The last few months have been unlike anything experienced before for many of us. However, this point is even more true for the hospitality sector, which has borne the brunt of economic measures to this point.
Many restaurants, hotels, cafes, clubs and more would be forgiven for fearing the worse as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the country. With many businesses on the brink, hospitality must take advantage when or if an opportunity for growth is presented.
In this blog, we look at ways the hospitality sector can begin to prepare for the ‘new normal’, and how preparation now can increase the chances of recovery in the future.
The Impact of COVID on Hospitality
As with every sector, the hospitality industry has seen a significant decline in revenue due to coronavirus.
In the UK, despite fast growth between April and August, GDP remains 9.2% below February, the final full month before lockdown measures were introduced.
The hospitality sector contributed some of the most significant growths during August, thanks to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and demand for staycations. However, it didn’t make up for months of decline.
According to Whitbread, operators of UK-wide hotel and restaurant chains, hotel stays in August had been halved due to restrictions and subsequent changes to consumer behaviour. Diners also fell by around one-third.
There are also growing worries about the medium-term future of hospitality businesses as coronavirus continues to circulate and reemerge. In the UK, growth is expected to slow during winter, as coronavirus cases fluctuate and restrictions are amended as a result.
In many cases, hospitality businesses are the first to close when restrictions are introduced, causing more revenue shortfalls. Therefore, there is incredible pressure on companies to make the most of any trade opportunities.
Bringing Customers Back to Hospitality
- Care: 18% of UK customers have chosen a new business because of how it cares for the safety of its employees (McKinsey).
- Local: 52% of business leaders are expecting increased consumer support for local businesses (CGA).
- Sustainable: 33% of consumers say the sustainable sourcing of ingredients is more important to them now than it was pre-lockdown (CGA).
What hospitality customers want and expect has notably shifted in the wake of this ‘new normal’. As a result, it is not enough for hospitality businesses to open their doors and expect business as usual. Restaurants, hotels, cafes, clubs and so on must adapt their practices to satisfy these new demands.
Rethinking Hospitality Design for the Modern Consumer
The coronavirus pandemic forces hospitality businesses to rethink their processes and proposition. However, what’s just as important is how these changes are represented when it comes to the new in-store experience.
A complete rethink of hospitality design is not just something that can benefit businesses – it’s a necessity.
At the most basic level, layouts need to be reimagined in the wake of new restrictions and requirements. Social distancing must be workable for your location, both in terms of visitors and employees.
While it can be tempting to try and keep as high a capacity as is possible, customers and staff must feel safe and protected at all times. Otherwise, people will not want to enter.
The measures you have taken need to be clearly visible and explained to facilitate this return to trading. According to CGA, more than half of consumers want to know about the hygiene procedures a business has introduced when they are allowed to reopen.
Looking beyond safety, hospitality firms must reconsider their in-store experience in light of recent changes. At Industville, we understand just how much the interior of a hospitality business contributes to that in-store experience, which visitors want now more than ever.
Modern, post-COVID consumers expect the businesses they interact with to stand for something they believe in, whether that’s the local community, sustainability or something else. Showcasing those company values through your interior with features like commercial restaurant lighting is vitally important, especially when trying to entice consumers back to your location.
Here at Industville, we’ve worked with many hotels and restaurants over the years, providing bespoke lighting solutions which excite and amaze their consumers. Our industrial lights are a great way of showcasing your values to consumers in a way that feels genuine but also exudes that sense of class and luxury.
If you have a project or are looking to reimagine your hospitality space, why not get in touch and see how we could help? Alternatively, check out our projects to see our lights in action.