Voucher publishers have been alerted to a glaring disconnect between food and drink industry decision makers and consumer attitudes to loyalty.

Of the 173 business leaders that customer journey company Omnico Group polled in a recent survey, only 16% said that vouchers were important in generating sales during 2014, while 18% claimed they used no voucher scheme whatsoever.

The findings were in stark contrast to general customer opinion, with 53% of the 5000-plus UK consumers involved in Omnico’s survey citing vouchers as the top reason for revisiting a restaurant, pub, bar or fast food chain.

Half of British consumers revealed that if loyalty cards were used by a hospitality venue, they would return. However, if the offer came via email, just 39% said they would make a repeat visit.

Social media more important

Despite the popularity of vouchers, business leaders were found to be in favour of other methods of attracting customers. 

Out of the leaders polled, 77% considered social media to be the most important marketing activity for generating sales, with 82% voting for the process of tracking customer feedback.

One man happy to ignore the consensus is Omnico leisure and hospitality sales executive Matthew Cox, who recommended that hospitality venues focus less on the feedback and more on driving loyalty and repeat trade.

“Whilst it’s important to invest in tracking customer feedback, food and drink outlets must encourage spending,” Cox said.

“Having an effective system in place to provide customers with personalised vouchers tailored to their needs will ensure loyalty in a crowded market and track their behaviour.”

For more on voucher use in performance marketing, read PerformanceIN’s voucher supplement.