From a previous post, we’ve already reviewed how to measure your sales – a core pillar of business. Sales is the product of “customers x no. of transactions x average spend per transaction”. So let’s now dive in and focus on customers and how to get more of them.

Different businesses ask us for advice and almost all would want to know the answer to the question, “How to do I increase my customers?”

Get leads, then get more leads

If you’re in the hotel/pub/liquor store business, you’re in to “consumer marketing”. Generating leads with consumers means starting to engage with them. There are a few simple ways to encourage patrons to engage:

  • Social media is a great start – so do you have a Facebook or Instagram page where patrons can engage with your venue?
  • Do you advertise your specials or events on your website or social media pages?
  • Encourage patrons to “like” your page and follow you, this is an easy and cheap way to promote to your current clientele and get them back through your doors.
  • Loyalty programs allow you to connect with patrons. A simple way to start off might be a business card draw at the bar – a good way to start building a database to keep in touch.

Start small and build from there, it’s opening the dialogue which is most important, then repeat what works.

How Should an Old-school Hotelier Approach the Digital Age?

Increase your conversion

Prospects who have not yet purchased are a “lead”, once they buy they become a “customer”. So how do you convert leads into customers? How proficient is your sales process. It this left with the client to drive, or do you empower employees to make suggestions or upsell? Product training can provide a wealth of knowledge and opportunity for your staff to engage with patrons, and it’s usually a welcomed sell giving patrons the opportunity to try something new they otherwise may not have. Often supplier specials provide a better than average margin to your bottom line, so not only could you increase sales, but your bottom line.

Keep your customers

It’s at least 5 times cheaper to keep a customer than get a new one, and far easier to sell to a current customer than a new lead. Current clients tentd to spend more, so value them when they patronise you. Relationships are the key to keeping customers; strong relationships mean more repeat business and lead to the best form of marketing – Referrals.


If you have good service and product offerings than your competitors, customers will keep coming back to you and will refer you to friends, colleagues and mates. Getting referrals is one of the more cost effective ways to grow your customer base. It’s also easier to sell to these referrals because they’ve already heard what about you from people they trust. A product tasting is a good way to get a supplier funded promotion in your venue, and ask your regular patrons to bring a mate.

Re-engage past customers

This can potentially lead to two things – drive a customer to return, or learn why he doesn’t intend to. You can never lose by engaging with customers – even when they are airing their grievances. This is a good learning opportunity to identify and fix issues which could be costing your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue. It could give you the opportunity to ask a lost customer to come back.

Having an adequate number of customers makes your venue sustainable. However, an increasing number allows for growth both in business size and profitability.

If you need advice on how to specifically apply these tips to your business, contact our PJT Hotels Specialist division for advice.