Like many industries, the pandemic has changed the hospitality industry in ways we never imagined. We’ve seen changing traffic flows due to more at-home workers, shifting consumer demands after a period of great upheaval in lockdown, and talent shortages coupled with a push from workers for better conditions.
And it seems many of these changes are here to stay.
As we look to the next phase of business growth and recovery, we need to refocus our strategy to accommodate these changing habits and preferences. Here are three trends we’re seeing in the hospitality industry that could help kick-start your recovery in 2022.
Trend 1: A rethink of standard operating hours
For an industry that has traditionally relied on stable business hours, the last 18 months has forced hospitality businesses to be more agile than ever. We’ve had to cope with snap shutdowns, staffing shortages, and reduced customer capacity.
But it’s also given us an opportunity to step back and take a hard look at the status-quo. Are we working smarter, or just harder?
Many businesses are realising that they don't need to be open seven days a week from 7am till 7pm. Some are opening fewer days, or only opening nights, and still making the same profits.
By being smarter about when they operate, they’re able to boost their bottom line by minimising operating costs and maximising sales.
To figure out when it makes most sense for your business to be open, you need a reliable dataset to work with. By mapping out peak demand periods, sales trends, and staffing costs, you might discover you can operate on a shorter working week for the same revenue costing.
Using a demand forecasting tool can give you the insights you need to make an informed decision and help pave the way for some smart changes in your business.
Trend 2: The rise of the dual-purpose hospitality space
Even as we emerge from lockdown, there’s still a significant number of people working from home or in hybrid models. But staring at the same four walls of a home office can get dull and many people are looking for a change in scenery (or a break from their needy pets climbing on keyboards).
Enter: the dual-purpose hospitality space.
There’s a growing trend of hospitality venues marketing themselves as part-time co-working spaces. This is a smart way to bring in extra revenue, especially during slow periods. It’s also giving businesses access to a new breed of corporate clientele.
The beauty of this pivot is that it comes without much extra cost. Many restaurants and cafes already have the amenities needed to run successful co-working spaces such as wifi, power outlets, and of course coffee to fuel those busy workers.
For businesses looking to get involved, sites like Third Space make it easy to list your venue. You can choose whether to offer free or paid bookings, or set a minimum spend amount. Customers can then search for co-working spaces based on their location and needs.
Trend 3: Diversified offerings open up new revenue streams
Even though the pandemic threw some big challenges at the hospitality industry, it also sparked some incredible innovations beyond just offering takeaway. Cook from home kits, picnic baskets, DIY cocktails, and snacks and booze packs, there were so many clever ways to reach hungry, stuck-at-home customers.
Now, many businesses have found these are a smart way to boost revenue in the long-term.
Although past customer behaviour is a good starting point, it’s important to work with your customers to figure out what they want going forward. Run focus groups, send out online surveys, poll your social media followers, or ask your staff to ask customers during their next interaction.
It’s also a good idea to look closely at your numbers to calculate demand and profitability of these offerings.
Embrace new ways of working to accelerate recovery
Despite the challenges the pandemic has brought, there have been some positives to come out of it. It’s forced many businesses to rethink how they work, when they open, and what they offer. And it seems some of the changes we’ve made have been welcomed by our customers with open arms (and wallets).
As we navigate the road to recovery, it’s time to embrace these changes and continue to build flexibility into our business models. By understanding your customers’ preferences, and digging deep into your numbers, you can start to understand where your business needs to go to accelerate your financial recovery.
The road to recovery starts with a clear understanding of where you are now. Download a free trial of Deputy to get started.