using technology to create habit-forming experiences

In the fast-paced hospitality industry of today, where competition is fierce and customer expectations are ever-evolving, venues are striving to not only attract guests but also ensure they keep them coming back. Creating memorable experiences for your customers that encourage them to return time and time again is a necessity for sustained success. Almost all repeat business in the hospitality industry is caused by habit-forming experiences. These will be accurate, consistent and memorable experiences shaped to align with every customer’s specific needs.

Despite the recent challenges in the hospitality industry, including closures and a 2.3% revenue decline over the past five years, there has been a notable increase in the number of operators in the UK. This surge in competition emphasises the importance of making strong impressions early on.

Every time a customer walks through a business’ door, they should see it as an opportunity to build trust and loyalty between them and the brand.

It’s about helping guests to build this through positive and personal experiences. If you keep delivering those spot-on experiences to every guest, you're on your way to forming a positive habit with them, so when diners think about where to eat, your restaurant is the first to come to mind. Over time this trust is resilient to the odd so-so experience, but it's crucial to avoid negative experiences in the early stages of customer engagement, as they may prompt diners to explore other dining options.

So, how can operators create habit-forming experiences?

Creating habit-forming experiences that foster customer loyalty can be difficult for hospitality businesses if they don’t have a complete view of their customer. Understanding guests’ preferences and what makes them want to return time and time again is key, and data and technology can help you unlock these insights.

Technology not only gives operators the tools needed to understand their customers, but it also offers insights into areas that may require refinement and adaptation to enhance the diversity of the business's offering.

The hospitality industry is ever-more dependent on technology as operators adopt new innovations in today’s increasingly digital world. Technology is now a crucial component of almost every facet of restaurant operations, from the use of robotic waitstaff and self-service kiosks to virtual queuing systems and table management platforms.

These technological advancements allow venues to harvest intelligent customer data at every touch point enabling them to paint a powerful picture of every customer. And while data harvesting and collection can be a complex process, there are some simple ways to begin collecting valuable customer data.

For example, when customers use online booking systems, venues can gather valuable insights into their preferences and requirements, including dietary restrictions, group size, contact information, and specific needs like accessibility or highchair requests for children. Throughout their visit, self-ordering systems via QR codes or kiosks can capture additional details such as preferred menu items and payment preferences. Following the visit, feedback forms and email marketing initiatives enable restaurants to maintain ongoing communication with customers, fostering lasting relationships which build habit-forming experiences.

Using the right tools and touchpoints means as you gather, cleanse and segment your data, the more assertive you can be with your selling. However, the more data you harvest, the more analysis is needed to make this data work harder for you, all of which can be automated via CRM systems.

This involves categorising your data so you can make inferences quickly and effectively. The analysis phase is where you delve deeper into understanding your customers' behaviours and preferences. Once this stage of the customer intelligence process is complete, you’ll have a comprehensive single view of all your customers, making it possible to target specific groups within your database with certain offers, products and services.

Enhancing experiences through technology

Technology plays a pivotal role in helping hospitality businesses devise strategies to expand their customer relations and offerings. Whether it's using kiosks to showcase specific menu items during peak hours or employing email marketing campaigns to share exclusive offers with voucher users, using data you can target different customer segments effectively.

In today's competitive landscape, attracting and retaining customers relies on delivering the tailored experiences they seek with each visit. Customers gravitate towards familiarity, and by catering to their individual preferences, leaving a memorable impact, and making them feel appreciated, hospitality businesses can cultivate long-term loyalty. This is the key to creating habit-forming experiences that keep customers coming back time and again.

If you’d like to learn more about how technology can help you to create habit-forming experiences, or to hear more about us get in touch at: [email protected]