Like any industry, hospitality has its ups and downs. When it comes to loyalty and returning customers, you want to always be on the up. As a manager, director or coordinator of any hospitality venture, you hope to deliver an experience so good that your clients don’t need any more convincing.

We want you to be confident of reaching this goal and have the best possible outcome in maintaining and increasing reservation numbers.

Whether the booking is for a restaurant or a hotel, the point of contact should make them feel confident to follow through the full process, and even better, return in future.

When a client calls to make a booking, they will subconsciously also be assessing your customer service. They do not want to feel like they are being persuaded into anything.

Remember, it isn’t just the end goal we are working towards, but rather ensuring the entire process is handled well. Here are five tips we are going to focus on, each one playing a role at a specific time in the reservation journey.

  1. The Pre-Game

You need to know your audience beforehand. Having accurate and up-to-date knowledge and market research makes it that much easier to give them exactly what they are looking for. Whoever is taking the call needs to be trained in how the business works with clients. They need to ensure that they are clued up when it comes to handling different situations or requests presented to them.

Have a programme where you teach each new member of your team how things are run and why people should be making a reservation with you, rather than the restaurant or hotel down the street. Your expectations need to be made clear to them as they will be the ones dealing with your clients first-hand.

You need to ensure that you have a software system put in place that will help you track the productivity of your trainees to ensure that your business is being run smoothly from behind closed doors. Our Biometrics system is something that you should invest in. Understanding where your employees are at what time makes it easier for you to know who you can rely on. You can also look at putting an attendance and rota management system in place.

  1. The Conversation

All conversations need to be made track of, and your receptionists or reservationists need a system in place that is simple and easy to use. When having any conversation, there will always be questions surrounding the details of the reservation that they are making. Here is when your employees need to step in and boost their confidence.

The conversation needs to be quick, efficient and have a result that will benefit both parties. When speaking to your clients, make use of the live booking system that you have in place. With this, it is easy and efficient enough for your clients to see for themselves what is available and when. No matter what, your clients always need to feel like they are the ones in control.

By giving them the option to book online, they can make all the decisions for themselves without feeling coerced. But remember, any conversation you have needs to make a lasting impression. All questions should be answered and service should be above and beyond expectations.

You can also have a system in place that allows you to instantly see when a table is available if the reservation is needed immediately. With Live Table bookings, you have total control over your reservations, whether it is a walk-in customer or an online booking. With smart table configuration tools, it allows automatic management of your reservations and availability of tables, booking time slots and cancellations. All of which makes your life, and your clients’ life, that much easier.

  1. The Match

Your client has now made their reservation, but there is always the possibility that they could cancel. Follow their booking up with a confirmation to allay any hidden concerns they may have and ensure they make good on their reservation. When they do arrive on the day of their reservation, everything needs to continue to run smoothly.

With a Graphical Table Management system, you can see where your clients’ booking is with ease. If something has gone wrong with their booking, you can see straight away where there is an open space and ensure they don’t leave with a negative impression.

  1. The Incentives

Reward your customers for being loyal and they will keep coming back. Having a loyalty and promotions management system in place ensures you will always be in contact with your customers and the relationship you have will always be a good one. With this, you will be able to manage customer loyalty schemes, promotional offers and vouchers with integrated social media and email marketing tools which help you manage your campaigns.

The best part of it all? You will be able to reward your customers based on their information, from how much they spent, what they spent it on, how old they are, what they like, and so on. This gives you an exact idea of what they want and you can reward them accordingly.

Ensure your employees also have an incentive plan in place. The happier they are, the happier they will be with those around them. Get a management idea in place that provides incentives when reservations are made and kept. By doing this you are showing them that the work they are doing not only pays off for them but for the business too.

  1. The Round-Off

The reservation has been made, your customers have enjoyed their meal or stay, and now they have made a judgement on the services you have provided. We have already covered the rewards and loyalty programmes you should be putting in place, but the feeling they have once they leave needs to be a positive one that they talk about for weeks to come. All your staff should make sure their stay is an unforgettable one.

Why not get in touch once they have left, thanking them for their patronage? Send along a review card so that you know what they liked and what they didn’t. The only way to learn and improve is to get honest feedback from clients.

At the end of the day, everyone is different and everyone expects different things. Do you have all their expectations covered, along with a clear and effortless way of dealing with any problems?

Having a range of systems in place makes your life, your business, and your customers’ life that much easier. Guarantee their customer experience is an unforgettable one so they want to come and experience it again.

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