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Brands turning their backs on vouchers, despite customer popularity

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28th May 2014
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An increasing number of brands are snubbing vouchers, despite customers having a large appetite for them. The trend is particularly rife in the hospitality sector, where new research commissioned by Omnico Group has shown that as many as 18% of business leaders do not use any form of voucher scheme at all.

What’s more, only 16% of the 173 restaurant, bar or pub managers surveyed think vouchers are currently important for sales generation – a figure that put vouchers right at the bottom of the marketing stack. Second to last were loyalty card programmes, which were seen as important to just 36%.

Interestingly, these bosses’ attitudes were far from echoed by their customers. Over half (53%) of the 5,000 consumers surveyed cited vouchers as their main reason for returning to a hospitality venue for food or drinks. Loyalty cards also proved popular, with 50% of customers claiming that these would encourage them to make repeat visits. Email is another favoured marketing tool, making 39% of respondents more likely to come back for more, while stamp card loyalty offers give 27% that all-important push to return to an outlet.

The research was conducted by Peach Factory, in partnership with technology provider, Omnico Group, with an aim to explore what the UK’s hospitality sector thinks of customer loyalty. It found that instead of loyalty schemes and discounts, hospitality bosses think that customer feedback (82%) and social media (77%) were the two most important factors to a successful marketing strategy.

Matthew Cox works in the hospitality division at Omnico Group, and shared his views on the findings. “With so much choice available for customers in the hospitality space, it’s vital that hospitality outlets gain their customers’ long term loyalty. Whilst it’s important to invest in tracking customer feedback, food and drink outlets must encourage spending. Having an effective system in place to provide customers with personalised vouchers tailored to their needs will ensure loyalty in a crowded market and track their behaviour.”

He continued: “We know from our work with the Anglia Co-Operative that personalised vouchers can have a sizeable impact on sales. After launching an e-coupons initiative, non-members - who previously would only have shopped once per week in store - spent more in stores as a direct result of receiving vouchers.”

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