By Demi Edmunds of TextAnywhere (www.textanywhere.com)
The economic impact of the coronavirus is undeniable.That said, during this continually uncertain time, businesses and organisations have responded to the pandemic in increasingly innovative ways, many of which have moved their business online.While this is also true of the hospitality industry with online ordering, and food and drink delivery services quickly becoming the norm, there is no substitute for in-person service.The hospitality industry is famed for its ability to provide customers an experience through it’s expertly delivered personal service, and of course high levels of revenue.
Prior to reopening, one of the key concerns within the industry was how to successfully implement and adhere to government guidelines, to ensure staff and customer safety. More recently however, many hospitality businesses are turning their attention to how to bridge the revenue gap during recovery. Afterall, capacity restrictions and specific role requirements for staff members, have had a significant impact on revenue.
In much the same way as technology helped the industry to reopen safely, it can also help businesses to enhance their recovery and better prepare for the future. Detailed below, are just three of the ways businesses can harness the power of technology during this difficult time.
Many hospitality businesses have introduced or enhanced existing technologies to enable reduced contact between staff and customers, and apps are just one example. In fact, the same technology which your business has introduced to enable online check-in, manage restaurant table waiting lists and allow customers to order and pay on their mobile, can also be used to fast-track personalisation. Data such as purchase history and location can enable your business to provide relevant, personalised marketing offers to help drive customer loyalty.And with 73% of restaurant goers reporting that technology improves their dining experience, it’s fair to say that this type of technology is already well-received by consumers.
We’re sure many of you are familiar with Tom Kerridge’s recent Instagram post, where he warned no-show customers, that their behaviour was putting people’s jobs in an increasingly unstable position and
forcing very uncomfortable and hard decisions about staffing levels. Although this can be a large problem within the industry, there are relatively simple technologies which can help. For instance, an SMS reminder benefits from an open rate of 95% and allows you to include any last- minute information, such as enhanced safety measures or limitations to the menu. Likewise, the reminder can also help manage cancellations in advance, allowing the restaurant to offer the reservation to their waiting list. Alternatively, there are also systems such as ToK, which require customers to pay for their meals upfront.While this may not be appropriate for every business, some restaurants experienced a 14.7% reduction in no-shows within just 3 months of implementation.
BUILD BUSINESS AGILITY
As the pandemic was unprecedented, many businesses did not have relevant business continuity or crisis communication plans in place to efficiently respond to the crisis. As such, this has been a learning curve for many. Businesses have had to diversify their offering to survive, or have had to scramble to communicate updates to customers and staff. Consequently, it makes sense to use these learnings to build better business agility. By implementing the appropriate technology for crisis communications, or in the case of hoteliers, an OPEX, which allows hotels to reduce or transfer the number of licenses required, businesses can respond not just quicker, but better.
Despite significant disruption, the hospitality industry must continue to evolve. Businesses should always evaluate both existing and potential technology additions, on whether it will enable them to achieve their business goals. Although this process may seem daunting, technology will be essential to the long-term success of the hospitality industry post- Covid19.