Collaboration for the Hospitality Sector

Collaboration for the Hospitality Sector

The first blog in our guest series has kindly been written by Dave Plunkett from Collaboration Junkie.  Dave specialises in helping brands get high quality referral leads on a consistent basis by building a strategic partner programme.  Today, Dave has focused his expertise on how collaboration can achieve this specifically within the hospitality sector.

Collaboration for the Hospitality Sector

It’s been tough times for many sectors over the last year or so, but one of the positives that I think we can take forward has been how much more collaboration between businesses we’ve seen – with new or improved services being offered that has enabled businesses to not only survive, but in many instances thrive, despite the climate.

That’s the great thing about collaboration and partnerships, you can create something far greater than the sum of its individual parts, meaning the long-term benefits are huge.

But one of the hardest hit sectors has clearly been hospitality, they’ve had to jump through more hoops then most, and yet have still had the harshest restrictions placed upon them.

And they’re not traditionally great collaborators.

So, whilst I’m doing my best to support my local (I’m sat in the beer garden while I write this actually), I thought there’s maybe more I could do, and so I thought I’d come up with a few practical tips for pubs, café’s, restaurants, and takeaways on how they can leverage collaborations and referral marketing.

So here goes

Refer a friend

So, this is one that everyone can take advantage of, but I’m always gob smacked by how few establishments do.

There’s nothing more powerful than a word-of-mouth referral, so why not encourage more of them into your business?

A simple way to do this without seeming overly salesy is to offer something to everyone involved.

How about giving out a raffle type ticket after your customers pay the bill. The prize can be whatever you wish – a free glass of wine with each main course ordered, or a free desert if 2 courses are ordered, whatever you choose and is right for your own business.

If the ticket’s redeemed by the friend of the customer who referred them then the customer in turn gets the same offer when they hand over their stub.

It means you’re not only attracting a new customer but encouraging repeat business from the original one as well – all at a cost you’ve been happy to cover.

It can be a really cost effective marketing strategy and one I’d encourage everyone to utilise in some form or another.

The drunken kebab

Who doesn’t love a cheeky takeaway after a couple of drinks?

So, if you’re a running a takeaway and there’s a pub local to you who doesn’t serve their own food (or even if they do but the kitchen closes early) why not see what you can do?

I’m not talking about just dumping some flyers on the bar though, that’s not really adding value to anyone.

Remember, the secret of any successful partnerships is value all round.

So, can you run a special offer for people who have come via the pub?

For those pubs that don’t offer food maybe even run a priority delivery service?

You could ask them to personally recommend, leave the special offer flyers on the bar or at table, or maybe even see if they could include your details on their receipts?

And of course, see what you can do in return.

Can you promote them in your premises or maybe include flyers when you bag up orders?

The customer gets some much-needed grub and feels special because of the offer. The pub looks good in their eyes because of this so builds customer loyalty, and you get extra business.

Winner!

Cabbie collaborations

Especially relevant if you have the opportunity for a good amount of transient trade, your local taxi firms could be a rich source of customer referrals for you.

Again, a simple offer (think if it as a marketing cost, but one that guarantees you a paying customer) can be the reason why it’s relevant for the driver to mention your establishment by name when they’re asked, or maybe even have your materials displayed somewhere in their vehicle.

You might need to sweeten the deal with firm themselves on this on this one, be that in cash or a tab, so make sure there’s a way of tracking their referrals, it could be as simple as a bespoke flyer, card or code to quote to claim their offer.

Yes, there may be a cost to it, but it’s business that you may otherwise have never had had, so as long as it’s profitable for you why wouldn’t you explore this avenue?

Go where your audience goes

I’ve given a couple of specific examples, but the same principles apply to any business or organisation that has contact with your target market and is an appropriate match.

Offer something of value to the audience, and something of value to the organisation making the referrals and you’re well away.

