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August 29, 2018
Commerce

Introducing The Hospo Club by Bellr

After launching hospitality-focussed social platform, SHOUTback, last year, Mitchell Stapleton-Coory and Matthew Giorgio have relaunched with Bellr - a refined version of the concept with a strong pitch to hospitality workers and venues alike.

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  • Words: Johnny von Einem

In September 2017, Mitchell Stapleton-Coory and Matthew Giorgio brought to the Adelaide market a concept called SHOUTback.

Remarks

Bellr is available now for free in app stores, and The Hospo Club launches Saturday, 1 September.

It was pitched as “a mobile coupon app for the hospo scene,” but it was perceived amongst users and venues (and media organisations like us) as a discount app.

“It pissed me off because it’s never been what we’re about,” Mitchell says.

Mitchell Stapleton-Coory.

What he and Matthew had hoped to create was an antidote to the push from most other technology companies to keep people inside and on the couch, rather than out enjoying the atmosphere of Adelaide’s premier venues.

This is still their aim, but under a new moniker, Bellr.

“The SHOUTback name, people think ‘shout’ they think ‘shout you a drink’ – cheap drinks – and that cheapened the whole thing. We probably didn’t respect enough how established that colloquialism was,” Mitch admits.

Bellr, which is available for free on app stores now, has been designed as a platform that will enable venues to communicate directly to consumers, allowing them to offer up information on food and beverage deals, or promote their venue in any way they see fit, skirting the algorithm-laden timelines of other platforms.

Distilled down, Mitch describes the app as an A-frame chalkboard on a sidewalk, digitised.

“We were like ‘It’s so antiquated, why are they using chalk to reach their customers?’” he says.

“The fact is they don’t have a digital channel that gives them the same autonomy.”

From the user’s perspective, Bellr presents a map with location pins, each corresponding to a venue with an active promotion.

“Electra House the other day had the guys from Never Never Distilling there with a garnish garden. They had a beautiful garnish garden set up, they had mint, botanicals, and fancy tonics, and the guys were there doing a full masterclass,” Mitch says.

“So they sold two G&Ts for $25, full price, but it wasn’t about the price, it was about the experience… This is a way of letting people know what is happening.”

Bellr gives venues full autonomy in what they choose to promote, and the functionality to customise and schedule content ahead of time.

Another piece of feedback the duo received from their initial release to market was the value proposition to users needed to be stronger, and to address this they introduced functionality to allow for loyalty programs to be set up within the app.

The first example of this will be The Hospo Club, a formal version of the industry pricing that has long existed amongst hospitality-friendly spots venues.

Each venue on Bellr has the option of taking part in the program, where they will be asked to offer some kind of hospitality-only deal, and then every member of their staff will be eligible for similar discounts at all other participating venues.

This image supplied.

“People have tried to do it with your RSA, flash your RSA and you get a discount, or show your pay slip,” Mitch says.

“This is just aggregating it. But it’s more than that, because it’s creating a community where venues offer something, and then in exchange their staff are rewarded.”

That same functionality can be used to create loyalty programs for specific venues – for example, if a bar or café on the ground floor or rooftop of an office building wants to offer specials to people within their building, they can pass out codes to every office worker.

The concept officially launches on Saturday, 1 September, but it has already caught the attention of Coca-Cola Amatil, who will be using the program to promote the launch of their new beer brand, Vonu, into the Australian market.

“Basically, we’ve done a deal with them whereby they’re using our platform to run a loyalty program for specific surf clubs around Australia,” Mitch says.

“We’ll bring 150 venues around the country on board who stock Vonu, we’ll give out 1,000 codes to the different people who surf at these clubs, and through that they’ll be able to buy Vonu at an exclusive price point.”

Keeping people inside venues, within the city, and, most importantly, off the couch is a noble aim, and as Bellr finds its footing in the Adelaide and national market, it will hopefully come to be known as the communication weapon of choice for bars, restaurants, cafés offering something worth shouting about.

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