With the pathway to the restart of the hospitality sector gearing up for the great reopen on the 17th May we are seeing our customers gearing up and getting their businesses ready to start welcoming back customers (harrah!!). However, the pandemic has and will change customer behaviour and expectations, and this article looks at some of the key areas that will potentially be different.
Demonstrating hygiene levels
Hygiene levels will become a critical decision-making factor when selecting a restaurant, as customers return to hospitality venues. Properties will need to be able to demonstrate their hygiene levels, and guest feedback in this area on platforms such as Trip Advisor will be an additional factor when selecting restaurants.
Time for a refresh
This could also be a good time to review your staff uniforms. Simplifying them or refreshing them could be a great way to relaunch your business. We’re seeing lots of customers reviewing their corporate image at the minute as they are getting ready for reopening.
Also do your training manuals and policies need updating to include all the new updated guidance?
Contactless and digital customer experience
As customers start to flood back to restaurants many will expect a friction free and contactless experience on arrival at hospitality properties. Being able to manage the entire customer engagement process, from the checking in process to food and beverage ordering via a customer’s mobile device will streamline processes and improve customer confidence.
In addition, it will remain a requirement to capture customer details for trace and trace purposes whilst also keeping to GDPR regulations too. Should a diner not have the NHS Trace and Trace application then the Guest Visit application created by Promotigo is a great way of still capturing customer details on arrival. Customers use a QR code open the application on their phone and enter their details. If NHS Track and Trace need details on diners for a particular day and time, it makes it much easier to create a list electronically, rather than going through reams of paper.
Environmental awareness and action
As the world emerges from the pandemic there will be a greater focus on the Environment. Hospitality venues will need to be able to present their environmental credentials and demonstrate how their business minimises the environmental impact of their operations.
A focus on sustainability will be demanded by the next generation of customers. Hospitality providers need to ensure that their supply chain and operational processes are reducing environmental impact and this impact can be demonstrated to prospective customers. Please call the McAra Team for more information on sustainable packaging products.
Recruitment and retention of staff
As can be seen, the COVID-19 Pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK labour market, with the hotel and hospitality industry one of the worst affected.
Prior to the pandemic, the regions with the greatest proportion of local employment in the hospitality industry could be found in the UK’s coastal regions, in particular the west of the country. According to the UK Government the age group between 16-24 saw the largest fall in employment between Quarter 3 2019 to Quarter 3, 2020.
It will be important that the hospitality industry, supported by the UK government, ensure that workers are not lost to the industry and are able to re-start careers lost or put on hold through the pandemic.
Making the amazing hospitality industry a sector when an individual can build a career will be critical to driving innovation and recovery for the sector. The government, combined with employers, industry societies and educational establishments should and must promote the industry and the career paths within it to attract the next generation of hospitality industry workers and owners.
New schemes like ‘Youth Employability Coaches’ will help some of the young people displaced by the pandemic back to work in roles within hospitality in order to support the recovery of the sector. In addition, funding for schemes to support technology innovation and entrepreneurship will drive innovation and new start-ups to further support the digitalisation of the hospitality industry.
As customers return to hospitality businesses around the UK, the post pandemic rebuilding of the industry provides great opportunities for businesses. This reset will enable business owners to evolve their offering to meet the future demands of consumers whilst protecting their businesses from future challenges.
Hospitality businesses have the opportunity to use this reset to evolve their businesses and embrace the digitisation of services that the majority of today’s consumers expect. Organisations who embrace and meet the needs of their customers post pandemic, will be able gain a competitive advantage and enjoy a faster recovery.
The great restart is just about to happen. We are excited and ready for whatever our client base needs. Some many opportunities are out there for us all to embrace and I and the McAra Team, are so excited and looking forward to seeing and speaking to everyone again. 😊