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Keep 'em Coming - Why Loyalty Systems are Important to Your Business

Industry statistics have recorded that loyalty members will visit a site 50% more than a non loyalty members and when they do visit they will spend 4 times than other customers. The hospitality industry is highly competitive. Sometimes it is simply not enough to offer fantastic service, wonderful meals, exquisite wine selection and a warm, friendly and unique ambiance.

When hospitality businesses are looking to communicate with their regular customers they can do it via a loyalty rewards system. A loyalty system allows the business owner to build a database of their regular customer that enables them to know what their customers like, how often they visit and who visits and spends the most.

A loyalty system also allows the business owner to communicate directly to their database of customers via email, SMS txt or post.

At the Point of Sale a Loyalty system can be used in a number of different ways that provide a link between your customer’s and your staff. The normal loyalty functions available as the Point of Sale are;

  • Members can earn loyalty rewards points for the items that they purchase. Each item should have the ability to have different point values depending on the profit of the items. Some items may not have any loyalty points and some may range from 3% to 10% of the sale price.
  • Members should be able to load money on their loyalty card and use that money to make purchases at future dates.
  • The Point of Sale system should provide information to the staff member about the member. The normal things are their favourite items; if today is their birthday or their first visit.
  • Members may also get a discount over and above or instead of a loyalty rewards system.
  • If the business sends orders to the barista, bar printer or the kitchen then the Point of Sale system should be able to show the members details on the order providing the delivery staff with the member’s name to deliver a personal touch!

 

Members join a loyalty club to feel special. A point of sale system that can allow members only happy hours will enable the business to focus on their loyalty members rather than offering happy hour prices to everybody.

The joining of a loyalty club should be a special occasion and not just a case of handing over a pre-printed card that appears to have no value. Some points that assist in adding value to the card and ensure that the database is full of quality loyalty members are;

  • Get the member to complete a loyalty application form so that the quality of the data captured is high and so you can capture the information you require. The typical minimum details captured are name, cell phone and email.
  • It is normal to charge the member to join the loyalty club. This may be a small cost of $5.00 to cover the cost of the card and setup costs. It is normal that many businesses will then add a bonus $10.00 to the new card to encourage the member to use the card quickly.
  • The way a member receives the card is also important to the perceived value. If possible post the loyalty card to the member (this involved capturing the postal details) along with a voucher to redeem at the restaurant or bar. If it is not feasible to post something out then invite the member to come at collect the loyalty card via email and remind them that the card has a $10.00 bonus on it so that they use it when they pick up the card.

 

Once the loyalty system is up and running it is important to keep the loyalty database fresh. There are hundreds of loyalty systems around the world that are not effective. They provide small loyalty rewards, they don’t communicate to the customers and the benefits remain the same month in month out. To keep the loyalty system fresh provide monthly promotions

  • Run a promotion where a certain item or items are running at triple loyalty points
  • Run Member only Happy Hours
  • Open the restaurant to Members Only for the release of the new Menu
  • Reward regular members with special bonus vouchers

 

A loyalty system is a continual work in progress of communicating with the businesses loyalty members. It does not run itself and can be the main form of marketing for a highly focused hospitality business.

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