In the lead-up to holiday mayhem, it’s been yet another busy month in the world of self-service ordering, payment and loyalty. Here’s the round-up of some of the more noteworthy Hospitality stories:

Slick, smooth experience is key to airport loyalty
Travel retail sales are set to top $1000bn by 2023 so airports need to make use of this vital stream of non-aeronautical revenues according to Airport World. Good value for money for services such as parking and refreshments as well as a smooth experience throughout the airport are key to ensuring passengers are in the mindset to spend. Other initiatives include:
• Well-crafted loyalty programs and close cooperation with partners (e.g. tiered benefits and points collection both in-airport and off-site retailers)
• A better understanding of the passengers through intelligent data collection and analysis – their likes, dislikes, habits and preferences.
• Encourage passengers to share information about themselves. 50% of passengers would share information in return for free Wi-Fi or flight notifications and 35% would share information in return for road traffic information.

 

Fast Food Industry is highly regulated, capital intensive and at odds with innovation
Innovation in the fast food industry is slow but it is moving according to QSR Magazine. At the moment, focus is on mobile and automated ordering which provides valuable customer data and improves efficiency as well as saving money. Online channels and traditional advertising and in-store displays are also on the rise as consumers become more interested in the calorie count of their food and its provenance – the why and where their food has come from. Organisations must understand that innovation isn’t change for change’s sake but a focussed, transformational change aimed at delivering customer satisfaction and ultimately generational loyalty.

 

Engaging consumer at the point of sale and making the purchase experience easy and exciting listed as ways kiosks can improve the guest experience
According to Kiosk Marketplace, there are several ways self-service kiosks can improve the customer experience:
• Kiosks can display brand marketing campaigns when not being used for ordering
• By linking kiosks with back end systems, brands can develop a database for creating analytics to enhance operations and understand customer behaviour
• Facial recognition and speech software gathers more customer info and creates and more engaging experience

 

Eating out spending ‘robust’ but pressure rising on businesses to speed up service
Eating out spend in restaurants, pubs and cafes rose 3% in Q3 compared to Q2 but even though spending remains high, 37% of consumers value speed of service even more than menu choice (33%) and value (21%) according to Big Hospitality and research by Deloitte and Barclaycard. 60% of consumers get frustrated if they are forced to wait too long for an order with 15% are more likely to choose establishments with contactless payments, the choice to pre-order and pay via an app (15%) and pay via mobile device at the table (14%).

 

Cookie cutter coffee brands are not resonating with consumers but good chains are growing
UK consumers drink an incredible 2.2bn cups of coffee a year but there are suggestions of brand fatigue with consumer loyalty as fickle as ever in the wake of such market saturation according to Big Hospitality. With such competition, brands are looking to innovate to differentiate themselves:
• The New Black provides iPads with interactive ‘Tastewheels’ featuring notes to help guests better understand the different taste profiles.
• The Grind mixes coffee with style and food creating coffee shops that also moonlight as offices, nightclubs and exhibition space or private dining rooms.
Far from coffee fatigue, the apparently saturated market is arguably seeing coffee’s creative late-adolescent stage, breaking free of convention and graduating to new horizons.

 

Operators committed to establishing a connection with their guests are coming out ahead
Quick service restaurants are putting ‘enhancing the customer experience’ at the top of their priorities according to QSR Magazine. The foundation of this strategy is knowledge of the customer and segmentation so providing customer who order a plain black coffee prompt, efficient and courteous service whilst offering those who indulge in more expensive lattes an incentive based loyalty offer such as buy 3 lattes, get the 4th free. In-store, cross-brand and partner advertising tie-ins add another layer to the segmentation strategy with relevance key to its success. Mobile is a key data-provider where the customer’s mobile interaction can be targeted to specific preferences based on accumulated data and analysis.

 

5-year industry growth predicted, but also new competition
Chain restaurants have experienced steady growth attributing it to growth in per capita income, consumer confidence and spending as well as a decline in overall unemployment according to an IBIS report in Fast Casual. Growth to 2021 will be moderate due to competition and although consumers will increase restaurant spending as the economy improves, that may not be good news for the total sector as newly squeezed full service restaurant chains will increasingly push operations abroad to emerging economies for growth.