Australia’s first happy-hour centric app has had a reboot, providing better data to publicans and their customers in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
The new app, which took seven months to complete, went live at 1am on Saturday morning. The Happiest Hour 2.0 aims to be the definitive tool for the hospitality industry, allowing venues to promote their food and beverage offerings and events in real-time, to a highly targeted audience.
Technical Director Joe Britton, explained that through the app, venues will gain data insights on user-behaviour through a single platform solution. He said that venues and users will have better control than ever before.
“The idea is to put the power into the venue managers hands, to give them data, like insights into customers, to enable them to make better decisions,” Britton said.
“They’ll know what customers are looking for, what the most popular search terms are, what sort of specials they favour the most and what the most highly rated specials are by day as well.”
“They can also target when to launch, especially what times, the best times – it will just make it a bit more of a refined process for marketing venue specials.”
“We can also now target cities and suburbs, which means users will only get relevant information.”
“For example, we will be able to target people in Carlton who like burgers.”
Founder and Editor Chris Canty, said that with the new app, users will now be able to like specific food and beverage items, instead of only being able to rate the venue as a whole.
“As of today, users can rate their own specials, so at the end of the week, we can really nail where and what people are eating and drinking.”
Having started the Happiest Hour as a blog back in 2004, Canty said that the journey has taken him on a 15-year case study of the food and beverage habits of Australians.
Britton said that it’s a bit like Uber Eats in that there’s geo-location information specifying things, like when users open the app there’s recommendations tailored to their preferences.
“It will eventually add more value to the users,” Britton said.
“If venues see that a special is rating low, then that’s something they’ll need to answer, it’s like a direct connection.”
“So, instead of guessing what the customers might think, they’ll know what they’re thinking.”
“Hopefully, this will encourage more specials to be frequently updated.”
Britton admitted that it’s going to take a bit of time to get people managing their specials because there’s 2,500 venues listed on the app.
The Happiest Hour was designed with the view to having a big data AI engine in the background.
Canty explained that all Venue Managers have at the moment is Facebook.
“When a publican posts to Facebook, only 10 per cent of users will see it because that’s the business algorithm of Facebook,” he said.
“What’s cool about us, with our new app, if a user favourites a venue and the venue changes its specials, they will receive a mobile notification straight away.”
“So, it’s 100 per cent viewing instead of Facebook, which is 10 per cent.”
“We don’t think that’s being done in all of Australia,” Canty said.
“It’s a win win because it’s a targeted market that we’re providing them,” Britton said.
“No one has got this vision of dashboards and data like we have.”
“I imagine the stock side of the business is already taken care, like what stock is shifting and things like that, but to be honest I don’t think they know when to release that to an audience.”
Britton said that the app ties the two together and hopes that publicans will factor in the Happiest Hour with everything they do.
Britton said that the listings are free.
“While listings are free, obviously with this data platform, having a dashboard where you can visualise data, including geolocation and a heat map, we’re going to set up a basic subscription model for that,” he explained.
“It’s much like the Google model, where venues can purchase priority or sponsored listings.”
“We also have banner ads and EDM sponsors.”
Britton reiterated that above all, publicans are going to have a direct connection with their customers.
“It’s going to drive retention,” he said.
“We’ve built the foundations, it can only get better from here.”
With more pubs than in the entirety of Australia, the Happiest Hour has now got its sights set on London for next year.