentic to you.  Home in on one or two specific offerings that are your real stars of the show, that you can proud of and shout about, and which make you stand out. (And don’t be afraid to charge accordingly.) Make this something that appeals to a cross section of your target audience and for any given time of day or type of event, so this almost becomes your signature offering.

And if you are proud of this, it will be so much easier for your suppliers and team to show their own pride too and rave about this to all your customers.

Time for Tea?

I’m on a mission at the moment. To be able to get a decent cuppa when I go out!

After a lovely afternoon tea with friends at the Savoy last week it brought home to me just how much of an opportunity we are missing in hotels, restaurants and cafes. The top hotels have truly embraced this; look at what they are delivering at the Berkeley for example with their royal hats themed cakes, and local to me at Pennyhill Park in Surrey.

But if tea really is such a British institution couldn’t we be making more if it?

Nowadays we can get every possible permutation for coffee. But as a tea drinker few offer anything like the same selection of teas or put in anything like the same amount of effort.

According to the Tea Council tea outsells coffee by 2:1, but of this 86% is drunk at home. Is this because tea drinkers don’t trust hotels, restaurants and cafes to make a decent cuppa?

Do the numbers add up?

There’s certainly a commercial argument for getting tea right. The potential margins on a cup of tea are higher than coffee, and if you make an occasion of it this gives the opportunity for upselling a full afternoon tea package.

And unlike coffee you don’t need fancy and expensive equipment to make your perfect cup or pot of tea.

If 7/10 people drink at least one cup of tea a day (opposed to only 4/10 who drink coffee) there has to be an opportunity for any hostelry to be tapping into this market, surely?


According to Bill Gorman of the Tea Council in his presentation at Caffe Culture last week, contrary to popular belief tea does not contain more caffeine than coffee, it actually contains about half the amount compared to instant coffee and a third of filter coffee. Tea is also widely known to be rich in a particular group of antioxidants called flavonoids; there is about eight times the amount of ‘anti-oxidant power’ in three cups of tea than there is in one apple.

More information can be found on the Tea Advisory Panel site.

And above all else tea is refreshing. So when we do get a summer, it’s a great way to rehydrate. Tea makes up 1/3 of what we drink. Whilst the black tea market has plateaued speciality tea is growing by 7%. The biggest competition comes from water and juices.


There’s a lot of snobbery around loose tea. Loose leaf can still be poor quality. Your customers will trust the big brands, which use a plucking standard (2 leaves and a bud) which produce approximately 4-5% fibre, whereas a cheaper economy tea might use 6-7 leaves and get 40-50% fibre, which makes for a pretty poor drink.

There a huge range of quality teas, both loose leaf and tea bags. I just love those sexy little pyramid bags such as Novus . Exploit the branding and if you use a quality product you are going to be more confident in charging a decent price. If you are just starting to expand you tea range do it gradually; judge your customers tastes, avoid wastage and build up your team’s knowledge gradually.


Why do we hide our tea offer? You look at the menu and see all the coffees listed out and then hidden somewhere in the middle you’ll spot ‘Tea’. Give it prominence on your menu, and give some detail to educate your customers. At the Savoy the tea menu (all 4 pages of it!) each tea had a description. Not only this, the waiters were able to describe each tea, and asked what sort of tea we liked so they could recommend. (At the time I thought this a bit ironic to have a Canadian and a German knowing way, way more about tea than the 4 of us Brits put together!)

If you are in a setting where your tea is on view, make sure it is presented in a way that shows you give your tea some care. Leaving it sitting in a tatty cardboard box on top of a water boiler, getting dried out does little to enhance its appeal. You wouldn’t expect a customer to buy a can of Coke sat at an ambient temperature on the counter. Talk to your tea suppliers about display tins or stands.


Tea needs freshly drawn water (so there’s oxygen and nitrogen in the water apparently, but please don’t ask me about the science behind this!) For black tea the water needs to be boiling. This means that water from your coffee machine won’t be hot enough for a decent tea. On the other hand green tea will become bitter if made with boiling water, so let the temperature drop to 85°C.

Everyone likes their tea differently. So train your staff to ask how people like their tea. In our house my Earl Grey gets half the brewing time of hubby’s English Breakfast.

Give a perception of value by serving a pot of tea rather than just a cup or mug. Not only does it mean 2 cups (at no extra cost to you) it gives the customer the flexibility to brew their tea to their preferred strength.

If you serve tea in a cup or mug, provide somewhere to put the spent teabags – that’s accessible with one had (i.e. not a swing top bin – one hand holding the cup, one hand holding the bag, result – tea dribbles all over the bin top as you nudge the bin open with the tea bag!) Just a little thought not only makes it easier for your customer, but leaves less mess and probably saves a fortune on napkins into the bargain. Even with teapots provide somewhere for teabags in case your customer wants to stop the tea brewing any further.

