The pandemic threw the trajectory of the hospitality industry into disarray over the last two years. While some things are returning to normal, that isn’t the case across the board.
Newly established customer behaviours combined with market forces are driving new traffic patterns and a new raft of challenges. Without data and insight into these trends in 2022, brands risk losing precious time as they work to attract market share and re-establish momentum.
These are the Four Key Trends for 2022, according to global customer experience management and insights company, Service Management Group (SMG):
#1: Traffic Will Persist at the Drive-Thru
The pandemic drove people out of dining rooms. While takeaway has returned to a pre-pandemic share of visits, drive-thru is still replacing a section of what was once dine-in traffic—a trend that’s expected to continue.
#2: Digital App Use is the Standard and it’s Driving Customer Engagement
Customers have bought in big to brand-specific apps in the last few years, alongside adoption of more easy-use smart technology like QR codes. Embrace of these technologies will continue as customers look for loyalty rewards and convenience
SMG’s research shows a 41 percent increase in consumer QR code usage since the onset of the pandemic. With QR-reading functionality now widely accepted and native in most smartphone cameras, this is an easy (and safe) way to direct customers to digital touch-points or documents.
#3 Pay and Benefits Will Determine if You’re Fully Staffed
Droves of employees are leaving the industry. As brands struggle to keep up— even experimenting with role replacement through automation—employees are making their decisions based on pay, benefits, and fulfilling work.
If you aren’t prepared to deliver a purely robotic customer experience in 2022, attracting + retaining employees needs to be at the top of your list.
#4 Market Forces will Continue to Drive Up Costs
The supply-chain issues that wreaked havoc on the market in 2021 will persist alongside rising inflation. As costs increase or ingredients become difficult to source, plan on finding other ways to control costs and deliver value to customers, for example, sourcing locally.