The consumer appetite for convenience
The role of the marketer in the hospitality sector is renowned for its variety. The influence of the hospitality marketer reaches beyond the brand and has an impact on all areas of the business – from menu design and development to operations.
It’s a role that’s constantly evolving as consumer habits and behaviours change at pace and the sector competes for attention and loyalty in a crowded market place. The way in which we, as consumers, want to enjoy the food and experience from our favourite high-street eatery is also evolving.
Convenience is key and the growth in food delivery and click and collect is proof of that. Zonal’s GO Technology report, developed in conjunction with CGA, tracks the technology habits of 5,000 UK adults and revealed more than one-quarter (28%) of British consumers are ordering more food deliveries from high-street restaurants than they did a year ago. With more than two-fifths (44%) using online channels to order, this presents an opportunity for marketers to identify and utilise the consumer data to drive sales and build brand loyalty.
This step-change in behaviour has become possible because technology is changing the way we conduct our lives. The traditional way of doing things has gone out the window – we expect to get what we want, when we want it. As such, marketers are influencing the way in which restaurant brands deliver their experience to stay relevant and popular to demanding consumers, as for many loyalty is being replaced with convenience.
When it comes to click and collect, for example, more than one-third (35%) consider it a convenient way to pick up a meal when there’s no time to prepare food and by two-fifths (40%) as an alternative to a traditional takeaway when travelling home from work or a day’s shopping. It seems busy parents are also fond of click and collect, with more than half (56%) using the service.
Understanding these behaviours and customer profile is potential gold dust for marketers, as click and collect consumers are more loyal to the brands they like (48%) than the all-consumer average (36%). In other words, repeat visits can be won if a customer’s experience is good. With an average of 9.7 brands in their repertoire, click and collect users have plenty of other places to go if their experience isn’t positive.
That’s where marketing meets operations. The basics in terms of experience need to be nailed, especially when the orders are flooding in, such as getting orders correct and having them ready on time – the top two frustrations of click and collect users.
However, for those brands that do get it right the rewards on offer are potentially huge, with almost two-fifths (39%) of consumers saying they would order more food for delivery if improvements were made to the speed of service and quality of food delivered. More than two-fifths (43%) would like to see faster delivery, which puts it at the top of their wish list for improvements, followed by better food temperature (36%) and price (34%).
From an investment perspective the figures are encouraging as click and collect customers share a 90% demographic alignment with delivery consumers (source: Zonal’s GO Technology) but the margins are more favourable.
There’s no doubt the consumer love affair with technology will continue and play an increasingly important part in hospitality. As operators and consumers alike switch to digital to book, order and pay for food and drink, the opportunity presented by integrated technology and the data footprint it leaves is giving brand marketers more customer data and insight than ever.
Recognising consumer hunger for convenience and tapping into this insight will shape the sophisticated data-driven marketing tactics deployed by brands, which will be key to business success.
Zonal is a UK-based, family-owned, connected technology provider offering solutions to a diverse range of more than 16,000 businesses in the hospitality sector. With more than 50 partners and third-party partner applications, Zonal offers seamless integrations that help its customers streamline operations, maximise profits and enhance the guest experience.