Hospitality industry warms to digital marketing as technology drives business confidence

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Business

Two-thirds of hospitality industry leaders said technology is likely to add the greatest value to their marketing and promotional activity this year
Two-thirds of hospitality industry leaders said technology is likely to add the greatest value to their marketing and promotional activity this year
‘Technology is driving everything’, according to a recent report based on a survey of company bosses across the eating and drinking out sector, which discovered that two-thirds of businesses will be heavily investing in digital marketing this year.

Over 120 senior executives from the likes of Whitbread, Jamie Oliver Restaurants and Geronimo Inns were surveyed about their key priorities and underlying concerns by business intelligence specialist Peach Report. 

Sixty-six per cent of those industry leaders said technology is likely to add the greatest value to operators’ marketing and promotional activity, with more than half thinking it will reap benefits via online reservations and ordering (55 per cent) or staff training, recruitment and communication (54 per cent).

Hi-tech payment solutions, most notably contactless, are cited by only a third (34 per cent), so may be a less imminent opportunity. But this area gets more votes from businesses within the M25, perhaps with a view to the boost to awareness and adoption that is likely to follow the launch of contactless Tube payments this year in London.

Hospitality technology

Our recent Special Feature explored how the likes of mobile devices can improve the customer experience

This news comes in the week following our series of articles on technology,​which highlighted how the right tech can help improve the experience for your customers before,during​and after​they visit you.

The report has also been supported by the Bristol-based, full-service digital agency Wired Media, which has recently seen a huge uptake in the number of hotels requesting digital marketing services.

“We’ve noticed an increase in interest in digital marketing and what this offers the leisure industry, with a particular look at data attribution,” said Wired Media’s founder Tom Beasley.

“The leisure industry is becoming more aware that traditional methods of marketing and PR are just not feasible in this day and age, and are looking for other options.”

Leaders optimistic

“Customers are much more tech-savvy and will search online for the best deals or the best hotels to suit their needs. Our clients are up there when it comes to a great website and a strong online profile, as we work with them to ensure their targets are met.”

Despite the country being tipped for a triple-dip recession, Peach's annual Business Leaders' Survey reveals that most leaders are looking forward to 2013 in a resilient mood and with judicious optimism.

The proportion of bosses who say the performance of their business in the year just gone was on target or ahead of expectations has edged up in successive years; from 70 per cent in 2011 to 75 per cent in 2012, to 80 per cent this time around. Roughly the same proportion is either ‘fairly’ (63 per cent) or ‘very’ (15 per cent) optimistic about prospects for the year ahead, again, a more positive picture than this time last year.

Perhaps the biggest sign of market confidence for 2013 can be found in leaders’ expansion plans. More than 90 per cent intend to open new sites this year, with one in four targeting 10 or more locations. These are similar levels to those measured in 2012, proving that the bulk of operators look to continuing growing their estates, despite the sluggish economy.

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