How the Industry Can Help Bring Back the Experiential Component of Hospitality
Restaurants and hotels are major players in the experience economy, which refers to the market wherein consumers don’t just want a simple product. They also want a memorable event to go with it. Fine dining restaurants don’t just offer food — they make sure each diner gets a sophisticated experience with a delicious meal. Just like luxury hotels don’t just offer room and board, but a place where their clients can indulge and let their hair down.
However, as the experience economy continues to progress, enterprises might find it more and more difficult to get ahead. This is especially the case given the current pandemic. Why go to a restaurant when it’s more convenient to order online? Why book a room at a hotel when it’s safer to stay home? Changing consumer mindsets have been a major disadvantage to the hospitality industry. To circumvent it, enterprises need only improve on one thing: customer experience. And this can be done by leveraging technological tools and the ever-growing digital space.
In this article, we’ll be talking about how the hospitality industry can bring back the experiential component of their service amid a pandemic.
Change The Way Customers Dine
To entice customers to dine in again, you’ll need to change the way they enjoy their meals. Just make sure you’re still following social distancing guidelines. In fact, you can use these restrictions to build a unique and entertaining experience for your customers. While some restaurants are opting for socially distanced dining, New York City’s FESTIVÁL offers a unique experience with their Festivál Cabanas — private booths that can accommodate no more than eight guests. They’re safe to dine in as they’re ventilated and disinfected after every use. Not to mention the booths are beautifully decorated. They also offer Zoom classes for mixing cocktails, which is a great way to impart a positive experience to customers that are at home.
And this is just one instance of providing a great customer experience while also adhering to COVID-19 restrictions. You can opt to implement QR code-driven menus so guests feel safer viewing menus on their personal devices. Another option is something as simple as fixing up your outdoor area to make it a more attractive space. Providing tables with shade or adding to the decor are simple yet effective ways of adding to customer experience. And if your establishment is river- or seaside, that’s all the more reason to open your outdoor area for dining. Don’t underestimate the power of visual aesthetics!
Optimize Customer Service For A Digital Platform
The pandemic has led to widespread uncertainty and uneasiness among the populace. This makes individuals more hesitant to accomplish daily tasks. To make up for this, businesses need to provide excellent customer service to put the customer at ease and entice them to come back for more. This means meeting a consumer’s emotional, safety, and security needs.
Simply providing an online platform where customers can have all their questions answered is a huge step in improving customer service. Communicate the systematic changes that have been implemented to ensure customer safety and satisfaction. You can even deploy AI chatbots in your online platform, so that your staff can attend to other operational matters. Showing your clients that you care about their health and are ready to answer their queries will contribute to the customer experience.
Utilize Customer Rewards Systems
Last but not least, incentivize experiences to keep customers coming back for more. Businesses are finding ways to do this through creative digital marketing strategies, with some even using augmented reality (AR) in their promotions. While sending customers digital vouchers via email is always a nice treat, interactive experiences are far more memorable. By making use of AR, customers can acquire virtual presents that they can “open” to get gift cards, personalized treats, and more. It’s a creative way to market your business!
The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a heavy blow to the hospitality industry. Social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home requirements prevented enterprises from maximizing the experiential component of their industry. However, by adapting customer experience to fit the conditions set by the current pandemic, the industry can once again provide its services to their patrons.
Uptown Network is here to provide a wide array of solutions to enhance customer experience. From contactless menus to personalized augmented reality gift cards. Get in touch with the team now to discuss your options.
Written by Allie Cooper specially for uptownnetwork.com