You walk into your favorite restaurant or bar, and get the full VIP treatment - recognition, friendly smiles, immediate access to your seat, and a complimentary dish or drink. No, you’re not the newest member of the extended Kardashian family, but rather a user of a new iPhone app called Coastr.
The Coastr app enables its users to connect with their friends, industry staff, and so-called influencers around them – in order to get information about restaurants, bars, nightlife, and entertainment recommendations from people they trust rather than anonymous online people.
The Coastr app is based on the very human need to be appreciated and on the understanding that customers – all customers - want to feel special. They want to be recognized by name and feel welcomed as an individual, as opposed to just another warm body filling a seat.
The app creates an ongoing connection between the venue and its customers – beyond just taking reservations. Using Geolocation and Bluetooth Beacons, Coastr immediately recognizes customers on arrival, pushing notifications to hosts and allowing Coastr-enabled venues to tailor the individual customer experience.
The more the user uses the application, the greater their Coastr score, which means that their status at participating venues grows, and they can get instant recognition and VIP treatment from their very first visit.
How does it work? The Coastr app lets users get recommendations from their friends or from people whose opinion they trust in order to find the hottest restaurants and nightclubs. Beyond just information, users can also connect with their favorite servers and get exclusive invites and offers that can't be found anywhere else. Based on the application, the venue knows immediately that you’ve walked in the door and are eligible for personalized VIP service from beginning to end.
That’s kind of cool, but what’s so special about it? I mean there are lots of apps out there that let you book spots, and do similar things. Well, Coastr was designed to solve pain points created by existing companies such as OpenTable, Yelp! and GroupOn. The new app has seen strong early interest.
Coastr understands that customers are more likely to buy an extra glass of wine, a dessert, and/or tip staff a few extra percentage points when they are made to feel at home through personal recognition. But that kind of recognition is usually limited to individual staff members who are able to recognize these patrons. Given that there is a 68% turnover rate for the hospitality industry, it’s unlikely most venues will retain the staff that can generate that kind of recognition, and with their leaving goes the connection to their regular clientele. Coastr helps the venue patrons feel like they belong and are continued to be recognized – regardless of shift changes and staff turnover.
Coastr essentially creates for venues the loyalty that airlines and hotels have already been building for decades, using sophisticated technology that enables the airline or hotel to instantly recognize their loyal customer.
How has the app done so far?
Coastr's closed beta launched earlier this year, signing 20 venues up to the platform, and says it’s seen each venue that’s joined them bring as many as 500 of their customers to the platform in an effort to better engage their community. Within the next 6 months, Coastr plans to be installed in 150 venues, will launch an Android version, and plans integrated pre-purchases, rewards, and payments.
As of publication, Coastr has raised $195K of its **$500,000 goal on Fundable.