1 Recommendations power visits
GO Technology research has highlighted the major influence that consumers have over other people’s visits to pubs, bars and restaurants. Three in five say they are either solely (39%) or sometimes (22%) influenced by others about whether and where to go out, and well over half (56%) get recommendations about venues from others. It shows that word of mouth will again be a powerful driver of footfall in 2024.
2 Friends matter more than reviews
Consumers seeking recommendations are more likely to turn to friends than review sites or other groups like parents, siblings or colleagues. Younger adults are particularly influenced by tips from their networks of friends.
3 Expectations are rising
The cost-of-living crisis has heightened people’s expectations of hospitality venues. More than half (52%) told GO Technology that they have higher expectations of the brands they are loyal to because of the crisis, and nearly as many (49%) would feel less loyal if they had a few bad experiences. With their spending under such pressure, people will soon go elsewhere if they aren’t satisfied.
4 Loyalty schemes matter—but the fundamentals matter more
The strain on spending has also focused people’s minds on rewards for their loyalty. Nearly half (47%) say they have joined more schemes to save money since the start of the cost-of-living crisis. However, fundamental aspects of hospitality, like value and service, are still much bigger influences. It’s clear that loyalty is earned rather than bought.
5 Tech take-up continues
Consumers and businesses embraced technology during COVID, and habits have endured well after lockdowns. GO Technology found that nearly three quarters (71%) of consumers now prefer to use tech, either exclusively or in tandem with human interaction, during their visits to hospitality. Digital tools now dominate pre-visit interactions like research and bookings. However, during visits most people still want the special interactions of hospitality. Well over half (55%) think a balance between technology and a human touch delivers the best experiences. It highlights the need for venues to provide choice in tasks like ordering, paying and tipping.
6 People’s needs vary widely
Throughout 2023, GO Technology has highlighted the very different needs of consumers. For example, younger adults tend to seek new experiences and digital solutions, while older ones over-index for value and reliability. Understanding these nuances and catering for all demographics will be crucial in 2024.
7 No-shows are still a big problem
Cancellations and missed bookings remain a huge issue. CGA and Zonal’s research shows the number of consumers not showing up for a reservation has doubled year-on-year to 12%, with mistakes, illness and changes of plan the most common reasons. The #ShowUpForHospitality campaign, led by Zonal, has helped to highlight the issue, which costs nearly £18bn a year in lost sales.
Read 2023’s GO Technology reports in full
Click here to read the ‘Consumers in Hospitality: 2023 Review’. The full series of 2023 GO Technology reports from CGA and Zonal are available for free.
Hotels and consumers Insights into trends, opportunities and challenges in the British hotel sector and how technology is changing the game
Identifying the Influencer: Reaching hospitality’s decision makers How to engage the consumers who impact other people’s decisions and how pubs, bars and restaurants can engage them
People vs Tech: What guests want Consumers’ latest attitudes to using technology within hospitality, and how venues can strike the right balance between digital solutions and personal interaction
The new loyalty landscape: How the cost-of-living crisis impacts hospitality Why loyalty matters, how it’s created and what consumers need to keep coming back
GO Technology is based on an exclusive survey of 5,000 nationally representative British consumers. To discuss the research and ways CGA by NIQ helps businesses drive loyalty, email client director Andy Dean at email@example.com.