What can you do with visitor information in the catering industry?
Of course, many of us are very happy that bars, restaurants and cafés are all allowed to open up again in the Netherlands. The first of June 2020 will most likely go down in history as the day the Dutch catering industry was allowed to get back to business again. There are strict regulations, however, which include the use of a reservation system. The use of a reservation system raises some questions, which we understand. That’s why we’ll always try to help you to the best of our ability, partly by pointing out some of the advantages a system like this can have for you.
What can you do with visitor information in the catering industry?
What is visitor information?
Before we delve deeper into what you can do with visitor data, let’s talk about what it is exactly.
Data comes in all different shapes and sizes. It’s the plural of datum, there are data sciences, and ‘big data’ has been a hot topic for quite a while now. However, none of these descriptors are relevant to visitor data.
So what is it then? Visitor data is additional information gathered from your guests who have reserved at your establishment. They fill out this information themselves, in response to required fields in the ticket shop, whenever they reserve a table. Some of the fields are there by default, such as first name, last name and email address. In the image below you can see the standard questions.
One advantage of visitor information is that you can download this information as an Excel file, which means that you can have all your data about your guests/visitors in a single workable file. You can read how to export your customer base in our guide on the topic.
Besides the standard questions, you can add your own custom fields and questions. Custom fields allow you to gather more information about your visitors. Keeping in mind that visitors will need to be vetted before entering, you could use this to your advantage. You could use these fields to ask visitors whether they’re from the same household, or whether they’re suffering from possible symptoms. These are only two questions you can ask, we go into this more later on in the blog.
What can you do with the standard questions when it comes to visitor data?
By using the standard questions, you can ensure an even more personal level of service, a more pleasant experience, and by doing so, you can generate more turnover.
An email address? Yeah! Besides the fact that you can’t send a ticket to your guest without their email address, having your guests email address gives you one other advantage; the ability to interact with your guest at a one-on-one level.
Because of this, you can let your guests know about any updates, such as the menu of the week, or perhaps something related to the coronavirus and your establishment. The latter can’t hurt, because we’re far from out of the woods when it comes to the coronavirus. In fact, the opposite is true, we need to be careful in this phase of the pandemic not to give the virus a second chance.
Keep me updated
But are you allowed to email someone, just like that? No. Since the introduction of the new GDPR laws, there are new laws that you need to follow. First of all, your guest will need to opt-in during the reservation process in order for you to be able to send them any mail. They can do this by ticking the ‘Keep me updated’ box during the ordering process. In the export of your customer base, you can see which chose to opt-in by the ‘1’ in that column. The ‘0’ signifies that they do not want to be emailed. Legally, you must respect this.
This may not be the first thing you would think of when it comes to catering to people at a more personal level, but imagine it turns out your establishment is overwhelmingly visited by women. How do you use this to your advantage? You could try to offer different drinks or foods, or try to find ways to lure more men to your establishment.
It’s very likely that your guests will be from the same city as where you’re based. However, knowing what city people are from can help you to lure more people in. Although it may just be a confirmation of the assumption that most of your guests are from the same city, this confirmation can provide some clarity. Who knows? Maybe something interesting and unexpected might come out of this.
If you’re advertising, you could direct one of your ads towards people living in a particular city. For instance, if you have a business in Tilburg, you could set Tilburg as your target group on Facebook or Google. The same goes for offline ads in newspapers and other media. Especially now that there is less chance of tourism, it may well be worthwhile to invest in local newspapers and magazines.
By using these techniques you can target your ads with pinpoint accuracy. Of course, you could expand your advertising area, which would undoubtedly lead to a few new guests, but you’ll have better results if you target accurately.
What can you do with custom visitor questions?
As we mentioned earlier in the blog, you can set up your own custom fields and questions for your visitors. First of all, it’s handy if you would like to know if your guests share a household or are suffering from symptoms of the coronavirus.
But there’s more…
Since you’re free to choose your own questions, and the degree of relevance can be different for each type of business, we’ll give you a couple of suggestions.
What do you like to eat?
By asking this question, you can get a better idea of your guest’s tastes and preferences. Of course, they don’t have to order this, but you could give them a little taster or during the first course. This can also help you streamline your purchasing process, as you can let guests make a choice between different menus of food or drinks in advance.
Do you have any allergies?
This question can also give you more insight into your guests, as well as help some horribly embarrassing and potentially life-threatening situations.
EVENTIX TIP: Is the question I’m asking more of a pain than a solution?
Obviously, you want to lure in as many guests as possible. By asking too many, or maybe just difficult questions, you might discourage your guests from reserving a time slot. A question such as “Would you like to promote us?” or “Would you like to help us?” can cause people to turn up their nose. That would be a shame.
Finally, we understand that using a system for your reservations can take a bit of getting used to and that it can come across quite impersonally. By means of these blogs, and the guides in our Help Centre, we want to lend you a helping hand. If you have any other questions about, whether they’re about visitor data and time slots or not, feel free to send us a message through the chat in the bottom right corner of your screen, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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