Milk is the bane of my tea drinking experience. Following the principle that the water needs to be boiling to brew the tea, if you serve tea in the cup never put the milk in before the bag comes out. In Norway I was even presented with a cup of tea where the milk went in before the water and my tea bag was left on the side – with the best will in the world this will never make a decent cup of tea, however good your raw ingredients.

Use semi skimmed milk and preferably allow the customer to pour their own milk; however much or little you put in, it will never be right!


Educate your team on your tea offer and train them in the art of tea making. Use your suppliers for advice and to help with training. If they can’t or won’t do this find a supplier who will. It’s a great way to impress your customers and build trust. Not only will be a lot easier to upsell to other products, but goes a long way to establishing your reputation as a place to trust for a decent brew.

Make a feature of tea

Once you’ve mastered the art of making a decent cuppa, use this as a basis for tea themed offers and promotions. Introduce a tea of the month, ask your supplier to work with you on a tea tasting, look at your sandwich and cake offering to combine with your tea for the quintessential English afternoon tea, and promote this to improve footfall for otherwise quiet times of the day.

So in summary my 10 top tips for a perfect brew:

  1. Use quality tea and a recognisable brand
  2. Build up your range of teas gradually
  3. Review your other offers to make a special feature of afternoon tea
  4. Give your tea menu prominence and add descriptions
  5. Present your tea attractively
  6. Invest in some teapots (and hot water pots)
  7. Check the temperature of your hot water and ensure it is boiling for brewing black tea
  8. Give customers somewhere to put their teabags
  9. Use your tea supplier to educate your team on the properties and flavours for each of your teas, and
  10. Train your staff in how to make a decent cuppa

All this talk of tea has made me thirsty. Time to put the kettle on…


Build rapport and build a sense of anticipation with your customers

Before your customers arrive, start to build the relationship and get your customers excited about their visit. Let them know in advance what they can be doing the make the best of their time with you. Offer your help in booking restaurants, (yours or JV partners’), entertainment, outings, taxis, accommodation, attractions. etc. Anything that will make their stay or visit with you memorable.

Introduce your future customers to the team; let your head chef describe the menu or his/her signature dish, personal recommendations from one of your local team members of places to see or things to do, your gardener to talk about what’s in bloom,  your events team about any special entertainment. Anything that will whet their appetite.

Pass on useful (and most importantly up to date) information that will enable a smooth journey: forewarn of expected traffic delays, what’s the quickest and/or cheapest way to get from the airport or railway station, personalised driving directions from their home post code.

Act like a travel company and give tips on what to bring, and what you provide, so they don’t have to overload their suitcase or cram the car with unnecessary toiletries, clothing, sports’ gear or travel books.

Say thank you

The quickest and easiest way to create an impression and get remembered by your customers after their visit is to send a thank you note. A handwritten and personalised card or note will win hands down over and above an automated email.

Show you appreciate their custom, and show you care. Make reference to the rest of  their day out, their holiday, onward journey or something they mentioned during their stay. And one of the easiest ways to show your appreciation is with a small gift of some kind. This might be an exclusive offer or deal for them or a friend, a memento for them to keep or pass on, or some useful snippets of relevant information or tips.

A follow up thank you is also a great opportunity to get feedback too. If you know they enjoyed their visit prompt them to write a review in TripAdvisor or Google Reviews (make it easy for them by providing a link). Ask for direct feedback too; what they enjoyed most and any ideas, comments or suggestions they have to enhance their stay next time.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how to start to build the customer relationship before they have even become a customer.

Keep in touch with your customers

Have you ever heard yourself saying ‘Keep in touch’? When we leave a job, or made friends on holiday we often come out with a remark such as this, whilst at the back of our mind thinking we are unlikely to see or speak to these people ever again.

But can we afford to do this when it comes to our valued restaurant customers? We’ve worked so hard to get them in the first place, so surely we want to do everything we can to get them back. Simply saying ‘I hope to see you again soon’ is not enough. Hoping or wishing them to return needs some action on our part to make it a reality.

Yesterday we talked about how to build your list, so don’t waste that valuable database by doing nothing with it.

Keeping in touch is a great way to continue to build the relationship with your restaurant customers and keep you in their mind when the time comes for a return visit or when asked to make a recommendation.

How you keep in touch will be dependent on the type of business you have, and the messages you want to convey. Obviously email is the cheapest and easiest option. But if you have an audience who are less IT savvy (someone like my father comes to mind, who would never even had a computer, let alone an email address) then a physical mailing or phone call may be a better option. And let’s be honest here, how many emails get deleted before even being opened these days, so it’s not always the most reliable format. A hard copy mailing with a hand written envelope, a small gift, or something quirky will often get someone’s attention far more effectively than 10 emails.

