The Hospitality Trends that we predict for 2024 according to the Data
The white paper, published by Restaurant Online, produces and analyses vital statistics. The stats are derived from 1.8 million online reviews across 16,000 UK businesses.
We’ve looked at these findings and picked out facts which we believe indicate where the hospitality is moving in the wake of 2024.
Here are five key trends we believe hospitality business operators will focus upon in 2024:
Star ratings have improved and will continue to improve
The data showed that the mean star rating for hospitality businesses across the UK increased from 4.0/5 to 4.1/5.
This indicated either that operators are putting effort into improving experience standards, or customers are becoming more accepting and lenient, more grateful for their experience.
It will be important to determine what is driving positive sentiment, in order for businesses to understand where they can improve, or what past improvements have come-to-fruition.
Asking for Reviews
Try to impact the ‘Happy but silent’ majority. It’s important to not just hear from the negative nellies, but also form those who are happy, but are not normally inclined to leave a review.
The white paper sourced data from Tortilla. The Mexican Fast-food restaurant made the decision to integrate their online platform with Reputation, a business who streamline the collection of customer data. By improving marketing and functionality, they managed to access their ‘silent majority’. They successfully increased their review volume by 262%, which resulted in a jump from 4.3/5 in 2020 to 4.7/5 in 2021.
Pursuing the silent but happy majority can revolutionise a hospitality business’s external outlook. We expect investment into this area will be a trend of 2024.
The greatest effect on positive customer reviews is Service
The data from reviews showed that the most common words all related to engagement and customer service. Terms relating to Server and Wait Staff stood out as substantially positive, whilst Bar Staff were mostly negative, so there is a distinct separation that these positive reviews are related to service.
We can infer from the data that the service quality provided by wait staff plays a vital role in shaping customer sentiment. We expect that the overall engagement level with customers will see a tangible improvement and trend next year.
The greatest effect on negative customer reviews was Food Quality
With all the reviews analysed, the lowest category sentiment was all food related, including potatoes, chip, food, and cold. Other menu items also filled the list for top negative keywords.
This indicated that food quality is high up on the list of what affects a customer’s experience. Delving into guest reviews will help identify problem areas with food, such as temperature, specific food items, seasoning or portion sizes. Many hospitality businesses are already monitoring guest sentiment and will adjust their menus accordingly, a trend we see being adopted more and more in 2024.
Positive brand action leads to more sales
The data shows a clear correlation between reputation score and sales growth. Single operators also reported that an increase to their reputation over the year resulted in a clear improvement of overall sales.
Hospitality business have looked at ways to improve their image. There are specific actions shared across businesses which have directly correlated to an increase in sales. These actions include:
- Ranking higher in Google searches
- Establishing a feedback loop by responding to inquiries across all channels
- Inspiring customers to share their experiences online
- Ensure all information is accurate and up to date
- Respond to reviews
Performing these actions have led to:
- Increased booking numbers
- Increased number of reviews, which in turn are mostly positive
- Increase in customer retention and return custom.
- Increased number of clicks online – such as click to website, or click for directions
We expect to see a trend in the above brand actions being implemented over the course of 2024. Those who do invest and focus upon brand and marketing, their external image, and their reputation score, will improve their chances of seeing sales growth.