An exclusive study by CGA, the world’s leading data, research and insight consultancy for the out of home leisure
market, commissioned in partnership with Reputation, the global leader in reputation experience management (RXM), has found that digital reputation plays a central role in the customer journey for out of home leisure activities such as eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and pubs.
The study included insights from 2,000 nationally representative consumers who visit a bar, restaurant, pub or hotel once every six months. It found that consumers rely on digital tools and online reputation before, during and after their visit. In the early stages of the consumer journey, a venue’s website, Google and Facebook are the most popular channels for discovery, booking and confirming COVID-19 safety measures. At the same time, social media platforms, along with ratings and review sites like TripAdvisor, are more commonly used during and after the visit.
The study dives into what consumers want in a brand’s online presence, revealing the 10 most important pieces of information for consumers in the digital journey, which include:
- Price Range
- Opening Hours
- How to make a booking
- Discounts and promotions
- Checking if a venue is currently open
- COVID-19 safety measures
- Images and videos of food and drink served
“Digital channels kept consumers and businesses connected over the past 18 months. Now, as businesses reopen their doors and consumers engage in more leisure activities, we are seeing that those same platforms are providing a wealth of information that enhances the customer experience,” says Anthony Gaskell, Reputation’s EMEA Managing Director.
“The hospitality industry is competitive. Brands can set themselves apart by ensuring that their website, Google listings, rating sites and social media profiles are accurate and engaging. Tools like Reputation can help manage all of this information efficiently so that hospitality leaders can focus on providing a great experience.”
The study also looked at the role reviews played in the customer journey, finding that nearly half of all consumers search for reviews (48%) on TripAdvisor, which beats Google (34%) and a venue’s website (27%). However, brands focused on younger consumers should focus on Google as TripAdvisor is more popular for consumers aged 55 or older.
Businesses focused on young adults should know that reviews are a core component of the eating and drinking out experience, with more than one-third (38%) leaving a review most times they eat. Still, their feedback is scattered across channels, with a more significant focus on social media platforms. In fact, more than half of 18-to- 34-year-olds say they are much more likely to visit a venue if they see someone they know post about it on social media, and two thirds (67%) are more likely to go if food or drink images look good on those platforms.
Andy Dean, CGA client director, adds: “The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the use of technology in hospitality, and consumers and businesses alike have become much more confident in using it to engage with one another. For all brands, understanding exactly how, where and when guests want to connect, and responding quickly and constructively to all the feedback they receive, are going to be crucial elements of reputation and marketing strategies in 2022 and beyond.”
To build and enhance digital reputation in the hospitality industry, hospitality industry leaders must deploy a strategy of specific tactics across a variety of touchpoints, including:
- Review requesting
- Responding to reviews
- Social media management
- Google My Business (GMB) management
- Acting on feedback