Love can’t be bought, but a good experience will reach the customer’s heart.

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and everything indicates that this February 14th will be a great opportunity to increase sales for most merchants, as well as for those in the tourism and catering sector. There are currently 11 million couples in Spain and over 30% say they would like to receive a romantic travel as a gift, followed by a dinner in a restaurant. It seems that their lovers have noticed it, because according to predictions, 26% of the couples are planning to give experiences this year. In addition, it is estimated that more than 6 million Spaniards will buy a gift and spend an average of 122€ to celebrate this date, which, coinciding with a Thursday, is likely to extend until the weekend.

Business are on the other side of this equation, increasingly trying to make a niche in the minds of their customers, be remembered and differentiate themselves by offering a product or service better than the competition.  Although in all sectors the experience is pursued beyond the product or service, when it comes to areas such as tourism or catering, it becomes crucial and can determine if the customer returns, forget its experience or decide not to repeat it. For these reasons it is very useful to link the experience lived with positive feelings, and Valentine’s Day offers a great opportunity for this.

For achieving this goal, it is important to take care of the whole process, from the time of booking to the end of the service and the time of payment. To do this, we must take into account the onmnicanality demanded by the current consumer, who wants to use multiple channels to look for information, make reservations, or pay for services.

Catering:

In the restaurant sector, it is essential to give a lot of importance to the moment of booking, which has evolved from the traditional telephone call to the increasingly frequent online booking. By 2017, the internet already accounted for 30% of restaurant bookings and a year later, 70% of those bookings were made with mobile phones. During the day of the celebration of love, these increase by around 5%, representing an opportunity for the sector. Thus, special care must be taken with the reservation system through all channels to avoid the loss of customers during the process. In addition, the moment of payment is also crucial, because an excellent service can be faded by an excessive time when paying the bill. To prevent this, we can count on a payment gateway that ensures speed and offers different electronic payment methods, from traditional card payment to e-wallet payment through mobile devices. On the other hand, there are innovative solutions such as tokenization, which allows card data to be stored securely at the time of booking and then charge the account directly, reducing waiting time to zero and making the payment process almost invisible.

This improvement in the consumer’s experience, together with the Valentine’s day, become key factors in associating an establishment with a happy memory and a positive feeling, thus achieving customer loyalty with greater motivation to return in the future.

Tourism:

It is estimated that couples celebrating Valentine’s Day with a trip will spend an average of €200, something that the hotel sector should take advantage of. Accommodation in a hotel has similar phases to those that could happen in a restaurant, but with a longer duration, a generally higher price and a greater variety of services that can be added beyond a simple stay. In fact, the restaurant itself can be part of the experience with, for example, romantic dinners in the hotel restaurant. This is one of the most popular activities during Valentine’s Day, along with wellness or relaxation. It may also be interesting to offer additional options such as a bottle of Champagne, chocolates, flowers and other details that will be appreciated, especially on dates such as February 14th.

Apart from having each one of these services ready, it is necessary to establish how to charge the client for all of them. One alternative could be, for example, charge the customer at the time that he/she enjoys each service, forcing them to make numerous payments during their romantic trip. A possible solution to this problem is to register and accumulate these amounts so that, at the end of the stay, the guest approaches the reception and makes the payment for all of them. But, do we want that payment to be the last memory of our client? To avoid this situation, it is useful to have a payment system that allows to collect the card details at the beginning of the stay and process the payment of the services just with the client’s authorization.

We can conclude that the consumer’s heart is a place difficult to reach, but we must try to get closer to him to achieve greater loyalty. From Sipay Plus, a payment gateway at the forefront of innovation and technology, they explain that “tokenization is one of the most effective ways to achieve the repetition of the purchase or hiring of a service by a customer, because it facilitates recurring purchases and brings the moment of payment to invisibility, always complying with the highest security standards (PCI DSS 3.2.1) while improving and streamlining the consumer experience”.

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