22 May 2015

Achieve better service, lower costs in hospitality

With rising food and staffing costs, shrinking margins and increased competition, it has never been tougher to be in the hospitality business.

Restaurants, clubs and bars are facing a series of challenges driving a need for more effective staff roster management and improved marketing.

There are a number of interactive and effective tools available that will help to overcome these challenges, and implementing them will assist long-term success. One tool being used to good effect is SMS or text messaging.

SMS is a fast and timely way to communicate with staff and guests.

Automating roster communication can have a positive business impact. Put simply, shift notifications and reminders improve attendance rates. Shift availability notifications can be used to fill absentee shifts, cover busy periods and holidays, or manage last minute changes or emergencies. Automated rostering systems that utilise SMS for notifications are a very cost-effective way to address these issues and are especially useful for field staff, employees without access to computers, casuals and part-timers.

SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application in the world. SMS is immediate, non-intrusive and interactive. Another benefit of SMS is that over 90 percent of SMS messages are read within 90 seconds. This high open rate is key to filling last minute roster vacancies.

Janeen Dyson, Staffing Service Manager, Spotless said that SMS has delivered a massive ROI for their business:

“SMS has 30 percent higher first time strike rate than traditional phone calls, which has allowed us to achieve a first contact strike rate of over 65 percent. The flow-on effect from this is that our agency use has dropped from 28 percent to 10 percent, saving our business hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

SMS is also a non-threatening medium of contacting staff:

“It allows them to respond openly. We believe this has attributed to our extremely high retention rate. In addition, 54 percent of our rostered database use English as a second language. We have found SMS is the optimal way of communicating with them,” said Ms Dyson.

Restaurants, clubs and bars are also harnessing the power of SMS to fill empty tables, promote special events and effectively target the local area, which is improving business productivity and positively impacting their bottom line.

Carl Forrest, General Manager of a landmark Melbourne restaurant, said, “We send SMS reminders to our customers to reduce no-shows and add a personal touch.”

In fact, SMS reminders can reduce table booking no-shows by around 30 percent.

Restaurants and clubs are making their databases of contacts work for their business, communicating regularly with customers and locals via SMS. By integrating an SMS API into your business systems you can make your database work harder by using SMS direct marketing, and send text messages online via an easy-to-use web interface that does not require any software.

  • Fill empty tables, promote special events and effectively target local geographic areas
  • Send details of promotions, such as ‘mention this text’ offers to increase business in traditionally quiet times
  • Alert customers to venue changes such as new menus, trading hours or upcoming entertainment

Text message solutions can be put into practice quickly, with easy-to-use web interfaces and text message software that automates the process, making it simple to send a single or mass SMS text message from a computer. Sophisticated solutions will also tag message responses so you know to which message a contact is responding.

There are a number of SMS service providers operating in the market today, and on the surface, it may seem hard to differentiate one from another. The key is to consider the primary SMS application you are looking to implement and ensure the service provider you select can deliver the best result for your needs.

If presenting your venue professionally to your clients is important, look for a provider that specialises in SMS services and offers a 99.99 percent gateway uptime guarantee. If your primary application is to attempt to confirm bookings, fill cancellations or promote special events, gateway uptime is imperative because the SMS program is no use if the messages are not getting through when you send them.

SMS can provide an important key to improving your hospitality business, affordably and quickly.

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