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How to Retain New Customers

The holiday season can bring people to try and buy things that they wouldn’t normally, whether they receive a gift or are enticed by a stellar offer. But how can you keep new customers coming back for more?

You may be under the impression that gaining new customers is the most effective way to grow your hospitality business, however according to a Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. A further study by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% also increases profits by 25% to 95%.

Whether you run a restaurant, a hotel or a gym, earning the loyalty of your customers is the key to remaining profitable. This article explores several ways you can keep existing customers engage, coming back to your business time and time again.

Personalising Customer Service

Customer service is the most important thing when it comes to successfully running a hospitality business. A customer will remember the engagement and experience with your brand from the service they receive, and this can be the decider as to whether they will return.

  • Implement a quality loyalty program. If a customer feels they are going to get more by laying their loyalties with you, then it is highly likely they will do so. This can be done by offering money-off after spending a certain amount, giving them exclusive access to new menus before the official launch if you run a restaurant, or offering customers a cheaper membership at your gym if they have been a member for 2 consecutive years.

  • Run exclusive competitions for existing members or people who are on your mailing list. Add an element of personalisation by giving customers a voucher on their birthday or sending a personalised thank you message when they have visited your establishment, offering them a discount for their next visit.

Digital, Affiliate and Targeted Marketing

Make use of one of the biggest new marketing trends and involve affiliates. Invite influencers to visit your establishment (depending on your market, this could be lesser known bloggers or celebrity figures) and ask them to post about your brand across their social media channels. This will encourage both new and returning customers to engage with your business.

The use of social media is an absolute must in the hospitality world of today, and provides a great way for customers to engage.  It’s important to follow up with customers who reach out and a direct, personal reply to a social message is a great way to make a customer feel their voice has been heard. With reviews making or breaking hospitality businesses, addressing concerns early and implementing a service recovery strategy is key.

Be really involved with your customers and members, monitor their attendance and preferences through data; if they haven’t visited in a while, encourage them to come back, or if they are consistently visiting your establishment, reward them for doing so.

Brand Value

  • First impressions of your brand are so important in hospitality, so give customers a reason to visit again. Offering them something free or a discount next time they visit, with an expiry date for use will encourage customers to return within a certain time period.
  • Focus on your specialities, what is it that you do really well that makes you unique from your competition and attracts your target customer? Make sure you are doing this consistently well and marketing your USP widely.
  • Actively seek feedback from your customers, through email surveys, twitter polls or cards to fill out whilst they are visiting your business and take their suggestions on-board. If customers have asked for change and they can see implementation, it confirms their value to you.
  • Hosting events in your establishment will give your customers another reason to visit alongside the services you already provide. Working in partnership with other brands can be beneficial to you both.
  • Regularly review the way you run your business. What can you change that will keep your brand fresh and interesting? What shouldn’t you change to keep consistency with your customer? Always be thinking ahead and keep a bank of new and exciting ideas that you can introduce if business ever becomes slow.

Keeping existing customers returning again and again is key to a profitable business.

At AlphaGraphics, we specialise in helping hospitality businesses deliver data-driven, automated marketing campaigns to improve customer retention. To find out more, visit:


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