Cooking up a loyalty storm

Ben Chesser, CEO at Coniq explains why in the economic climate, hoteliers need to reward customers for their loyalty in order to encourage return visits and brand advocacy.

It’s always a challenge for hospitality chains and hotels to keep pace with the big industry leaders due, predominately, to resource budget. But there are some key areas that allow hospitality venues to cash in on trends that prove lucrative and keep customers hungry for more.

There’s little escaping the struggle businesses are up against in the current economic climate which is rife with uncertainty. As consumers become reluctant to part with their cash, it is the ‘luxury’ spend areas that suffer and many shoppers tend to cut out visiting eateries as one of the first steps towards tighter personal budgeting. In light of this, food and drink outlets need to work harder than ever before to attract customers, and then to retain them.

By simply recognising regular customers and awarding their loyalty, businesses will produce not only happy visitors, but potentially brand advocates. As customers are increasingly connected to their mobile devices, an opportunity for organic peer-to-peer recommendations opens up for businesses. This should be encouraged during visits; providing WiFi codes and hashtags to generate a flavour for social media posting about their visit.

Regular customers should be rewarded through loyalty schemes. Recognition of their repeat visits help to enhance their overall experience of the brand and encourage more. To get the most out of this opportunity hospitality venues need to objectively review data insights collected on that individual, and use these insights to provide offers and rewards that will be of interest to the customer. For example, by analysing a customer’s past visits and purchase history, a bar may recognise the shopper’s love for cocktails and can offer a personal discount or promotion on their next drink.

Cabana is one such brand that has tailored marketing and customer relationship management programmes to drive increased visits to its restaurants via a new loyalty solution. Cabana, the modern Rio street food group, regularly communicates with its customers providing email offers through our platform, providing real-time visibility of the uptake on each offer sent to Cabana’s database.

In addition, via a built-in automated communication programme, the Cabana Club loyalty scheme offers a monthly reward which changes, reflecting seasonal and cultural events. The rewards are redeemable all month long, meaning every time a Cabana Club member visits one of its restaurants they can benefit.

Lizzy Barber, Head of Marketing at Cabana, said: “We have spent a great deal of time assessing a solution that was both appealing to our customers and yet easy to understand and use both from a customer and staff perspective. At Cabana, we promote an ethos of surprising and delighting our customers, and so a loyalty scheme which rewarded regular customers seemed a natural fit.”

This kind of loyalty scheme is suitable for businesses of all sizes and it’s time for smaller businesses to recognise the opportunity loyalty provides them too. By simply recognising and rewarding the most lucrative customers who repeat visit, businesses will directly enhance their experience, attract new customers and convert more visitors into brand advocates.

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