Posts tagged Technology
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“The key is to understand and contextualise your data, using it to make informed decisions.”

Big data, data science or data mining. Whatever you call it, one thing is clear, data has become an increasingly valuable asset for hospitality businesses to capitalise on. And in creative ways too.  

BUT the key is to understand and contextualise your data, using it to make informed decisions.    

To move the conversation on and create this insight, we teamed up with data analytics provider Zizo to host a hospitality industry roundtable, ‘Big Data: The Gamechanger’ at The Foodservice Show 2019.

Matt Napleton, sales and marketing director, Zizo on the event: “It’s clear that despite some initial reticence about data and its value to the hospitality business, the volume and variety of data created by the industry means there is clear value to be had.

 “The roundtable brought together a wide spectrum of organisations from the industry, with data creators engaging with data consumers to understand how we can pull data together to create new opportunities. As we have seen in other sectors (such as retail, logistics and  finance in particular) the ability to pull together diverse data sets into something that delivers value will be key for future growth, of both wallet share and consumer voice. Even if you feel you are not ready to use data yet – you would be best to start thinking about new ways to use it – before somebody else does!”

Industry experts within the hotel, drinks, foodservice, purchasing, food waste and software development sectors joined us to debate some of the challenges associated with retrieving, understanding and acting upon data. 

Anita Murray, William Murray CEO, said: “Over the last few years, data science or ‘big data’, has become widely valued and utilised in the technology, finance and retail industries. However, in the hospitality sector, I think we’ve only scratched the surface in knowing exactly what gathering and understanding our data can do for our businesses. By gaining valuable insight, hospitality businesses of any size are better equipped to make informed decisions, using data to improve efficiency, build customer loyalty, predict behaviours and increase profits.”

Drawing upon these discussions, this report considers the most valuable types of data and whether the hospitality industry is ready to evolve with it. 

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The expectations of the modern consumer

“It is getting Harder and harder to please the modern consumer. With fast, Cheap and reliable a standard commodity how do you stand out?”

We attended Caffe Culture and The Independent Hotel this week and both were packed with insight. At Caffe Culture we had the excitement of the SCA UK Latte Art Championships and more coffee than we knew what to do with, I haven’t slept since!

At these recent shows some themes have been constant, such as sustainability, the rise of veganism and the nod to the healthy life. However, with these two shows the demand of the modern consumer and the call for an experience stood out.

The rise of the experience

The focus on experience is a game changer. Restaurants and hotels can’t just supply their primary function of great food or an amazing room, they have to have an edge. This is due to the rise of demand from the consumer. They want more bang for their buck.

Specifically looking at hotels, the development of Airbnb hasn’t helped their case. A hotel has become more of a luxury commodity than ever before. The Airbnb model is amazing – it allows the guest to have an experience around the primary function of a warm bed to sleep in. It means you can stay in a homely property and gives you an opportunity to meet the owners and share life stories. It gives you something extra.

I’m not on commission I promise, other booking websites are available!

Using tech to manage the consumer’s expectations

There is definitely a balance that needs to be found. Looking at engagement, tech is a great way to optimise this.

1 in 10 diners post their meals to social media. Using this information and engaging people over social media by tagging and acknowledging their visit makes them feel special and valued. It is important not to over step the line. Guests are happy for relevant engagement, but if it’s irrelevant it becomes annoying and leaves a bad taste.

Using technology you can build a profile of a guest so when they return you know more about them. You’ll know it they are allergic to nuts or prefer to be sat in the window. Acting on this information creates a unique experience and again makes the guest feel valued. This allows every guest to be treated as a regular, which is what they all want.

The stigma around the use of technology

There is still a stigma attached to the use of technology. 33% are still uncomfortable with privacy invasion regarding data collection. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal has acknowledged that whilst tech is important to the unique experience, they have kept it firmly in the background. Stuck to pencil and paper chits rather than tablets for front of house staff, all EPOS systems are hidden away and they only interact once a guest has interacted with them to allow them to feel comfortable.

So it seems technology may be the way to tackle the modern consumer and boost the all-important experience. Just use it appropriately.