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How to optimise loyalty programmes for a positive impact on footfall

By Ben Chesser

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Loyalty program

Loyalty scheme are an important investment for hospitality operators
Loyalty scheme are an important investment for hospitality operators
With consumers now more empowered than ever before, loyalty schemes have become a widely-used tactic among retailers, and increasingly so among restaurant and pub operators. Ben Chesser, CEO of loyalty marketing software provider Footfall123, explains the simple steps to follow for loyalty scheme success in the hospitality sector.

Loyalty schemes can mean an investment both in financial and resource terms, therefore it is vital to understand the basic fundamental rules of launching a rewards scheme for the best chance of success.

A simple approach for a flying start

Complicated schemes that confuse the customer will likely fall flat from the start. Ambiguous benefits and complex terms often prove the downfall of any loyalty scheme, so make the offering clear and the rewards immediate. Getting off to a flying start will generate a buzz and help to ensure word-of-mouth promotion – a boost to the success of any scheme.

Dont jump the gun on launch

When launching a new loyalty scheme, make offers as relevant as possible by sticking to popular products. Experimenting with tactics to change buying behaviour can come later when both the scheme and customer loyalty are better established.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Even the most loyal of customers need reminding of how great you are and what you have to offer, so communicating via as many platforms as possible to keep them updated is key. Social networks, mobile apps and email marketing can really help spread the word, and staff can also assist in driving success by communicating the benefits to customers – so ensure you get them on board, too.

Strike a balance to achieve appeal without impacting too much on gross profit margins

Twenty per cent off your first drink and ‘Buy five main courses and get the sixth free’ are examples of proportionate offers, enticing people to make that initial spend and to visit for a meal more often as they creep towards the reward; but both of them only make a slight impact on gross profit margins. We have seen this prove hugely popular with our clients and their customers. The White Lion in Walkern, for example, has seen a considerable increase in sales correlating with a rise in the number of new customers returning to the pub, using these very offers.

Make newcomers feel special

Enticing new recruits for a loyalty scheme will take some extra effort, so the offer will need to be valuable enough to get customers to sign up in a heartbeat. A quick win such as a 50 per cent discount on a drink or dessert can work wonders, and doesn’t cost the earth to implement. 

Promote scheme across all business areas

For pubs with a food offering or a bar with a bistro element, maximise the opportunity to cross-sell by making all offers available to all groups. This provides an excellent way for pubs to increase sales on food, as with bars where the customer base might just go to drink and not be tempted to try the bar food.         

Dont call time on a great offer

Try not to implement time restrictions on offers at launch. Making the offer as accessible to as many as possible for a long time period will really help in the early days of any loyalty campaign. 

Keep it Personal

A good loyalty programme will allow you to build up a picture of your customers over time with the use of loyalty cards, a club, or with data from multiple offer redemptions. Find out what your customers like, don’t like, when they like to visit, and use this information to segment them into groups. You can then target each group with more relevant offers and rewards.

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