Figures from leading hospitality tech company, Zonal and industry data and insight firm, CGA reveal that the majority of consumers (80%) are interested in some form of personalisation when visiting pubs, bars and restaurants.
Zonal’s most recent GO Tech report in partnership with Airship shows that while financial incentives such as personalised discounts and deals are popular, there are other previously untapped opportunities for hospitality businesses to drive sales and repeat visits through personalisation. The research also highlights both a generation and a gender gap when it comes to what consumers want from personalisation and the data they are willing to share to get it.
Across all consumers, the top five most wanted forms of personalisation are:
- Discounts and deals – A third (33%) expect tailored discounts and deals as a matter of course, and nearly half (45%) think they would be nice to have
- Loyalty schemes – Well over a quarter (29%) are interested in a loyalty scheme with rewards that are personalised to their habits and preferences
- Updates – 29% of consumers expect to receive updates about things like the status and timing of their orders, and a further 46% would welcome them
- Recommendations – Around a fifth of consumers now expect to receive tailored recommendations (20%), or to be presented with personalised menus that incorporate their favourite dishes and drinks (19%). Another 44% and 43% of consumers respectively regard these as nice-to-have
- VIP perks – One in six (17%) consumers would like the ability to sit at a favourite table without having to ask, and some would appreciate celebratory details like balloons on a birthday (14%).
When it comes to the level of personalisation that consumers look for, age and gender are important factors to consider. In fact, only 9% of those aged 18 to 24 say they have no interest in personalised experiences which is a drastic change to people aged 65 or over where the number soars to 46%. There is also a clear gender divide – in general, women are more likely to engage with nearly every aspect of personalisation than men and are more inclined to share the data that makes it possible for venues to action these personalised experiences. The data shows women over-indexing on discounts, promotions, loyalty schemes, food and drink recommendations and celebrations of special occasions.
Understanding the pieces of data that different consumer groups are willing and unwilling to share is crucial for operators looking to tap into the opportunity of personalisation. For example, the research suggests that nearly half of people (47%) are prepared to tell venues about their favourite drinks, and many will supply generic information like birthday (42%) and gender (39%). However, there is more reluctance about sharing more personal information home addresses (11%) and parental status (11%).
Commenting on the findings, Alison Vasey, Group Product Director, Zonal, said: “At its very heart, hospitality is about providing a personal and bespoke experience for every individual consumer. Traditionally this has been done face-to-face and in-venue, but now technology can help venues offer a personalised touch at every stage of the customer journey.
“From offering customers discounts on their favourite drink to delighting them with personal touches in venue such as balloons on their birthday, there are numerous ways for businesses to further enhance the great customer experiences the industry is always striving to deliver.
“There is perhaps a lack of awareness currently around what a personalised experience could look like and a wariness around sharing data. However, our research shows that through clear communication and by offering the right incentives, venues can overcome this and create bespoke experiences that drive sales and encourage loyal and engaged consumers.”
Karl Chessell, CGA Director – Hospitality Operators and Food, EMEA, adds: “As we emerge from COVID-19, it’s clear that consumer behaviour has changed in some fundamental ways. As they establish new habits in restaurants, pubs and bars, people expect their brands to treat them as individuals rather than numbers. It means that personalisation is increasingly not just a nice surprise—it’s an expected part of a hospitality visit.
“Value is going to be important to the post-COVID-19 consumer, especially at a time when disposable income is squeezed. But as our GO Technology research makes plain, good personalisation goes beyond money: it’s about the creation of memorable experiences that show people they are valued. It will be a powerful driver of loyalty and recommendation in 2022 and beyond, and the brands that can deliver it best will have a huge head start on the competition.”
Dan Brookman, CEO, Airship & Toggle, commented: “Now is the time more than ever to get to know your customer. Personalisation, context of purchase and customer lifetime value are key drivers not only for marketing, but for overall growth. Taking ALL your customers on a journey that represents your brand, that interacts across all the physical and digital touchpoints will deliver engagement. Be clear in your message, concise in your value exchange and keep it simple for your teams!”
Download the latest GO Technology report here.