The Art of Optimising Your Arrival Process

A great arrival process is crucial for setting the right atmosphere, enhancing overall experience and revenue.

The Art of Optimising Your Arrival Process

First impression is everything. VIP patrons are seeking both memorable experiences from the venue, and to be treated as memorable by the venue.  The manner in which guests are welcomed upon arrival sets the tone for their entire evening and, if done well, can elevate client experience and boost revenue.

There are three elements parts to a polished arrival process:

  1. Streamlining Payments for a Seamless Entry
  2. Leveraging Guestlist Data for Personalised Welcomes
  3. Ensuring Flawless Communication Within the Team

By carefully designing each element of the arrival processes, venues can transform a routine entry into an exclusive and personalised welcome.

Streamlining Payments for Seamless Entry

The ultimate flex as a VIP booker is just having the payment “handled” fast, yet often venues make this a tiresome and laborious process which sets the tone for the rest of the night.  

Over the last few months, digital payment solutions have advanced considerably, with features like tap-to-pay and payment links allowing the door person to collect fees fast and move the party through quickly, minimising potential awkwardness at this step.

Securing full payment at the door psychologically distances the payment from the actual experience and increases propensity to spend in the venue.  We found that where an included spend was pre-paid in advance, guests treated that as a bonus and spent just as much in the venue.  

Furthermore, collecting payment at the door stacks the night in favour of upsells.  Consider a situation where the party is seated first: the music and novelty distract from their first order and payment, delaying the start of your service window and putting pressure on your waitstaff at the busiest time of night to collect and validate payments.

Leveraging Guestlist Data for Personalised Welcomes

A study published in the "Journal of Service Research" found that personalisation leads to higher customer satisfaction, which, in turn, drives loyalty and repeat business. Personalisation can make customers feel recognised and valued and increase the chances of word of mouth referral.

Airlines have been leveraging guest data to personalise guest experience and differentiate ticket class for years.  Have you ever noticed as you board a flight that the passenger ahead or behind you had a slightly different welcome from the crew than you did?  Crew use a well-established practice of examining the airline ticket and delivering an appropriate welcome, even if they have never actually seen you before. A greeting like, “Welcome back, Mrs Smith” rather than, “Welcome on board, Madame, ” ensures loyal passengers feel seen and differentiated.  

Your VIP team can implement a similar practice.  By carefully analysing guestlist data at the start of the night, your team can tailor their welcome to meet the specific preferences and expectations of each party. This could range from greeting guests by name, recognising special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries, to customizing the ambiance of their reserved area.

The guestlist is a goldmine for customer data and should not be overlooked (read: Unleashing the Full Power of VIP Guestlists). Create a Google form and generate a QR code with the URL. Or better still, use DQ’s built-in feature to capture guests, validate cell phone numbers and identify prior visits.  We recommend processing  payment and guestlist additions at the same time as it helps defer attention from the payment process.  Before you process payment, have each guest scan the QR code and have them add themselves to the guestlist. This only take 20 seconds, but collects a wealth of data you can use for their next visit.

The key lies in the effective management and utilisation of this data, ensuring that it translates into actionable insights that enhance the guest experience.

Ensuring Flawless Communication Within the Team

Guests expect that if one member of your team knows something, everyone does.  The reality is often very different.  Structured communication from the door to hosts, the service team and dispense can make handovers seamless and stack your operations for upsell and table re-sale.  

DQ Pro automatically handles this communication for you so that table assignment, customer data and arrival announcements are available in real-time.  This ensures that any last-minute changes or requests are promptly communicated and addressed, thereby avoiding any missteps that could detract from the guest experience.

If you’re not using DQ, the strategies can improve communication:
1.    A pre-service briefing focussed on what is already known about the guest (preferences, guests, relationships).
2.    Visually mapping out the arrival flow and reviewing this with your team so that each staff member knows what to do when it’s their turn. This reduces the variability in service and offers the opportunity to review and tweak as needed.
3.    Create a consistent shorthand for a set of pre-agreed options relating to guests, packages and set-ups to avoid mistakes when instructions are communicated by radio.

Final Thoughts

The goal of optimising your arrival process is to craft memorable experiences that begin the moment guests step into the venue. Efficiency and personalisation contribute to a sense of familiarity and prioritisation. Venues can enhance this by offering welcome that make each guest feel valued and special and by paying attention to frustration.

The arrival process is an opportunity to acknowledge loyalty, stroke egos and design your service flow for increased spend. By streamlining payments, leveraging guestlist data for personalised welcomes, and ensuring flawless communication within the team, you’ll be able to enhance client satisfaction and drive revenue. These touches require some planning and discipline, but can distinguish your venue from the others as a night to remember and be remembered by.