With the government due to outline the Covid-19 restrictions that will be in place over Christmas, the hospitality industry is gearing up to reopen its doors in early December and make the most of a festive ‘rush’. 

In some respects, the transition out of lockdown should be more straightforward than in the summer. Covid safety measures - such as screens, reconfigured table layouts and order-at-table tech - are already in place and customers are accustomed to social distancing rules and wearing masks. And they are also familiar with the requirement to provide personal information for track and trace purposes. 

Data is king

On top of everything else, mandatory data collection for track and trace is likely to still be in place post-lockdown (we don’t think it should be), with hospitality venues expected to display an NHS app QR code and maintain their own register of customers. This is another headache that operators have to endure, but there may be a silver lining…

No matter the industry or the goods and services provided, collecting data about customers helps to improve nearly every aspect of a business. 

Most restaurants, bars and pubs only capture a tiny amount of their footfall data, with even fewer using this data to inform the direction of the business and how they can more effectively market to customers. 

The pandemic has propelled the use of tech in hospitality and the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and insight into the habits of customers has never been greater. It has also enabled businesses to identify their most valuable customers - defined by their frequency, recency and loyalty to a brand. 

But time is of the essence

Whilst most customers who enter a premise may not opt-in to receive further communications, businesses can remain GDPR-compliant and still glean valuable information from track and trace by anonymising the data (i.e. removing any identifiable information). But there is a time stamp on this data and, in most instances, it must be destroyed within 21 days.

The proof is in the pizza

To demonstrate this point, a well-known independent pizza chain signed up to Trck.to - our track and trace platform - in July. 

Before the pandemic, the pizza place collected data from just 1.5% of its customers. 

This accelerated to 13% with Trck.to in the summer - and grew to 41% by the end of September. And they have the opportunity to further enrich this data as a third of these customers have opted-in to receive marketing communications from the business.  

88% of the business’ September sign-ups came via trck.to, and this valuable information would have been lost if a digital track and trace platform had not been embraced. 

Christmas 2020 and beyond 

The pizza chain data has been crunched by DataHawks, and founder Victoria Searl has shared her wisdom and advice for other hospitality businesses looking to follow suit: 

“Use the insight that lies within to plot your strongest possible recovery. Think carefully about the data you likely already have sitting within your business, whether from WIFI, CRM, payment, social media; and the data you have the opportunity to gather now. 

“This is not about coercing people into giving you their precious data under the guise of caring for their wellbeing, but it is about grabbing it when it’s offered.”

Want to get the most out of all your different sources of data capture, then we'd love to chat with you about Airship CRM. To find out more about Trck.to, visit usetrck.to