This article is sponsored content brought to you by H&L.
There are lots of good reasons why it pays to replace your paper bound bookings book with BooKBooK, an electronic booking management application that’s fully integrated to point of sale.
“The key difference between BooKBooK table management and other systems is that being fully integrated to the point of sale, it knows the actual status of the table,” enthuses Burt Admiraal, CEO of H&L Australia. In other words, whether someone rings in a reservation, books online, or is a walk-in, BooKBooK gives the restaurant “a view of the capacity of the venue at any moment in time”.
This is gold from a marketing point of view, says Burt, especially given that around 42 per cent of all restaurant bookings are now online. “More and more people are becoming addicted to mobility and immediacy,” says Burt by way of explanation. “And mobility and immediacy are exactly what we’ve designed BooKBooK to feed into.
“We all know what’s happening with our mobile devices,” he continues. “People are Facebooking on their mobile devices, they’re Instagramming on their mobile devices. They’re buying things on their mobile devices. They’re paying bills. They’re doing their banking. They’re also making their restaurant bookings.”
The advantage of doing so with BooKBooK is “it funnels your client base to the best opportunity. So, if someone wants to dine on Saturday night at 8pm but there are no tables available, it’ll suggest another time that same night. Or, if the restaurant’s full, it’ll be like, hey, have you thought about booking on another night?” The upshot is that far fewer customers are lost to other venues, which would have been the case previously.
Feathertop Winery in Victoria, notes Burt, is a terrific example of how this works. “They use BooKBooK in a really nice way because they have these things called ‘experiences’ with different booking opportunities, such as how many people you can book, which location you get booked into, and what times you can book, whether it’s lunch, dinner and so on. BooKBooK actually controls how you as a guest book that experience. It’s really quite neat the way they’ve done it and actually gives them the best exposure and the best quantity of bookings available.”
BooKBooK is a mine of information. It’s not just the critical details of bookings that are entered into the system (name, time, number of covers, dietary requirements). The really big benefit, again from a marketing point of view, says Burt, is that “BooKBooK keeps track of customers’ regularity, punctuality and average cheque, and ranks them into categories”. These are the so-called “irregular regulars”, people who don’t dine so often as to be recognisable by staff but who through the booking system can be identified enabling the restaurant to optimise the booking and service to their more ‘valuable’ clients by, say, extending to them a special welcome and then offering a complimentary after dinner liqueur or coffee. “So, it’s a real value proposition,” Burt stresses, adding that the database can also be shared across multiple restaurants. “If you’re an operator that has three, four or five restaurants, you can share that data with all of them.”
The fact that BooKBooK stores everyone’s contact details also provides numerous opportunities for marketing and promotion, he concludes. For example, on those quieter, lower yield nights restaurants can offer discounts and freebies to entice diners.