The report highlights the impact of soaring costs on consumers’ visits to hospitality, with three in ten (30%) visiting venues less often than they did in 2021. But the good news is that few people want to sacrifice their visits to pubs, bars and restaurants. Nearly three quarters (71%) agree eating and drinking out is the treat they most look forward to. “People still want to go out to eat and drink… It’s seen as an affordable treat in tough times,” said CGA’s Karl Chessell at the webinar.
Persuading consumers to try venues and then stay loyal to them isn’t easy, but the webinar provided vital clues for building positive reputation before, during and after their visits. Here are six.
1 Understand and exceed expectations
When times are tough, consumers expect top value for their hard-earned money. CGA and Reputation’s research found that a quarter (23%) of all consumers are demanding more from venues than they were 12 months ago. “Consumers’ expectations have grown… they don’t want to compromise on quality,” said CGA’s Karl Chessell. This makes it more important than ever to listen to consumers and deliver consistently high quality experiences.
2 Make Google your new front door
What do consumers look for when they choose where to eat and drink? The research shows that practicalities like menus (46%), opening hours (40%) and prices (39%) are the most sought after information. Reviews (28%) are important too. For all these things, it’s to Google that people most often turn. “Google is your new front door… it’s where most experiences are starting,” said Reputation’s Tracey Pankhurst at the webinar.
3 Encourage Social Media Recommendations
Images are increasingly important in brand reputation—for younger consumers in particular. A quarter (24%) of 18 to 34 year-olds now share photos or videos of their food or drink while in a venue, and so making sure that the food is well presented or unique is important for those online recommendations. “There’s an opportunity to boost awareness with social channels,” said Karl Chessell. Social media platforms are very powerful, because nearly half (47%) of consumers say they are more likely to visit a venue if someone they know posts about it on social media.
4 Act on all reviews…
CGA and Reputation’s survey of consumers found that a third (34%) typically recommend a venue to others after a visit. Google is the top platform for doing so, followed by TripAdvisor and Facebook, and people are much more likely to leave reviews after exceptional visits—whether positive or poor. For operators, it’s vital to keep a close eye on reviews and act on them promptly—especially because Google’s algorithms favour businesses that respond. “Review engagement is a key influencer in decision making,” said Tracey Pankhurst.
5 … Especially negative ones
Constructive responses to negative reviews are particularly important. No one likes getting criticism, but there’s an opportunity to convert disgruntled consumers into brand advocates, and to learn from feedback. But don’t just copy and paste responses. “Be authentic and genuine in your response,” suggested Tracey Pankhurst.
6 Measure your reputation
With so much data out there, it can be hard to gauge how consumers feel about a brand. Reputation Score can help, by distilling brand performance into a singular metric that shows the likelihood of being found and chosen online. Taking steps to improve that score will lead to higher sales and satisfaction.
The Reputation Report shows that there are opportunities for operators to encourage interest in their venue, Pre, During and Post visit. Using this information and applying it to your online strategy could have an incredibly positive effect on your venue.
Click here to watch the Optimising Brand Reputation in Hospitality webinar in full, and click here to download the report.
To learn more about CGA’s research and expert analysis to help hospitality businesses understand consumers’ changing habits and priorities, email Karl Chessell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Reputation’s capabilities for optimising consumers’ journeys and brand engagement, click here. For a one-to-one discussion about CX strategy, email Tracey Pankhurst at email@example.com.