Next week is a landmark moment for many Welsh hospitality businesses as alfresco drinking and dining will be allowed to resume for the first time this year.
Not all businesses can re-open but as the Welsh Government ease restrictions, many pubs and restaurants have been working behind the scenes preparing their outdoor seating areas and gardens to welcome their customers back.
Most people will use the internet as a first step in their research for their first outdoor jaunt of 2021 so this is the ideal time for hospitality businesses to keep customers informed and excite them with what’s to come.
Here are 3 strategies that you can follow to help welcome people back to your hospitality business.
Although the majority of people are used to wearing masks, social distancing and using hand santiser, showing people what you’re doing to keep them safe is still really important. Remind customers of the processes they need to follow in advance to make them feel prepared. Remember, they haven’t stepped foot in a restaurant or bar this year so re-enforcing the safety procedures visually on the premises, on tables and on your website and social media will help to reassure your visitors.
The internet is likely to be the first place your customers will look when thinking about visiting you so make sure your Google My Business account, website and social media channels are updated with your opening hours and clear instructions on how to book.
Producing a Frequently Asked Questions document online will help with questions such as safety procedures, waiting times, numbers of visitors per table, sheltered seating and availability.
Not everyone will feel ready to dine at a restaurant or bar just yet so remind people about your takeaway services if you have them. Make it easy for your customers by posting price lists and click and collect times on social media so that people know what to expect.
Don’t forget about non-digital forms of marketing. A classic A board on a busy high street works wonders or invest in an outdoor banner if lots of people go past your premises each day.
Tell people you are back! Many of your local customers will be anticipating your return so keep that excitement going with a range of exciting photos and videos on your social media channels. Ideas could include:
A group team photo
Behind the scenes preparations
Photos of your new menus, food and cocktails
Photos of your opening day, thanking your customers
Encourage your visitors to take photos and tag you in their Instagram or Facebook ‘stories’ by making your social media account names visible.
Be creative. What could you create that would be ‘shareable’ on social media? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what you could do that’s different.
England’s hospitality businesses have been welcoming customers back to their outdoor areas for over a week and there are some great examples of creativity out there. Here are a couple of bars that done it well: