How you can mitigate no-shows this Christmas?
The festive season is one of the busiest for hospitality businesses. It gives restaurants, bars and pubs a huge opportunity to make increased earnings through heightened footfall as consumers get into the festive spirit. In fact, recent forecasts predict a £12bn boost for hospitality businesses this Christmas. For some, these earnings will provide a much-needed lift after what has been a tough year. However, there are a few factors which operators must look out for, especially during the busy Christmas period. One of these is no-shows.
No-shows are a huge issue for the hospitality industry. A recent study from The Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA), revealed that the number of customers who fail to honour their bookings in pubs, bars, and restaurants has more than doubled since September 2022, equating to roughly 12% of customers. The same report also revealed that no-shows are costing the sector £17.59 billion in revenue losses every year.
This level of uncertainty is having a massive impact on venues, with almost a fifth of hospitality operators admitting that they have considered permanent closure because of no-shows.
So, as we move further into the festive period, what can hospitality businesses do to reduce the impact of no-shows and ensure they make the most of every booking?
Implementing a deposit-based system for bookings is one of the most effective ways to reduce the effects of no-shows. Even if it is only a small portion of what the table would have spent had they visited, the deposit will make sure that your business still receives some earnings from the booking and can often deter people from cancelling
Tech-powered Waitlist Management Systems
With automation becoming an ever-present part of the hospitality industry, there are solutions available which can aid in quick rebookings in the event of late cancellations or no-shows. If they happen, the automated waitlist systems can notify those on the waitlist, giving you a much better chance of filling that table.
Table Management and Virtual Queuing Systems
For restaurants, making the most of every table is key to ensuring success. However, it can be difficult for staff to have a full picture of what stage each table is at, when the next diners are arriving, and which tables are free. Table management systems, which use real-time data, can digitise this process, helping staff to gain a single-view of seating arrangements. This means it is much easier to accommodate walk-ins and manage reservations efficiently; if a table cancels at the last minute, the system will alert staff, meaning they can direct walk-ins to the newly available table. Virtual queueing systems go a step further. When customers come to a busy restaurant without a booking, the staff can enter them into a virtual queue. Then, if a cancellation or no-show occurs, the system can automatically alert waiting customers that a table is now free. These systems help to ensure tables are always full, and help staff to easily adapt to changes caused by no-shows, giving them more opportunity to enhance the customer experiences.
Automated Booking Reminders and Confirmation
During the festive period people have a lot going on. Preparing for Christmas, doing last minute shopping, juggling their finances; it can be easy to forget a restaurant booking made weeks in advance. This is why automated booking reminders and confirmation systems are so effective. These notifications should be staggered ahead of the booking date, and also give customers the opportunity to confirm their booking, giving the business a better idea of who is definitely visiting.
Although no-shows and cancellations are frustrating, they are often due to genuine reasons. Life happens, and sometimes people just can’t make it to their reservation. It’s important that, as a business, you understand this, and implement fair and flexible cancellation policies. By doing so, you’re providing a positive experience for your customers, increasing the chances of them returning at a later date, as well as encouraging customers to give more notice of their cancellation, making it easier to refill the booking.
No-shows and late cancellations are difficult to navigate for every hospitality business, and during busy periods this can be even harder. However, there are steps operators can take to reduce their impact and ensure they make the most of every customer, service and booking, and leave staff with more time and energy to focus on what matters most; enhancing experiences.