Author: Matthew Swan & Stephen King, Eagle Eye Solutions Sales
The novel coronavirus pandemic posed a completely new challenge to the hospitality industry, where many restaurants, pubs and bars were forced to close during lockdown.
While some could offer a limited takeaway experience, albeit with a significantly reduced demand, government-enforced restrictions put a severe strain on many of our favourite social spaces, which has left over three-quarters of UK hospitality businesses at risk of insolvency.
However, the recovery process is slowly starting to begin. As lockdown restrictions are eased, venues are beginning to welcome back customers, albeit while socially distanced. Although the hospitality industry is doing its best to recover, the impact of COVID-19 has meant that operators have had to drastically change how they operate in order to serve the nation’s restaurant and pub goers.
At Eagle Eye, we believe partnerships will be a key driver in making sure the hospitality industry can bounce back to its once thriving former glory. There are a number of ways that hospitality operators and their agencies can team up with a variety of partners to reconnect with loyal customers, reach new and engaged audiences with innovative messages and provide ways to reward customers for brand interactions that lead to visits and sales.
Creating connected campaigns
The first partnership that we believe will be vital in kickstarting the rejuvenation of the hospitality sector is with drinks suppliers. Over recent years, Eagle Eye has partnered with major drinks brands such as Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Heineken and Bacardi to fund and run digital activation campaigns that drive footfall into venues.
Some of these campaigns use social media for example, which enables the brand to reach their target customers based on their profile, age, location and other demographics. The brand can then serve these target audience with ads encouraging them to engage via a digital call to action to download a coupon for a free drink that can be issued via a number of digital channels.
Once the customer receives their coupon, they can then visit a participating venue and scan their code at the point of sale (POS) to get their free drink. Eagle Eye serves as the connection between all of the stakeholders, who use Eagle Eye’s AIR digital marketing platform to manage the creation, distribution and tracking the unique discount codes that incentivise the customer engagement and generate valuable customer data-driven insights for the brand, along with footfall and sales uplift for the venue. Meanwhile, both also improve brand recognition as well as the customer experience.
Communicating via connected campaigns
In addition to driving footfall and sales to venues with Eagle Eye Connected Campaigns, bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants can also reward the loyal customers who are already inside their venues by communication directly with them, in-place. This is why Eagle Eye and secure public Wi-Fi provider, Wireless Social, have teamed up to offer a solution called Hedgehog.
The service works by offering customers who enter the venue and log onto the Wireless Social Wi-Fi network a brand-funded promotion that could offer them their “first pint of Heineken on the house,” as an example. Eagle Eye then generates a unique, single-use code that is sent to the customer’s mobile via SMS, WhatsApp or email, which is then redeemable at the POS.
Extending the capability of Connected Campaigns in this way gives the drinks supplier the opportunity to influence the consumer’s drink choice into switching brand or product, even if they haven’t previously engaged with other out-of-home or targeted social media advertising. The operator gets to create a differentiated and memorable customer experience by rewarding them as they enter their venue with a supplier-funded drink, which incentivises them to perhaps buy more, stay longer or visit again in future. The combination of Eagle Eye’s advanced activation and tracking capabilities with the streamlined promotional delivery and reporting of Wireless Social can help further sweat existing advertising and marketing investments.
Now is the perfect time for operators and suppliers to partner in order to drive footfall. With so much uncertainty on when normality may return, hospitality operators and brands needs to stay ahead of the curve by using marketing partnerships to maximise recovery and optimise their response to any future trading disruption.
Read about some of the ways Eagle Eye has helped connect different brand suppliers, such as BrewDog, Guinness, Coca Cola and Carlsberg (and agencies, including Live and Breathe, Twelve and Geometry), with a network of operators, such as Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers, in our Campaign Showcase here, as well as how it works here.
On-Demand Webinar: The Power of Partnerships - Connected Campaigns
Watch Eagle Eye’s Catherine Titherington, Steve King and Matt Swan as they discuss how drinks suppliers are running digital activation campaigns to increase footfall into pubs, bars and restaurants. Click here to watch the webinar on demand.