A Glimpse of Promise During Unprecedented Times

Following the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, the landscape momentarily shifted. Restaurants, equipped with technology-forward solutions, saw an impressive surge in app-based orders—constituting up to 80% of total orders. This surge wasn't just about numbers; it was about data-rich insights and a glimpse into a potential digital future for hospitality. For a fleeting moment, it seemed the digital loyalty puzzle was finally solved, all thanks to a global crisis that pushed customers toward app-based interactions.

The Reality Check: Transient Solutions and Returning Habits

However, this surge turned out to be a temporary panacea. As soon as the restrictions eased, customers reverted to their traditional ordering habits. The forced adoption of apps was just that—forced. The easing of restrictions revealed a stark reality: a mere 5% of total revenue from app-based solutions in most large pub and restaurant groups. This prompted a reevaluation: in an era of tightened monetary policy and contracted consumer spending, is it time to return to the basics? Is the concept of loyalty just another experiment failing to deliver long-term value?

The Digital Revolution: From Apps to Integrated Web Experiences

Despite the setbacks, it's undeniable that certain areas of digital innovation continue to thrive, notably web-based bookings. Today, a staggering majority of table bookings come through websites, with restaurants investing heavily in optimising conversion rates. It's clear that the approach to digital loyalty needs a shift from app-centric to web-first experiences.

Journeys: Paving the Way for a New Era of Digital Loyalty

Our initial foray with "Journeys" was to capture this low-hanging fruit by creating a web-based solution superior to any app. Journeys excels in aesthetics, functionality, and, most importantly, customer conversion—no downloads or sign-ups required.

The Exciting Horizon: QR Codes and Aspirational Targets

Our forthcoming update introduces the ability to earn loyalty seamlessly with the scanning of a digital QR code at the bar. This innovation allows customers to accrue benefits in a manner that doesn't disrupt their usual habits, including at-bar ordering—a key touchpoint. We're setting our sights high, with our first clients on the new platform targeting 40% uptake in orders through the new system, transforming the way loyalty is woven into the fabric of everyday transactions.

Redefining Engagement: The Convergence of Websites and Loyalty

Imagine a future where websites and loyalty programmes are indistinguishable, merging into a single, seamless digital ecosystem. The upcoming transformation of Journeys into a comprehensive, loyalty-first CMS signifies not just integration but a complete reinvention of customer engagement. In this evolution, the website and loyalty application become synonymous, streamlining actions like booking a table to be as effortless as Amazon's 'One-Click' ordering. This unified solution not only simplifies online interactions but also enhances the in-venue experience, creating a continuous and cohesive journey. Every digital engagement now seamlessly transitions into a physical encounter, fostering a holistic environment that naturally nurtures loyalty and rewards customers at every touchpoint.

Conclusion: The Path Forward

As we continue to develop and refine Journeys, our excitement for the future of hospitality grows. We believe that by embracing a more integrated, user-friendly approach, we can significantly increase loyalty engagement, offering unique monetisation opportunities for operators and enriching the customer experience. Stay tuned as we embark on this revolutionary journey.

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