Preparing for the top hospitality trends of 2022
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. That’s how the saying goes.
With restrictions slowly easing globally, we’re finally making our way back into our beloved hospitality venues. But as we move through 2022, we know that customers expect more than ever from their hospitality experiences.
We understand that people teams, operations teams and learning and development (L&D) managers will be making decisions around how you continue to empower and develop your people. And Attensi’s here to help.
Here are some of the 2022 hospitality trends we think your teams ought to know.
Various online ordering apps and other digital solutions were quickly introduced to hospitality venues, including bars, restaurants, and hotels, as lockdown came into effect in 2020. Initially, these measures were introduced to adhere to Covid-19 rules while helping businesses maintain a revenue stream. Despite some tech glitches, it’s our view that these new technologies are here to stay.
It’s a sentiment shared by the likes of Caffe Nero, Leon, Tortilla, Five Guys, Greggs and many other leading operators during an MCA roundtable in March.
MCA hot topics:
– The future of digital ordering
– Scaling up kiosk adoption
Although many customers were purchasing food and drink via mobile apps for the first time during the pandemic, ordering this way wasn’t an entirely new concept. Back in 2017, popular pub chain Wetherspoons made headlines in the UK for “killing off the traditional pub” when they introduced their mobile ordering app. Customers could now order food and drink from the comfort of their table. The app proved a huge success and was soon rolled out to 900 pubs across the UK.
Customers praised the move from Wetherspoons. Positive feedback included:
– No longer having to queue for long periods at the bar
– No longer needing to decide whether to leave children at the table or drag them to the bar
– Customers with limited mobility weren’t required to navigate a busy pub
As a result of introducing mobile ordering, there’s also been a sociological impact. Research commissioned by flipdish.com revealed that 49% of single users are happy about the change as it removes awkwardness surrounding who’s paying the bill. The research also said that one in four 18-24 year olds like that they can more accurately monitor their spending, with mobile apps reducing the chance of customers getting tied into pricey rounds.
It seems that pandemic or no pandemic, hospitality venues should be prepared to provide training around these apps. L&D teams may want to think about including simulations, potential troubleshooting and niche customer service training around this topic.
And if your organisation hasn’t yet invested in mobile or digital experiences, maybe 2022 is the time to dive in?
Self-service kiosks are revolutionising on site customer behaviour. Kiosks offer a fast, frictionless experience, making it simple for customers to personalise orders at the touch of a button. Operators, such as Leon and Itsu, are committed to continuing this revolution as they pick up out-of-town and international growth.
However, digital kiosks haven’t just impacted customers. This new tech has also changed the role of servers, with staff transitioning from taking an order, scanning an item and ringing it through the till to hosting customers out on the floor.
Customers are making it known that they want these technologies to stay. But the balance between technology and human interaction is something organisations must start considering as the world of customer experience continues to evolve.
L&D teams must think about the ways they are going to train staff on these fundamental changes, particularly in the key areas of knowledge and behaviour change. Indeed, delivering these changes consistently and at scale can be a challenge. After all, knowledge retention requires high levels of engagement and behaviour change – this is where 3D simulations can take your training to a new level.
Furthermore, in a world where talent attraction and retention are the new battlegrounds, technology investment must match what is spent on customers. Investing in digital solutions now will help ready your organisation for the future.
A personalised service
Consumers now expect more from brands than ever before – and hospitality is no exception. Businesses have an opportunity to provide unique experiences for their guests in 2022.
For many hospitality organisations the first touchpoint with their customers is email marketing. It provides the opportunity to offer their guests that little something extra – from offers on their birthday and recommendations based on previous orders to loyalty schemes. Another touchpoint is social media. These channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, are also an excellent tool to personalise your customers’ early-stage experience with your brand. From here, you’ll have the ability to run competitions, communicate directly with your customers and hear constructive feedback on new products, menus or services.
However, marketing alone isn’t enough. In a post-Covid world, customers want to feel connected, immersed, and excited by their experience every time they enter a venue. An example of an organisation who pride themselves on their unique customer offering – from the food to the ordering system – is Marugame Udon. However, any operator we work with now faces the same reality – the customer experience that your staff deliver is paramount.
When you consider these early-stage touchpoints, there are many areas of training and tool adoption required. It’s why we believe that the upskilling of staff in core customer personalisation skills shouldn’t just sit with the marketing team or front of house staff but should be rolled out across the entire organisation.
Some key training areas which you may wish to consider include:
– Mission and values
– Technology and process adoption
– Why customer personalisation matters, and how individuals can contribute
In a world where talent attraction and retention is the new battleground, technology investment must match what is spent on customers. It is the only way to tackle this new exciting world.
Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword. It’s a concern for many, and it’s impacting where some consumers decide to take their business in the future.
Deloitte’s latest research around consumer attitudes towards sustainability showed that 61% of all UK consumers are trying to reduce their use of single-use plastic. In addition, 45% of consumers are trying to buy more locally produced goods, while 49% are buying more seasonal produce.
With these growing statistics in mind, hospitality operators should consider their sustainability policies in 2022. Operators must remember that empowering staff around sustainability is not just stating you are sustainable. You have to train them and show them that the whole company embodies the values. To do this, try setting achievable goals and initiatives that can be communicated by your team to your customers.
Venues will also need to take into account the large socio-economic barriers to people adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s a good idea to carry out some audience research before committing to your next steps.
Whether you decide to only source locally produced goods or eradicate plastic straws from the bar, one thing is certain: consumer attitudes towards sustainability are changing. Those that commit now will reap the benefits of an evolving customer mindset.
Virtual and augmented reality experiences
Hotels are now expected to implement a range of virtual and augmented reality functions. From guest facial recognition and gamified virtual reality to translation solutions, international travellers are expecting more from their stay than ever before. And they want to be able to access these additional features from the comfort of their smartphone.
Tourists can increasingly use augmented and virtual reality to learn more about their destination and gain more insights about the world around them – a great addition to any concierge offering!
Attensi is witnessing operators pushing the boundaries of customer-facing technologies. And now this approach must also be applied to developing your greatest asset – your people.
In conjunction with revolutionising how they interact with customers, hotel operators we work with are also revolutionising their labour model. Multi-skilled team members, who can operate across the restaurant, reception, spa and room service, can now dynamically progress through pay grades and take control over their shifts.
If the virtual world is where your guest experience is heading, this must also be the direction of your training too. Providing a safe to fail virtual environment for you to learn, make mistakes, and develop core customer-centric competencies is at the heart of our training.
The future of hospitality is finally looking brighter. Out of the pandemic, we now have a true mindset shift, where technology is at the heart of change. This will drive the acceleration of growth and connectivity with customers. But remember, the customer is only one side of the equation.
Technology must also be used to drive change with your people, empowering a new workforce who will lead the charge. After all, it’s your people who will drive and shape the potential of this great industry.
Attensi is here to support you in putting yourself at the cutting edge of hospitality and leisure training.
To find out more about Attensi’s gamified simulation solutions, speak to one of our expert team now.
Written by, Greg Hull, Global Head of Hospitality & Leisure, Attensi