Let's go back 5 months..  We had just been placed into the third lockdown. There was no indication as to when it was going to end. Hospitality was entirely shut down. No take away pints. No scotch eggs. We were well and truly: staring into the void. 


But in that early void, we had time to create Come Back Strong. Come Back Strong was born in January, supporting the hospitality industry to plan and prepare for an unknown reopening date. We began by outlining 5 ways that you could come back strong: 


‘Set out your stall - The Value Exchange: The value exchange is simply the branding around your digital strategy. It's what you offer your customers in exchange for them engaging with you. It could be a club, family or friends.’


‘Reacquaint with your customers: You’ll need to start working on re-engagement campaigns to bring your customers back into your brand fold.’


‘Create a Flight Plan: For a while, customer journeys have been far too limited. Now’s the time to think like an ecommerce business and build out more triggered journeys.’


‘Get some new customers:  Now is the time to plan a data boost. Over the years, campaigns to recruit new customers have become less important with digital engagement growing; however, with the lack of channels this year, this is not the case.’


‘There’s never been a better time to introduce loyalty: With COVID creating such a change in customer behaviour, there's never been a better time to think about delivering a simple loyalty plan that drives up the frequency of visits.’


Over the past 5 months, we have paired with industry champions to open conversations, discuss strategy and collaborate on how we could reach the goals of coming back strong. We hosted 12 masterclasses, unpacking how to create an ‘Additional Revenue Stream by Unlocking the Power of B2B Customers’ with Alex Preece from Tillo. We discussed ‘Taking control of post-Covid recovery with data’ with Victoria Searl from Data Hawks. Towards the end of lockdown, we refocused our lens and prepared to ‘Reopen with a Bang’ with Julia Platia from Feed It Back. 


Our fireside chats became a hit - we hosted 11x ten minute chats with sector professionals, presenting quick-fire conversations on industry-specific topics. We spoke to: Kevin Dixon from Tevalis, about hospitality partnerships. Jonny Stevens, founder of Better Without, about the emerging low and no alcohol drinks market. Zoë Knowles imparted her wisdom about the key actions operators need to be taking now to prepare for lockdown being lifted.


These videos gained thousands of views, offering the sector vital support and needed guidance in the build up to reopening. Come Back Strong didn't stop here. Airship and Toggle were offered free throughout the campaign, in order to support hospitality in difficult times. A combined 2,630 free months of Airship and Toggle were used by businesses this year (based on Sam’s maths). That's 219 years, by the way! In this time, Airship and Toggle have welcomed79 new customers. We have on-boarded 963 individual locations. And taken 20 businesses to flight through our ‘flight plan’ program, guiding them through the construction of their automated customer journeys  


With pubs, restaurants and bars permitted to open for outdoor dining from the 12th April,  we have seen our sector start to take-off once again.  Venues, customers and staff have become reengaged. Alongside the monumental efforts made by the teams in hospitality and the loyalty from their customers, we’re delighted that Come Back Strong has played a small role in helping our sector prepare for re-opening.