Irrespective of the format the important thing is to keep in touch. And not just to bombard people with offers that they are not interested in.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to use your customer contact list for existing customers.

Building a customer mailing list

Your customer mailing list is one of the most valuable assets of your hotel or restaurant.

I am amazed how few hotels and restaurants use e-mail marketing. It’s never too late to start building a database, and e-mail marketing is a great way to continue to build the relationship with your customers and keep you in their mind when the time comes for a return visit or when asked to make a recommendation.
Without a list, every time you want to get something in front of your customers or prospects you have to start all over again. Your list gives you the opportunity to tell every existing and potential customer about promotions, seasonal events and any other newsworthy information relevant to your target market.
The more detail you have on people who are interested in what you offer, the more often you can return to them with additional offers that are tailored to them. And the more often you do this, the more likely it is that this will result in business.

Offer incentives to build your list

To build your list, you may need to set up incentives for people to fill in a physical form or coupon, or sign up online and share their details. Some ideas might be:

  • Discounts or vouchers (ensuring they are attractive offers,  but include time limits and offers that won’t leave you out of pocket once redeemed)
  • Free information such as a pdf downloadable guide to something of relevance and of interest to your target market, your business or your local area. For example, recipes for your popular dishes, aromatherapy guide related to your spa, golfing tips if you have a golf course, 101 things to do with the kids during your stay….. You get the picture
  • Prize draws or competitions, with relevant prizes from your own products or services, or those of your joint venture partners
  • Access to exclusive offers or ‘members only’ offers

Whatever the incentive it needs to be something that is of value and highly desirable to your target audience; something that will compel them to fill out the form and part with their details.

Where to find contacts

There are three key sources of names:

Existing customers: Simply ask them to leave their business card, or fill out a blank card which enables those who’d rather not give their business details to fill in their personal contact details. Present this with their bill so it gets their attention.
You may want to combine data gathering with gaining feedback on your customers’ stay or visit at the same time.

Collecting phone numbers at the time of booking will allow you to make follow up calls, and having a mobile number allows you to confirm reservations.

Online: This may be existing customers, but more likely will be for people in response to an advert or people who have just stumbled on your website.  You’ll need an ‘opt in’ or ‘landing’ page to capture their details.

As there is no relationship yet with these people you need a really enticing offer to encourage people to share their details. Remember, some of these may be those who may not want to buy right now, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be potential customers in future.

In order to track the effectiveness of your marketing activities it’s useful to be able to identify the source of the contact. So you may need to include a ‘how did you hear of us?’ field, unless you have dedicated urls for different adverts or press mentions to help you keep track.

Your joint venture partners: Ask your JV’s to give their customers your discount vouchers or an invitation to receive your exclusive offers. Then ask customers to complete their details in order to redeem them with you.

Never compromise your contacts’ trust by giving or selling your list to anyone else; if a joint venture partner wants to offer something to your contacts do it through you, and vice versa.

You could in theory use contact information taken from customers’ registration details, but use this sparingly and only for a follow up and very relevant offers. You’re legally entitled to contact your own customers with future offers, but always seek permission to use customers’ details for any marketing activity. And of course if any customer asks not to be contacted at any time, you must respect this, and record their preference on your database.

Whichever way you capture prospects’ and customers’ contact information, under the Data Protection Act 1998 you must have permission to communicate with them. The Information Commissioner’s Office website ( shows what you need to do.

What information you really need

The more information you have the better in order to tailor your mailings to suit the needs of your customer. Asking for a lot of personal detail up front is, however, not very practical (and likely to be very off putting) so it’s better to gather it over time.

What you gather first off will depend on how you want to contact them, so if emailing is your preferred option start with just their name and email address. But if knowing who is local and who is not is important, you may want to gather mailing addresses too. This opens up the opportunity for a physical mailing, which although more expensive is certainly more eye catching than an email and may be a better match for your audience.

So balance what you ideally need with what is reasonable for people to share with you.

Tomorrow we’ll look at what to do with your list.

Ten tips for retaining loyal customers

It’s estimated it costs anywhere from 5 to 8 times more to gain a new customer as opposed to retaining your existing ones. When you consider the cost of advertising, marketing, sales people, etc. to attract new customers this becomes obvious.

It’s also said that 68% of customers will fail to return if they feel unappreciated. This is the number one reason businesses lose customers.

Based upon these two statistics, it is obvious your business be it a hotel, visitor attraction, restaurant or events venue needs to place as strong an emphasis on keeping existing customers as it does on gaining new ones. Here are ten ways to do this.

