Highly-acclaimed Greater Manchester restaurant Damson is finding that over half of its table bookings now arrive online through its website
Steve Pilling, Managing Director of Damson, the award-winning independent restaurant, has a thriving business with venues in MediaCityUK and Stockport. At the end of last year, the company commissioned new web studio experts Nettl to carry out a complete overhaul of the company’s website in response to changes in customer booking habits.
“It was only a year ago that we were still getting the majority of our bookings over the phone but we have seen a radical shift in customers’ behaviour in the past nine months,” says Pilling (pictured).
“There is much more confidence in booking online, especially with the increased use of smartphones to view web content.
“The website is now a truly integral part of our business. Most of our marketing is designed to direct people there and we have a platform from which we can grow and evolve, including the potential for event bookings and bespoke gift voucher purchases.”
Nettl is a cross-media design studio franchise, the evolution of sister brand, printing.com with head office in Trafford Park, Manchester. It offers a complete marketing strategy across branding, web design and online media and website services in the UK.
The brief from Damson was to create a more visual, engaging website which included an easy to use booking system, SEO consideration and full integration with social media so that staff could easily update all digital platforms at the same time.
With more than half of all web visits in the UK now estimated to be taking place from a mobile device, the new website also had to be fully optimised for mobile and tablet use.
The new website launched last year and as a result Pilling says that online bookings have already seen an incredible boost and now account for over 50% of all reservations.
The number of hits to the website has also doubled in this short space of time and the business has seen even further sales growth which bosses say they are in no doubt is attributed to the impact of the new website.
Damson’s new, easy to use online booking system
So why isn’t everyone doing this? Nettl Chief Technology Officer, Peter Gunning, says it’s often a case of perceived priorities, combined with confusion about where to begin.
“Since launching Nettl last year, we’ve lost count of the number of times new clients have told us they’ve been meaning to sort out their website for ages.”
Peter Gunning, Nettl Chief Technology Officer
“It’s a familiar story but with the rapid growth of ecommerce, websites are one of the most crucial assets for any business.
As consumers become more savvy, convenience and ease of use becomes critical – if you can’t make a restaurant reservation within a couple of swipes on your phone while sitting on the bus you’ll move on, it’s as simple as that.”
Pilling concludes that the priority for Damson now is to ensure the website is constantly maintained and updated, keeping consumers engaged and ensuring Damson is front of mind.
“We have exciting expansion plans for Damson with new sites in the pipeline this year so our objective is to make sure our online presence reflects the exciting evolution of the brand offline,” he adds.