bank holidays: ensuring long-term success from seasonal rushes

Bank holidays often generate a spike in customers for hospitality businesses. This extra footfall is a chance for businesses to collect valuable customer data and critical information that allows them to attract and retain more business going forward.

What is intelligent customer data?

Intelligent customer data is, by definition, any information gathered by your business that provides insight into the attitudes and behaviours of your customers. It allows you to gain a more in-depth, single view of your customers’ motivations and interests, and when brands are undertaking comprehensive data analysis, it allows them to offer a focused and personalised approach for each of their customers on an individual basis. Intelligent data is crucial when it comes to marketing outreach, new customer acquisition, and customer retention.

There are seven stages of data analysis from Absent (no data collected) through to Mature (massive and assertive data collection, allowing personalised experiences for each individual).

Many businesses, including those in the hospitality and leisure industries, often don’t base their business decisions on tangible information, relying on their instincts or gut feelings to guide their organisations forward. While this strategy may succeed occasionally, it is more likely to falter at some point.

Having market insight underpinning your business strategy is absolutely crucial to guide strategic business decisions that align with your goals, objectives and initiatives. This is where customer driven data comes in.
Data should be used by every establishment to inform all of its choices. It is impartial and unbiased. It takes the emotion out of decisions, providing you with a thorough and accurate picture of where your business is, and what it needs to succeed.

It lets you know who you're speaking to, helping you to personalise your message and improve your chances of engagement. It also shows that you’re taking time to understand your customer and their needs, which will improve customer retention. Capturing such data is invaluable and utilising busy periods is key. It can unlock opportunities that were previously unknown to the business.

How to collect and segment customer data

Contrary to belief, gathering insightful consumer data can be simple. By using technology, you can increase the effectiveness of your selling as you collect, purify, and segment more and more data.

What’s key though is that brands must harvest data from every customer touch point, whether that’s pre-visit, in-visit, or post-visit. For example, during the pre-visit, your online booking systems should be collecting information such as; dietary requirements, party size or access needs, while your in-visit systems, such as self-ordering QR codes, should collect data relating to which menu choices customers love, how they like to pay their bill, and even whether they pay as a group or separately. And the harvesting cannot stop there. Post-visit, you should be using automated feedback systems to understand what it is about the experience which customers want to change, or what they really like.

Busy periods provide an opportunity to on your knowledge of your customers. With more people interacting with these touch points, the more data you are able to collect. This data is crucial to helping guide your decisions as a business and is where the true value of many businesses resides.

Using data to refine customer experience

Data can be used to track customer behaviour and modify content accordingly. For instance, keeping note of a customer's preferred drink so the waiter is aware when they arrive, or using information collected in the pre-visit booking stage to ensure a highchair is available for a family with a young child. These small things are what make a great experience.

Data can provide the answers to many questions which are key to great customer experience such as, ‘how do they like to be contacted? What kinds of offers are they looking for? When do they usually visit? Where do they spend their money? What do they enjoy about the brand? What do they dislike?’

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can modify each experience even further. You could offer mid-week meal deals to young couples who have more flexibility but less disposable income, or lunchtime specials to retirees in more affluent locations. This approach is only possible through mature data analysis and comprehensive data segmentation.

The landscape for businesses operating in 2024 is challenging, and leaders cannot afford to provide a so-so service. They need to make tough decisions every day to ensure their venues not only survive but thrive. Therefore, by acquiring and leveraging intelligent data, you can improve every element of your business, and taking advantage of bank holiday weekends and seasonal rushes to collect client data on new and returning customers can generate repeat business and lasting loyalty.