  1. Last impressions
    Make sure your customers leave with great lasting impression of their stay with you. Ensure they realise that you appreciate their custom. A sincere thank you in person goes a long way. Give them a little memento to take home with them as a lasting reminder: a box of homemade truffles, jam or pickles or gift bag of your exclusive toiletries for your leisure guests, or quality logoed accessories for your corporate market. Following this up with a simple personalised thank you note a few days later will not only show your appreciation, but it will give them something to remember you by, especially if it is handwritten and tailored to them.
  2. Keep in touch
    Out of sight is out of mind so even if your guests are only likely to visit you once a year, keep in touch with them for the whole year so that when they come to book again you are very firmly in their mind. Let them know what other activities you have going on, you never just know it could just tip the balance in favour of them coming to see you as an extra visit. You can also remain on their radar by your presence on social media. Do your homework first and find out the best options to suit your guests.
  3. Reward their loyalty with exclusive deals
    Make your loyal customers feel special by putting together packages or deals which are exclusive to them. This again demonstrates your appreciation of their custom, as well as potentially prompting additional bookings. As a loyal customer, the last thing you want to hear about is an offer that’s only available to ‘new’ customers.
  4. Understand your customers’ needs
    Keep up-to-date with what your customers want from you by listening to them. Get to know your customers and be visible in your hotel, or at the venue making personal contact with your customers to build rapport and trust. They are then far more likely to tell you what they want and what would encourage them to return. The more you get to know your customers the easier it is to anticipate their needs, and deliver what they want on a consistent basis to keep them satisfied. Avoid being so bound by your own rules that you can’t be flexible. If a guest wants a lie in and would like breakfast at 11.30, is this really that big a problem if it means they enjoy their stay and tell their friends?
  5. Ask for feedback
    Never take your regular guests for granted; ask for their feedback and resolve shortfalls quickly. Problems or challenges are often your opportunity to shine and leave a positive lasting impression if dealt with positively. Now’s a chance to exceed expectations. Face to face feedback will always win over a comments form or questionnaire.  Ask them what they like and what disappoints them if anything, so you can learn from this and continually improve.  Guests will be flattered if you ask for their opinions. So also ask for their feedback on new ideas, or for their recommendations on how things can be improved.
  6. Remember them
    Address your customers by name; it’s really positive when someone remembers your name especially when you aren’t expecting it. This goes for giving the name right when you’re writing it down. And although you may know this regular customer, do your staff know them too. Record their personal details and any special requirements. Do they have any particular likes and dislikes, what is their favourite room, do they have any particular requirements such as access issues. Do we know their birthday or any special anniversaries? Remembering such details will always be appreciated.
  7. Get the basics right
    Ensure your customers’ second, third, or 50th visit is as good as their first. Have systems in place to ensure you’re able to deliver the same level of service on a consistent basis. Take the customer journey regularly, and see everything from a customer’s perspective. Be sure to under promise and over deliver. With regular customers this means continuous improvement, as they will have set expectations, which we need to strive to exceed on every visit. Simple things delivered well will always be better than trying to be over sophisticated and delivering it badly.
  8. Train your staff
    Your staff need to know the level of service that your customers expect, and have the appropriate training, tools and systems in place in order for them to deliver this. Brief your team so that they too can recognise and remember your loyal customers and empower them to deliver what your customers want and expect. In the unfortunate event that your customers have cause to complain, give your staff the training, confidence and authority to deal with complaints promptly. Your recovery of the situation can in itself earn you brownie points.
  9. Know your competition
    Keep an eye on your competitors, what they are charging, new services they offer, improvements, marketing promotions, etc. Make sure your services are the best value for the money. You do not necessarily have to lower your prices when your competitors do, but make sure your customers know that you are worth the extra money. Stay competitive.
    But I’m not just talking about other hotels, restaurants or attractions; your customers will compare you with anyone else who delivers a similar service. So as long as you deliver a five-star service you’re going to compare favourably with all your ‘competition’.
  10. Wow your customers
    Think of the things that are of high value to your customers but low cost to you so you can give added value. Give people a reason to talk about you. Always look for an opportunity to go that extra mile to wow your customers to make it really difficult for them to ever contemplate not coming back to you.


Go here for more articles and free resources on retaining customers for hospitality and leisure business

Who are your salesmen (and women)? Part 4

Today is about rounding up all that has been discussed this week on finding your salesmen and women.

Give guidance, incentives and recognition

Don’t assume because you’ve told people how to do something they will be able to just go out and deliver it consistently. Observe how your staff handle the sales or upselling conversation and give them feedback after the event on what they did well, what they could do more of, and give the appropriate support and guidance on areas where they need more help.

Link your upselling activity to some goals.  This might simply be a target to sell x number of a certain product or service, or may be linked to specific financial profit targets.  Whatever goals you set ensure these are clearly measurable and achievable, that any incentive is equitable so everyone is motivated to contribute, and that you give regular updates on progress.

Recognise and reward those that do it well, to encourage them to continue to do so. And ensure everyone knows they all have a role to play in sales