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Honda Store Finds Recipe for Success – Cookbooks Help Stir Up Service Traffic
For Howdy Honda's customers, creativity in the kitchen can lead to discounts in the service drive.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS, by Hannah Lutz, July 4, 2016 – Five years ago, the Austin, Texas, dealership began using social media to gather customers' favorite holiday recipes while boosting service traffic.

Howdy Honda uses a tool through Performance Loyalty Group's LoyaltyTrac program to engage customers on social media. The dealership has 63,251 LoyaltyTrac club members and adds 400 to 450 members each month. The dealership retailed 4,470 new and used vehicles in 2015.

LoyaltyTrac integrates into the store's dealership management system to increase customer retention by giving customers loyalty rewards based on their engagement and awarding them with discounts or coupons as they build up points for having their vehicles serviced at the dealership.

Howdy Honda offered 10,000 bonus service rewards points to customers who posted holiday cookie recipes on its Facebook page during the last two weeks of November 2011.

The dealership put all the recipes together and offered them to customers in a free e-book.

Since then, Howdy Honda has published cookbooks every year. In 2014, service advisers handed out holiday cookbooks printed by Performance Loyalty Group in the service lane.

Last year, the dealership changed course, putting together a summer picnic grilling cookbook. Customers could purchase it for $2, with proceeds going to a local food bank.

But submissions slipped, so Tina Fajardo, the dealership's marketing coordinator, said she plans to launch another holiday cookie campaign, with a printed and digital cookbook, in November.

"We're always trying to find different ways to connect to the community," Fajardo said. "In Texas, homestyle cooking is a big deal. [We thought] how much fun would it be to gather those [recipes] and bring the community a little bit closer while advertising Howdy Honda?"

Recipe for Success
Howdy Honda received a growing number of customer holiday recipes from 2011 to 2014. Last year, it received 88 for a summer cookbook. This November, the dealership plans to publish another holiday cookie cookbook.
Holiday Cookie Cookbooks Recipe Submissions
Summer Picnic Grilling Cookbook Recipe Submissions

In 2014, customers who submitted a recipe received four service coupons and a discount. One thousand customers voted for their favorite of the 122 recipes submitted, and the winner received a $250 Howdy Honda branded gift card.

Customers and staff have been enthusiastic about the program, and Fajardo says it brings customers of different generations together.

"When you think of people that are sharing these recipes, it's an older crowd," she said. "But then, you have a younger crowd that's interested in these recipes because maybe they're starting their own family and are looking for ideas."

Service managers and advisers appreciate the cookbooks not only as a way to increase traffic but to connect with customers in the service lane.

Customers, Fajardo says, feel more appreciated when they get something. This gesture of appreciation satisfies not only their wallets, but their appetites, too. She adds: "Anytime we can offer something complimentary to our guest, we jump on that."

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