The business of booking a table; protecting revenue as spending set to drop

Gary Howes

August 14, 2018

August’s interest rate rise from the Bank of England caused immediate alarm from business leaders and brands worried about consumer spending.

And on-the-day agile research into consumer reaction to the news revealed that they are right to be concerned.

While wider discussions typically focus on saving and borrowing, Maru/edr results highlighted that we’re likely to witness more significant changes to consumer spending instead – and worryingly for restaurateurs, budgets for eating out are on the hitlist.

Spending to drop in hospitality

Although 38% of those consumers surveyed actually welcomed the news, a large proportion expressed concern.

And of those consumers worried about the interest rate rise, almost half (45%) stated that they are likely to reduce spending on eating out.

It appears that while the interest rates rise will not directly impact the cost of frontline goods and services, the effect of increases on mortgage and rental payments will have a detrimental effect on consumer spending.

Elevating your customer experience

It means for restaurant brands already struggling to navigate a difficult, uncertain market, Thursday’s announcement reinforces the importance of delivering an exceptional customer experience – after all, we know that satisfaction and overall experience directly impacts the bottom line.

While many restaurateurs will read this and start to wonder how to better their venue experience, Maru/edr analysis demonstrates that it’s important to focus on the digital experience as that also has the power to differentiate hospitality brands from the competition.

Half of consumers go online before eating out

Of the consumers surveyed, half (48%) will go online before eating out, highlighting the importance a seamless digital experience plays within the restaurant customer journey.

Of those that go online, half (49%) do so to check menus, while another 30% will order food and 13% book a table. It validates the influence that digital channels now have on the overall hospitality customer journey and demonstrates the real-term value that delivering a seamless experience has on revenue.

Opportunity to delight customers and drive higher revenue

Maru/edr have measured online satisfaction for almost two decades. We understand the key drivers behind on-the-day satisfaction and regularly advise top retailing brands on how to deliver better digital experiences with proven ROI.

At its core, a great online experience must deliver on;

  • Proposition and product – relevant choice, promotions and offers
  • Fulfilment and instant gratification – checkout ease-of-use, customer service accessibility, delivery and returns
  • Service and self-help – product descriptions, information and images
  • Ease and effort – navigation, speed, search accuracy and page filters

Excitingly for hospitability brands, sites that perform well against all four factors achieve an overall satisfaction rate up to double that of the Maru/edr average. It means the opportunity to delight customers, convert sales and differentiate in a competitive market is there – it’s just a case of measuring real-time experiences to reveal where, how and when to invest in digital.

Download How to Achieve Success at the Front End of Online Retail for more information on how to get started.