5 Lessons For Hospitality Industry From HOSPACE 2014
As always, HOSPACE was a fantastic event this year and a couple of members of Team DAM had the chance to join in with the action at the Sofitel. One of them was our Managing Director Russell Davidson, who shares his five lessons that the hospitality industry can take forward into 2015.
Firstly, I’d like to say a massive thanks to all of the folks at HOSPA who put so much effort into organising yet another great HOSPACE event for last month. I and another colleague had the chance to attend and we certainly learned a lot about what lies in store for the hospitality industry in the near future.
So I’ll be sharing a summary of my five main HOSPACE observations here in this blog post.
1. Brand loyalty is declining
One of the key points to come up at the conference was a discussion of the fact that consumers are becoming less and less brand loyal.
Previously, hotels and restaurants enjoyed consistent sales because consumers were keen to remain loyal to their favourite brand. Now, however, the “promiscuous customer”, as discussed by Peach’s Peter Martin, prefers to have a variety of brands that they like and are much less likely to stick with the same one time after time. He noted that young and affluent consumers can potentially have a selection of 15 hotel and restaurant brands that they rotate between.
2. Technology, technology, technology!
One discussion that it was impossible to ignore at HOSPACE 2014 was that of technology. It was obvious to me on leaving just how important technology has become in hospitality and how important its role is in the near future for the industry.
On one hand, technology can be used to help hospitality chains manage their revenue, their admin and their people – including for helping make staff employee benefits even easier to use.
As well as that though, there was plenty of discussion on how technology can help customers and enhance their experience. Whether through apps which make it easier to order, check in, change a booking or whatever else, technology is going to be vital for hospitality as consumers increasingly demand the latest tech in every aspect of their lives. And that includes the area of social media, one which many brands in the industry have yet to fully embrace and which they can avoid for much longer at their own peril.
3. There has been a recovery, but it’s not over yet
The speakers who I heard were all very much of the opinion that the UK hotel sector has recovered from the slump felt during the recent recession. However, they made it clear that the industry is not completely out of trouble just yet.
Uncertainty with the upcoming general election as well as with the state of the Euro economy could trigger another slump at any moment, so now is not the time for complacency.
4. Data can be just as important as tech
There was certainly no shortage of discussion on data as well, with the word popping up time and time again. Data was shown to be vital for helping chains to avoid stagnating and was able to help them evolve to what their customers want and demand. Nandos was used as an example and attendees were shown just how important data has been for the restaurant chain and why it must be important for their brands as well.
Although major brands are the ones which can benefit most from using data properly, small independents were also mentioned in the discussion and data can be hugely beneficial for helping them to shape their customer experience as well.
5. Those in hospitality love a coffee!
And finally, one other thing I learned from HOSPACE was that the hospitality industry loves their coffee!
A massive 1028 cups of coffee were drunk by the 20th November event’s 410 attendees. It’s safe to say that the attendees were alert for the many talks taking place!