Unprecedented travel chaos has left distraught holidaymakers facing queues snaking through carparks and cancelled flights. Now more Brits than ever are opting to staycation, offering huge opportunities for savvy restauranteurs, says Jaipal Yadav, managing director of restaurant software business, Favouritetable.
Let’s begin with the obvious – international travel is a mess at the moment. Recent research carried out by air travel data provider OAG estimates that since January 1.7million people flying into or out of the UK have been affected by cancellations within 48 hours of their flight.
This doesn’t include the inevitable knock on effect of prospective holidaymakers who have changed their habits and plans to avoid being stuck in traffic or playing a lottery with travel providers.
Indeed, a record year for staycations is expected to deliver an estimated £15.5billion boost to the British economy.
According to Sykes Holiday Cottages’ annual Staycation Index, 77 per cent of Brits will holiday in the UK this year, spending an average of £822. North Wales remains at the top spot for destinations for the second year in a row, with Cornwall and the Lake District coming in second and third.
The UK rental property provider Independent Cottages also reports an 80 per cent spike in last minute bookings as Brits abandon flight plans while British airlines and airports struggle to cope with demand.
All of this comes on top of the searingly-hot weather the UK has been experiencing over the past couple of months, with temperatures ranging from the mid to high 30s, making parts of Britain more like the best of the Continent’s top holiday destinations than the Continent itself.
So what does this suggest for UK restaurants seeking to capitalise on a population increasingly determined to holiday at home? Put simply – this is the time to market your business like never before, both to capture a bigger slice of the immediate market, and to build longer-term loyalty and repeat business.
A successful restaurant marketing mix includes websites, social media, emails, apps and SMS. Of course, restaurant management systems such as Favouritetable mean you can employ a marketing module to manage all of this activity in one place.
Here are five other ways your business can capitalise on the rising staycation trend:
- Get smart – automate your marketing
Automated marketing allows restaurateurs to engage with guests and do much more than just confirm bookings. This could involve prompts based on key triggers like birthdays or anniversaries and can allow clients to react to and interact with your marketing communications. For example, try creating locally focussed events like barn dances, wine tasting or sporting celebrations, then showcase them via SMS, email and social media.
- Innovate to acquire new customers
Create and trial promotional offers, and highlight special opportunities and occasions on your booking website to help upsell to a variety of audiences. These could include couples, families with children and remote workers. Why not put special offer on your online booking page and then encourage visitors to take up additional offers such as early bird discount codes? Also try adding offers prominently to online menus and automated booking confirmations, as well as using existing customer data to target those with particular preferences and those who have attended previous events.
- Go beyond food
Tie in lunch and dinner options to special deals with nearby accommodation or retail partners. Cater to demands for highly specialised individual occasions – like beer tastings, dinner and a lecture or charity events – rather than simply mirroring the same tired and formulaic promotions used by big chains.
- Get the party started
Smart party booking software allows diners to book and amend group or event bookings online, without the need for multiple and lengthy phone calls to the restaurant. The right system enables guests to pre-order and pay for all of their group’s menu items, so the restaurant has a solid view of any reservation complexities, plus the comfort of a deposit or full payment. Staycation party ideas could include sports-themed group bookings for walkers, climbers, yoga groups, or even surfers if your restaurant is near the coast. Then there are the more traditional occasions designed to suit meal events combined with stag or hen dos, birthdays, reunions and anniversaries.
- Value your data
A good restaurant management system will always record vitally important data about your customers’ preferences, likes and dislikes, and is a powerful instrument in your marketing toolbox. Careful use of data makes it easy to run marketing campaigns and ensure they target exactly the right segments of your staycation audience.
In conclusion, whether those enjoying a great British staycation choose to remain at home or visit a holiday cottage or hotel – they will often decide to treat themselves to a high-end, dine-in take-away or opt for a special meal out. Either way a restaurant delivery or table should be available to book quickly, efficiently and with confidence using outstanding management software.
Sign-up to Favouritetable by 1st September and get your first month free. For further details please visit: https://restaurant.favouritetable.com/