We’ve scoured the overwhelming number of articles on hospitality and digital trends to watch out for this year so you don’t have to.
Here are the top 5 key hospitality and digital trends you need to know for 2017:
Veggie, vegan, low-fat, low-cal, gluten-free – these trends aren’t going anywhere, in fact people are becoming more and more conscious about what they’re putting in their bodies.
While customers may not go for the ‘healthy’ choice all of the time, the operators set to succeed this year will recognise the demand for these alternative options alongside their core menu offerings. Businesses need to offer quality alternatives with the wholesome ingredients such as plant proteins and superfoods that the followers of this trend will know inside out – don’t let this be an afterthought.
2.The Delivery Revolution
2016 saw the launch of Uber Eats in the UK, the rebrands of JustEat, Hungry House and Deliveroo and the growth of Jinn, Bevy and Feast. With Amazon now testing food delivery by drone, we cannot deny that the delivery revolution has only just begun and the industry needs to prepare.
As frequent users of these delivery services to our North London office, we are very aware of the companies who are getting it right and those who aren’t. Restaurants need to be thinking about everything from packaging (does it arrive to the customer with ‘in-house’ quality? Hint: most of the time it does not) to delivery times. The operation behind the scenes needs to be slick and sufficiently staffed if it is to meet our demands and high standards as the delivery companies continue to battle it out.
This probably isn’t going to reach us properly until the latter half of this year but nonetheless is well worth thinking about. The chatbot revolution is fast approaching from the East and will have a massive impact in the hospitality industry across many areas from finding somewhere to eat or stay, booking, getting customer feedback and even ordering.
Pizza Express experimented with a Facebook Messenger bot as part of their 2016 Christmas campaign (the success of which remains undecided) and I have a distinct feeling this is only the beginning. Watch this space, the bots are coming.
4. Keeping It Real
In the over stimulated, over crowded digital space we are constantly craving for something that is real. We are more and more aware of curated content and crave information that is captured in the moment. This has led to the stratospheric rise of Snapchat throughout 2016 as well as the introduction of Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, which Zuckers is ploughing an obscene amount of cash into to get it off the ground.
We no longer care so much about the perfectly shot image that has likely been recycled and re-touched; instead the quality of the context, of being part of the the action instantly, outweighs the quality of the creative we’re being shown. You need to consider how you can integrate these platforms as part of your 2017 social media strategy.
5. VR, AR… WTF?
Speaking of reality, what does it mean anyway? That’s a topic for another blog on another day… but as much as we are craving something real, we are dabbling in a reality that is Virtual or Augmented. These ‘new’ technologies are breaking into the mainstream as they are both highly engaging and highly shareable – two of the most valuable metrics we are bidding for in this noisy digital space.
McDonald’s offered an Augmented Reality Advent Calendar as part of it’s 2016 Christmas campaign and hospitality has been experimenting with Virtual Reality in a number of contexts in order to give customers that truly immersive experience.
In summary, 2016 was a year that polarised us and the outlook for 2017 doesn’t appear to be any different, although we pray that it is less doom and gloom than the last 12 months! We want something real – actual or virtual and we want it right now.
The digital space is becoming smarter and the hospitality industry needs to keep up. You already have enough to be getting on with so we’re here to do the thinking for you – to find out what we can do for your business, please get in touch.
Happy New Year!
GIFs courtesy of giphy.com