Booking a table at your favourite restaurant no longer involves simply contacting the establishment and giving your details. Now it often involves the restaurant contacting you too – sometimes several times over.

Online booking platforms used by hundreds of restaurants in the UK now send out reservation confirmations, reminders, requests for feedback, future deals and news. Some send certain customers a “personalised booking link” after their visit, to encourage them to come back. “I hope you had a great time on your last visit … and that you’ll come back to see us again soon,” reads one example, sent on behalf of Som Saa, a Thai restaurant in east London, via booking platform SevenRooms.

“If you’re keen to explore more of the menu and already have a date in mind, you can always book a table through our direct booking link here. Hope to see you soon, Som Saa team.”

Som Saa co-founder Mark Dobbie said: “In a city like London, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd sometimes, so it’s helpful to be able to remind people we’re here.”

July, a recently opened restaurant in central London that uses SevenRooms, has also been sending out personal booking links. “So far it’s been going well,” said co-founder Julian Oschmann. “About 10% of our first-time guests use it to make another booking.”

We learn a lot from the customer feedback we receive. We look at it as a team to see what we can do to improve.

SevenRooms introduced what it calls “marketing automation” in 2019, but said restaurants are increasingly moving to personalise their communications to customers. Guests might be invited to book again at certain moments, including after their first visit, if they haven’t visited for a certain number of days, or if they didn’t rebook after cancelling. A restaurant might also encourage them to book again if they bought a specific wine, or hit a spending threshold, the platform said.

The Observer. To read the full story click here