JW Marriott Hotel Nara's Silk Road Dining restaurant generates more sales using the TableCheck EDM feature
¥1 million revenue generated with one email marketing blast
Silk Road Dining
Silk Road Dining is a multi-concept restaurant at the JW Marriott Hotel Nara, the first world-class branded luxury hotel based in Nara Prefecture in Japan.
Led by Chef Masayuki Kobayashi, who has worked at many prestigious hotels around Japan, the Silk Road Dining restaurant concocts Eastern and Western dishes using local and seasonal produce from Nara as well as ingredients imported from around the world. The hotel has introduced TableCheck at four restaurants and the hotel spa. They implemented the TableCheck EDM function (email newsletter distribution) on July 2022, and since then, the restaurant has seen an increase in profits just from one single email blast.
Before utilizing EDM, customer management was done manually, at times, taking three hours to contact each customer. In this interview, we spoke to Food & Beverage Director Taiji Tamenori, about his email marketing initiatives at Silk Road Dining using the TableCheck EDM feature.
From analog to digital customer management
What e-mail newsletter distribution system were you using before implementing the TableCheck EDM feature?
Taiji Tamenori: Although we didn't use one in particular, we have been wanting to send out an email newsletter for a while. Then, TableCheck introduced the EDM feature and we added it to our system.
How were you communicating with your existing customers before?
T: We used to contact customers individually by e-mail, LINE, phone, etc., and we did everything manually, especially with loyal customers. But we weren't contacting everyone at the same time.
Do most Silk Road Dining customers prefer to call by telephone?
T: Partly due to the location of Nara, some people prefer to contact us by phone [to inquire] or make reservations. If online reservations are closed, people try to make inquiries by the same means.
At the same time, some customers want to discuss and confirm their booking and dining details for entertaining guests in advance, so we often make phone calls.
How long does it take for one customer to inquire by phone?
T: It depends on the person in charge, but it could sometimes be about 20 to 30 minutes. There was a time when it took more than three hours to inform the customer about the monthly events.
It still takes time if I send communications to each customer by phone, email, and LINE, plus Instagram and Facebook messenger. In addition to these digital communications, we send out greetings and letters of thanks to every one of them while providing guidance, which takes a significant amount of time.
Improving customer relationships, generating 1 million yen as a result
What was the response of your customers after sending them an EDM newsletter?
Some customers have contacted me directly to say, "I saw your email". A positive effect is getting them to make reservations after receiving an email from us.
Has there been any change in the ratio of repeat customers as a result of the e-mail distribution?
T: Yes. Whenever customers want to receive our e-newsletter, it means they have high expectations from us. There were reactions to announcements from various channels, such as the hotel's website and official SNS. However, we realized that the e-mail newsletter allows a more direct approach and is one of the most effective marketing measures [we could implement at the hotel].
This summer, we offered a seasonal restaurant promo followed by the chocolate buffet [campaign]. We are also planning a Christmas offer or an afternoon tea promo.
We also run a one-day event every month. In the future, we'd like to combine one-day events with seasonal events and send out event information as regular newsletter content.
How effective has the newsletter been?
We generated approximately one million yen in sales after just one email. We had a lot of customers, even after the Obon Festival.
More repeat guests: Data-driven customer management
Talk to us about your future EDM marketing plans.
We would like to send out as many newsletters as possible, but [to do it effectively] and not [to the point] that our customers get fed up with them. We can announce our Silk Road Dining plans, restaurant-wide or hotel-wide events, and accommodation campaigns.
Do you have any feedback on the EDM functionality or would you like to see improvements?
The ability to create HTML emails as well as text emails. I also appreciate that the HTML mail has form input specifications, making it easy to create emails.
It would be interesting if we could integrate with the LINE app, but I am satisfied with the current situation. Even for a hotel of our size, we can already distribute to about 1,800 people, so this functionality alone is very reassuring.
As far as the system is concerned, we are distributing to e-mail addresses that customers registered to make reservations with TableCheck. It's an address that they frequently use.
What are your hopes for the future use of the system?
T: We will continue to contact customers individually via telephone, social networking services, and EDM email newsletters. We would also like to increase the proportion of reservations made online to alleviate staff resources and improve efficiency.
The TableCheck EDM feature
Electronic Direct Email (EDM), is a marketing automation feature introduced by TableCheck to help restaurants boost sales and generate repeat visits. Restaurants can easily create automated marketing campaigns using templates that they can tailor according to their needs.
The data accumulated can help restaurants narrow down their target customers and create automated email newsletters to drive customers to return for more dining experiences at their venue.
Silk Road Dining
This article was originally published in Japanese on December 7, 2022
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