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How We Managed to Increase the Bookings of a Restaurant in Budapest by 501%


Szerző: Online Marketing Counselor Balázs Máté

We’ve managed to boost a restaurant’s bookings which we’ve been working with for two years by 501%. How? Let’s see!

We’ve been monitoring the development of marketing communications and websites of Hungary’s hospitality businesses for 10 years. Back in 2008, when hospitality and tourism marketing became one of our specialties (alongside healthcare marketing), there were but a few well-optimized gastronomy websites around.


Since then, we’ve consulted the entire Eventrend group (Salon Restaurant, New York, Café, Városliget Café, Dunyha Restaurant, BRKLN, PRE-GO, Symbol, Akadémia Club, Bohém Restaurant MÜPA etc.) and started developing the Zsidai group’s online communications.


On top of these we managed to help several other, independent restaurants as well. We’ve optimized their websites and their whole palette of communications for conversions.


We’ve compiled these next tips based upon our years of experience with hospitality businesses to help you attract more guests to your restaurant.


But first – What are conversions anyway?

A conversion is basically when a visitor takes a desired action on a website. On a restaurant’s website, this could mean booking a table, ordering delivery, or requesting a quote for a business event (if the restaurant offers such services). This process converts general visitors to potential or actual customers.


Your goal is to increase the number of such conversions on your website. Here’s how to do it…




1. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices

You’ve probably heard about responsive websites, which automatically adapt to the current device they’re being viewed on. This adaptability offers a seamless experience for users, regardless of what sort of device they are using. It’s been becoming more and more important to optimize your website for all popular devices, especially since Google announced that they have started rolling out their mobile-first indexation algorithm.


According to our statistics, more than 60% of users visit the websites of Hungarian restaurants using a mobile device. So, if your website isn’t perfectly displayed on every device type (desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets), then you should find yourself a good web developer as soon as possible!


2. Simplify Your Website’s Navigation

Try sticking to the three-click rule – design your website so that visitors can get to any part of it with only three clicks. This is especially important for mobile users.


Simplifying your site’s navigation usually involves providing a quick way to return to the homepage and a general search function as well. It’s also important to display the most essential information on all pages.


Don’t worry if your website consists of hundreds or thousands of pages though – as long as navigation is fast and straightforward between them, you should be fine.


Unfortunately, many programmers like to overcomplicate things. We use eye-tracking to analyze visitor behavior, and use this data to design the best website for our clients.


A sitemap can also help with increasing the number of conversions on your website, and can help with SEO too.


3. Create Loyalty and Reward Programs

The Eventrend managers soon realized that people like to return to places they feel appreciated at. This is why they created the Eventrend card (which since became an application), that allows you to gather points after your visits (this applies to business meetings and private dinners too). You can then exchange these points to exclusive items. We’ve been glad to assist in laying the online marketing foundations for this project and we can highly recommend doing the same for other restaurants as well!


Restaurant loyalty and reward programs give people more reasons for quick conversions on your website. You can, for instance, offer them exclusive deals, gift coupons, deserts and many other incentives to convince them to convert.


4. Place a Table Booking Widget on Your Website

Table booking widgets provide an easy and quick way for your visitors to make reservations directly from your website regardless of where they are or when they happen to do so.


Many people are skeptical about the future of online bookings in Hungary. In the screenshots below, you can see the online booking numbers of one of our online restaurant marketing clients. The first image shows a comparison between the number of reservations made in September 2016 and September 2017. The second image compares the same month between 2015 and 2017.


The results surprised both us and the restaurant’s management, as the number of online bookings showed a significant increase.



5. Offer Coupons and Incentives for Immediate Conversions

If you can convince your visitors to take action (to convert) immediately, then you can easily improve your conversion rates. You don’t have to offer expensive dinners, or anything financial even. Many restaurants offer branded items, such as mugs and pens, to incentivize their visitors to convert.


6. Ditch Social Media – Use SEO Instead!

Lately, we’ve been doing a good amount of quantitative and qualitative research with my fellow diploma candidates among the restaurant goers of Budapest. Our findings support what you can see on the screenshot: restaurant conversions come from Google traffic, while Facebook and Instagram provide no sources for conversions.


Social media tools, however, play an important role in SEO and PR efforts, and because of this, they are not to be ignored. Still, many marketers approach these platforms from the wrong direction. Again, as the figure (taken from one of our client’s Google Analytics report) below shows, Google is the only dependable source of converting traffic. It also shows the 501% percent increase in online bookings which we’ve managed to achieve in two years (between 2015 and 2017).


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