Hopes that the temporary VAT cut for hospitality would be extended were dashed in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement this week.
A return to 20 per cent from the 12.5 per cent figure will be met with disappointment by thousands of hospitality businesses, trade body UKHospitality said.
The news was tempered by figures released this month showing jobs in the sector up 252,000 over the last 12-months and unemployment substantially down, now at four per cent and therefore below pre-pandemic levels.
This is positive news for the beleaguered industry and demonstrates what a vital role those businesses play in the UK’s economic recovery.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also chart continuing record levels of vacancies in the sector, reflecting how challenging the labour market remains.
In addition, the data also shows an increase in the number of people choosing to be economically inactive, indicating a need for flexibility to avoid impacting the sector’s fragile recovery.
So for many in hospitality, particularly at the higher end, now is the time more than ever to get to know your customer.
Technology can prove a game changer
Hospitality is mainly about providing a personal and bespoke experience for every individual consumer. Traditionally this has been done face-to-face and in-venue but technology now means venues can offer a personalised touch at every stage of the process and can be a game changer.
A new survey also highlighted the challenges and opportunities for hospitality and the need to engage with customers who are prepared to share their data, and encourage and educate those who are reluctant, to get the best possible service.
Figures from Zonal and CGA’s GO Technology survey, a sample of 5,000 nationally representative British consumers. All figures are taken from the February 2022 edition of the survey.
• Customer benefits: Consumers can be cynical about sharing their data. Clarity about the personalisation and value that’s on offer makes sign-ups easier.
• Trust critical to success: Many consumers have at least some misgivings about how their personal information is used, and older ones are particularly wary. Brands need to show they take data security and ethics seriously.
• Explain and educate: Explaining precisely how data will be used is especially important with younger consumers, who will carry their habits through to later life but keep it simple.
• Give them control: Giving people control over what they share and how it will be used gives them important ownership over personalised experiences.
• Take care with data collection: Focus on collecting the information that will help deliver positive personalised experiences, asking people for too much can be off-putting
• Always keep it simple: Long and cumbersome processes can wreck data collection. Make the sign-up process simple and people are more likely to engage.
• Personal touch still important: Technology has to complement rather than replace great delivery, so investing in both is crucial.
• Measure and assess: Set up a database to assess the success of personalisation strategies
For more information and help on related matters please contact our expert team.