The hospitality industry is no stranger to turbulent times and global crises as one of the world’s oldest business models. When the COVID-19 tsunami hit, tourism and hospitality were among the first and hardest hit by turmoil. From consumers becoming savvier spenders to the decline in high-end services, a new form of operating has emerged in response to the environmental factors impacting this dynamic sector. In times of crisis and extreme uncertainty come windows of opportunity, here we break down the top take-homes to ensure long-term success.
As one of the largest and most influential industries on earth, innovation is at the heart of giving the 21st-century consumer what they want. People are seeking new experiences, they’re learning about brands via social media and recommendations rather than traditional marketing channels. Today’s consumer has an open mind, choosing funky, off-the-track offerings over the standard. A new era of luxury that leaves stuffy and outdated in the dust; an emphasis on design and gastronomy for the next generation of discerning clientele is at the heart of the post-COVID era. Being an industry that relies heavily upon human interaction, people crave personality, memorability and reimagined experiences.
Personalised experiences. While the hospitality sector has seen an increase in its dependency on technology it is still very human-centric. Remembering that while experiences are backed by technology, they should always be driven by people; the relationship between your business and guests should be a personal one. Tailored experiences for your customers is a way to enhance satisfaction, get positive reviews that build your reputation.
Local is the new sustainable. There is a growing sense of community and support for small business mindset with the desire to band together and help your community push through difficult times. People will also prefer locally sourced foods that represent the area of the restaurant or hotel they’re visiting.
Ambiance is king. Going out is more of a treat than ever before, consumers want to see more reimagined spaces with restaurants and bars needing to tailor their offerings to this new outlook. Such as food and beverage programming that’s focused on pre-dinner cocktails and light bites, acting as the launch-pad for hotel guests who’ll be dining out on the town, a concept that represents a more efficient operating model with lower overhead costs than a full-fledged hotel restaurant.
Bring on the elaborate drinks list. People still will treat themselves when they want to indulge more than ever before. Customers will be more likely to try a memorable concoction, opting for cocktails with premium spirits that incorporate more unusual or uncommon ingredients and wanderlust-inspired wine lists.
While innovation can often be viewed as a gamble, we’re in the midst of a great hospitality reset, so now is the best time to take risks and change how you operate with disruptive solutions that fit into this new environment. Preparation and flexibility are at the heart of a resilient business.