Café owners – why not approach your local primary schools or nurseries? Most of them have some kind fund that requires donations so can you offer a small % of orders over a certain size for anyone that comes through their recommendation? They may be able to include you in their newsletter on social media channels – which is great exposure for you, without any upfront fee.

Time waits for no man

Any service where the customer has to wait for a period of time could also be a great source of new business.

I know I’d rather sit somewhere nice with some refreshments then in a garage waiting room while my tyres get changed.

Who is local to you where you can capitalise on their captive audience?

In it together

So, my final suggestion is to look at where you can collaborate with similar local businesses to take advantage of one or more of the above suggestions more fully.

It takes a bigger leap of faith sure, but people have different tastes and preferences on any given day, and by combining your efforts where you may lose out on an individual customer on a given day, the overall impact will almost certainly be a more positive one.

So, there we have it, my starting suggestions for how look to leverage word of mouth referrals for your business. I hope you find them useful, and I hope the summer is a successful one for you!

Dave Plunkett

Founder | Chief Collaborator

07904 330628

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PS: If you’ve found this useful why not connect on LinkedIn.  Or if you know someone who this might be useful for, do them a favour and let them know.

What’s the best source of funding for my start-up business?

What’s the best source of funding for my start-up business?

If you’ve got an exciting new idea for a business, you’re probably aware of the minefield that is funding applications.

Should you approach your bank or choose a start-up loans specialist lender? Read on, and we’ll demystify all.

The choice

High Street Banks – traditionally, banks have preferred to loan money to established businesses as they like to mitigate their risk with some form of security (such as your assets) to underwrite the loan. This hasn’t really changed and, despite some claims that they lend to start-ups, once you get to the small print, they are only offering growth or expansion loans to those who have already started trading for at least 2 years and filed positive returns.

Start-up Loan Scheme – this is the government-backed Start-Up Loan Scheme. These loans are considered a personal loan but can only be used for business purposes. They are unsecured, which means there is no need for your assets to be secured against the loan. They are available to brand new businesses who have not yet started trading, and established businesses that have been trading for less than 2 years.

Alternative Lenders – there are some lenders out there who will lend to start-up businesses. Typically this will be industry specific and over a certain minimum amount. Can also be postcode dependent and the interest rates are usually higher.

The real choice

Once you start investigating what’s available, you are likely to find the start-up loan scheme is the only viable option for most genuine start-up businesses.

The scheme has been set up to focus on new businesses and there is no risk to your personal assets with this method of financing. Loans are available up to the value of £25,000, payable over 60 months maximum at an interest rate of 6%.

Don’t be put off by the narrative that start-up loans are “for would-be business owners who have struggled to secure funding from traditional lenders”. This doesn’t mean start-up loans are for people with poor credit ratings or high-risk businesses. It simply means that you need to try to secure funding from your bank first and if unsuccessful, then the start-up loan scheme is there for you. And you do need a good credit rating and eligible business idea to apply.

How to apply

Start-up loan timeframes vary hugely and that’s because there are so many different ways you can apply. From a completely do-it-yourself approach, to working with a broker or advisor, the key to a swift and successful application is to plan thoroughly and carefully.

That’s where Streamlion comes in. To date, we’ve helped our clients with over 500 applications and secured them over £7.7 million of funding. To do this, we partner with the UK’s number one start-up loans provider, Transmit Start-Ups, and we can work with you in different ways including:

  • Have an initial discussion with you about your business idea and the viability of your plans. We have a great deal of experience in many different industries, so can help you create a business model that works for you.
  • Explain about the importance of the credit check and guide you to the secure start-up loans application page so you can begin the process and complete these important checks.
  • Help you submit your business idea, financial forecast, loan expenditure and ‘personal survival budget’ (this is the main loan application process, and we can also check all your documentation to ensure you have the highest chance of success)
  • Work with you through the review of your loan application to approval and receipt of your funds.

If you’d like to know more about accessing funding for your start-up business, why not get in touch for a chat? You can contact Helen, Streamlion’s founder, on 07790 493033 or email helen@streamlionconsulting.com