The hospitality industry is facing a new crisis – the rise in no-shows, with restaurants reporting an increase in weekly no-shows of up to 20%, leading to the loss of thousands of pounds. Nick Telson, the Co-founder of DesignMyNight, has decided to discuss this phenomenon and look into what can be done to tackle this issue.
First of all, no matter how advanced technology becomes, the number one priority of every hospitality business has to be customer experience. “I’m a firm believer that great service and an even greater experience can, and does make up for average food and drink,” said Nick. It is vital to understand that customers want a dining experience up to a certain level and will always choose the place that offers them exactly that.
Research shows that when a customer has an excellent dining experience on their first visit, they are 40% more likely to come back. If their second visit is still excellent then the chances increase to 42%, but if the third visit is still at the same high level then the likelihood of the customer to become a regular increases to 70%.
In order to deal with the no-shows crisis, operators and service providers must work together and highlight its impact to the press and through social media. Naming and shaming will not work. Rather than doing that, sharing stories about how the no-shows are putting jobs at risk will resonate with the consumers.
DesignMyNight includes Collins, which is an online hospitality platform that helps operators manage booking and enquiries. Clients will be using the card authentication system at the point of booking, so if they don’t show up the money will be pulled from their account into the operator’s. However, this should be used with discretion and mainly for busier service periods.
The front of house gets very busy, so trying to call customers to check if they will be showing up or not is not very time-efficient. To make it easier for operators, the system texts customers before they are due and they simply have to reply with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to confirm their booking.
“I would also recommend that operators mark customers as no-shows in their booking system. This allows them to keep a list of regular offenders and send them a friendly, but informative email or they have the option to stop them from making future bookings,” said Nick.
To conclude, Nick is offering his top three tips on how to deal with no shows:
1. Start taking upfront card authentications for busier periods and see whether this has an impact on decline of bookings versus no-shows. I would say it won’t.
2. Be upfront with customers via your website, on the booking journey and through social media, telling them how important it is to respect the no-show problem. You’ll find the majority of customers will react better to the issue when they realise the significant impact on the industry.
3. Use pre-ordering as a mechanism to act as a deposit while also up-selling to the customer.