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16 simple actions you can do NOW for your hospitality business

Pierre Christiaens | Biography

Delen: Verspreid de boodschap, niet het virus.

Really. Your business is going to be all right.

Pierre Christiaens is my name. Symo Parasols is my company. I have 2 passions: parasols and marketing.

Since the hospitality industry is now closed, we don’t sell many umbrellas. My business is in the same boat as yours.

The last few weeks I heard a lot of worried entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry. That’s why I  like to put my great passion for marketing at your service. Now more than ever I want to show you that Symo Parasols is more than just a supplier. We are a partner… and we want to encourage you, motivate you to keep giving the best of yourself. Because I truly  believe  that everything will be alright!

I want to help you! In the coming weeks I will send you some free tips and inspiration every now and then. To get through this closure as well as possible. And to pop back in at the reopening !

What do you find out in this blog ?

• How can you stay in touch with your customers during the closure ?
• 3 creative ideas to give your customers a valuable gift that costs you nothing
• In this way you can ask for support for your sympathizers in a funny and effective way (without begging for charity)
• 3 simple steps to put the previous dots into practice quickly

But first very briefly the following:

Cash is king

To get through this period your company needs cash. I’m not going to repeat all the government’s measures here for the umpteenth time. There are other specialists for that. You can find a good overview on the websites of the hospitality sector organizations of your country.

In their latest newsletter, Lievens & Co Consulting wrote that “cash is an indispensable raw material” for your business. That’s why it’s important to make an extra effort to get some money during the closure. And don’t forget: every little bit helps. There are several ways to make some money. Even now. Think about

  • Sale of bottles of wine (this is good for your stock rotation and it keeps you in touch with the wine lovers among your customers) Home delivery of beer (e.g. “freshly tapped beer at home” by brewery De Koninck – are there possibilities to do the same as a pub or brasserie ?).
  • Delivering meals (yesterday I had a nice lobster delivered at home by Fratelli’s Trattoria Italiana in De Haan)
  • Pickup service
  • And last but not least, numerous free aid actions for the hospitality industry. I’ll tell you more about this: how can you use these actions in a positive way, not only to get some cash in, but also to stay in touch with your customers.

Question: Do you know other ways to earn some cash now? Would you like to share them with your colleagues who are also struggling? Send me your ideas and I will mention them in a next message. Just answer this email or send your message to pierre@symoparasols.com.

So many sympathetic aid actions towards the hospitality industry: join in

Catering enthusiasts and suppliers have launched fun actions to help the hospitality industry. Join them. Subscribe to as many of these initiatives as possible today.

I hear from a lot of people in the hospitality industry that they are a bit reluctant because this looks like ‘bumming’  or charity. There are solutions for that.

Still, it is important to participate. These actions will help you reach 2 important goals:

  1. You can earn some cash
  2. You stay in contact with your customers

The latter is extremely important. First subscribe to at least one of these actions and I will tell you later how you can use it in a positive way to stay in touch with your customers.

There are both national and local initiatives. And also for different target groups (e.g. cafes and restaurants).

Stay in touch with your customers !

You certainly know the saying ‘out of sight is out of mind’. Now you have to avoid that at all costs. Your customers can’t come to your business anymore. There is a risk that they will lose sight of you. That they forget you.

So make an extra effort to maintain your relationship with your clients, your family, your acquaintances. By giving them something now. Because this quarantine is also difficult for your clients: they are not allowed to leave their room. A nice gift is doubly rewarding.

Now I hear you think: yes, but above you said that cash is now an indispensable raw material for my business. Then I shouldn’t spend any money on gifts, should I? You’re right. And I have a big surprise for you. You can easily hand out gifts that cost you nothing. Don’t you believe me? I’ll give you some ideas:


Is music important in your business ? That’s also the case at Cappuccino Grand Café Lounge. This store has created free playlists on Spotify. With the title of their store: Cappuccino Grand Café Lounge. Their customers can now enjoy that special music at home that they appreciate so much in their favorite coffee bar. And so the store stays under the attention of their customers. A wonderful gift that costs them nothing. And it’s great fun too. Listen to their playlist for yourself. Just search on Spotify.


About a week ago I received a beautiful email from Italy. Yes, Italy, the country that is now struggling so much. The email came from Alessandro from Relais San Maurizio. This hotel and restaurant wrote me the following (I translate):

“In these difficult times, we want to be close to you. We give you a piece of our world and of our lifestyle, so that you can cherish a little bit of Relais San Maurizio in your home. While we are anxious to welcome you back at our beloved restaurant.

The most popular dessert of Relais San Maurizio

Then came the recipe to make “The Bunet of the Relais San Maurizio” at home. It was delicious (although I’m not very good at cooking…). It didn’t cost them anything. And yet, they surprised me incredibly.


Another lock down idea that has swarmed out from Italy to all over Europe is the e-peritivo. In Flanders we say “e-peritief’. Friends and family raise a glass and drink together via the screen of their PC or smartphone. Again, you can give away great gifts that cost you nothing: teach your customers how to make delicious cocktails. Or tasty snacks to accompany the aperitif. How about

“This is how you make the dirty ‘shaken not stirred’ Martini by James Bond”

(I didn’t come up with this one myself, it was sent to me by my car distributor. And for a moment I felt completely… Bond, James Bond !)

I am 100% sure that as a creative entrepreneur you have many more and much better ideas. Do it now. And connect with your customers.

And now it’s time to hit the nail on the head.

How you can help ?

That was put at the bottom of Alessandro’s email from Relais San Maurizio: this is how you can help us. Alessandro asked me to buy a voucher in his business. Exactly the same as I mentioned above. I did that right away.

Do you know why? Because he first gave me a present. That made me happy. And I wanted to do something in return. That’s actually an ancient principle from psychology. The American professor Robert Cialdini has done world-renowned research into it. He discovered 6 basic principles to convince other people. This is number 1:


“When you get something from someone else, there is a good chance that you will give him or her something back. If your neighbour invites you to dinner with him, you will soon feel obligated to invite the same person for dinner at your home.”

Professor Robert Cialdini

See you soon

Would you like to know more ? Then look out for my next blog article.

Because I have some nice ideas for you.

In the meantime, keep it funny and healthy.

It will be all right again!


PS Let me know what you think of these tips. pierre@symoparasols.com

PPS Now follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Sign up for at least 1 hospitality help action
  2. Give your customers a free gift that costs you nothing
  3. Only then can you ask them to help you

Contact Pierre Christiaens: christiaens@symoparasols.com

Read more about hospitality in times of corona / covid-19 ?

Delen: Verspreid de boodschap, niet het virus.

Pierre Christiaens
Contact me: christiaens @ symoparasols.com https://symoparasols.com

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