The study of 2,000 nationally representative consumers who visit a bar, restaurant, pub or hotels once every six months 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, it found.
“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,” says Andy Dean, CGA client director.
“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.”
The study, which was commissioned in partnership with experience management company Reputation, 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.
It also found that the 10 most important pieces of information for consumers in the digital journey were menus, price range, opening hours, location/directions; how to make a booking, reviews, discounts and promotions, checking if a venue is currently open, Covid-19 safety measures; and 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.”