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5 steps to retarget your customers - especially when you're fully booked

CV19 Restaurant and bar restrictions are easing and as of this week, many venue owners have been able to see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel – prep for reopening for 50 pax and take reservations where they can.

People all over Australia are sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for their favourite food spots to open and spend a couple of hours in their favourite drinking hole. I myself already visited my local for an ice-cold schooner, served in nice chilled glass by my friend and neighbour only to not have to wash the glass when I was finished… WHAT A TREAT!

Some of my fav restaurants have been busy prepping all week this week ready for the opening night tonight of a full house of people (with their new legal limits). Phones have been ringing off the hook for reservations and as we all (the customers) know – it’s hard to get into your first, second and even third choice as they’re booking out super quick – which is amazing for venues.

However, hospo biz owners and staff members – let me ask you this... what are you doing with those enquiries who are calling through when you are fully booked. Are your staff members:

A) Simply apologising for the inconvenience, jumping off the phone and getting onto another job?


B) Are you completely utilising these HOT leads you have right in your hand?

I’m going to say that most of your answers are going to answer A which (oh my gosh brace for the harsh reality) is simply not good enough.

The best part about my next piece of advice is that it is for every style of Hospitality Venue out there who take bookings. Small to large cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs, hotels. This one’s for all of you.

5 steps to retarget your customers

1. Take all of your customer enquiry details –pretty simple

Yep – you need at bare minimum their First Name, Last Name, Phone Number & most importantly EMAIL. Note this is not only for people who make the reservation as you’re all doing that already but this is most important for guests who you need to turn away because you’re fully booked. These customers are key – they’re wanting to spend their valuable time and money in your venue, so don’t let them jump off the phone without grabbing their details to retarget. If you’re already using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management Tool) then ensure you are entering those details, and if you’re not – a simple excel spreadsheet will have all that you need – anyone can do it.

2. Create an offer to re-engage

Make it simple, yet appealing – a simple glass of bubbles or craft beer on arrival will be enough for me to rebook a table at another time (I’m a sucker for a freebie). In a matter of months or even weeks, the Hospitality restrictions will ease which means you want to ensure you have nurtured those relationships with the customers who have shown genuine interest in booking in your venue.

3. Create an Event Hype!

Here’s the goodin – this tip could be worth tens of thousands of dollars over a 4 hour period for your venue. It’s time to create an Event. As mentioned, these restrictions aren’t here forever and when they’re lifted completely – you should have a VIP list hundreds of customers long with a line out the door of people wanting to attend. Create a re-opening event and start the Hype now. Although we don’t know the exact dates the restrictions will be lifted, you should be planning and creating the Hype for this event now by telling everyone who calls. Get your local suppliers on board and get planning – did I mention your phone is ringing with HOT leads of people who want to spend money in your venue?!?

If you need more assistance here and would like to make thousands to tens of thousands more on a weeknight opening – I have a V BIG IDEA that I can only share if you email me..

4. Engage

Next step – actually use these email addresses. Create a nice easy template that anyone can use with your voucher for a free drink attached ( is an easy to use platform where you can create this yourself) Make a habit of sending these out every evening to the new database of people you had to turn away. Look at your subscription list increase.

5. Commit

Show up. This means turning up for your customers in their inbox – keep them informed every step of the way as the restrictions change – and your specific venue allowances changed. Continue with the hype and creativity of your new opening event taking place – make them feel like a VIP and treat them like one. Continue to offer incentives to choose your venue over others.

Imagine this:

Use this valuable opportunity to transform your venue reputation from not only one who provided great cocktails – but the venue who cared about the people who are interested in their brand.

If you're not aware just how important email marketing is right now: here's an awesome quick podcast by Pru Chapman from The Owners Collective to teach you why:

Don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready to Party!! Let's spread some Hospitality love!

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