News Feature | November 26, 2013

Hospitality And Restaurant IT News For VARs — November 26, 2013

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By Anna Rose Welch, Editor, Biosimilar Development
Follow Me On Twitter @AnnaRoseWelch

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The news includes surveys that show diners are interested in hi-tech ordering in quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and travelers are interested in using tablets and smartphones to make reservations. There is also a projection that restaurants will see increased business on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

QSR Loyalty Programs, Online Ordering Drive Repeat Business

A survey from EMN8 Inc. reveals that customers are particularly interested in hi-tech ordering methods in the QSR industry. According to the results, 43 percent of Americans surveyed would be interested in ordering from a QSR via computer, while 3 in 10 would like mobile ordering options. The survey also shows increasing interest in loyalty programs. The results show that 77 percent of those surveyed would use a stored value card to pay for purchases in exchange for loyalty points or coupons. In particular, stored value cards as a payment option were of particular interest to the 45+ age group. Consumers from all age groups claim that they would be more likely to return to a restaurant if their past orders were saved in the ordering system. 

Hotel Industry Faced With Increasingly “Free Agent” Consumers

Adara and Hudson Crossing released a study that shows those who book hotel rooms online are younger and show less brand loyalty to hotel choices. According to the study, 123 million travelers used online resources to research hotels before booking a room, with 92 percent going on to book online as well. Travelers are often armed with smartphones and tablets, but show more interest in using tablets in the research and reservation process. In digital marketing, the study shows that ads perform better if they add more customer data. Geo-targeting or purchase history are just some of the important customer data points your clients should leverage in order to increase an ad’s effectiveness.

Restaurant Industry Could See Declines In 2014

According to an AlixPartners study, the restaurant industry could potentially be facing declines in traffic and revenue in 2014. Consumer preferences are expected to shift as consumers grow more concerned with eating healthier. In addition, customers plan to spend 4.5 percent less per meal when dining out. However, for restaurants looking to remain competitive and garner more business in 2014, the study found loyalty programs key to drawing in customers. In particular, 59 percent of consumers rate loyalty programs as “slightly influential” to “somewhat influential.” This data suggests your clients could be looking to invest in a loyalty program to see repeat and increasing traffic in a competitive market.

Restaurants Will See Increased Traffic Thanksgiving, Black Friday

The National Restaurant Association has found that restaurants are an increasingly important source for holiday meals this holiday season. According to new NRA research, 33 million Americans will turn to restaurants to supply some or all of their Thanksgiving meals this year. In addition, 46 million Americans are expected to dine out while shopping on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

How To Maintain An Omni-Channel Hotel Experience

1to1 Media features an interview with Erin Levzow, executive director of hotel marketing and e-commerce at the Palms Casino Resort. In the interview, Levzow discusses some of the challenges of engaging with omni-channel customers. According to Levzow, the website is one of the most important touch points for customers and therefore, must be available across all types of customers’ mobile devices. Similarly, the website experience should be responsive to appeal to those looking to book or are simply researching. Levzow also highlights some of the benefits of using responsive email design and elaborates upon some of the common mistakes marketers make with email marketing campaigns.

Restaurant And Hospitality IT Talking Points

Convenience Store News discusses recent Technomic research showing that consumers rarely make distinctions between the fast-casual and QSR restaurant segments. While consumers often have higher expectations for fast-casual restaurants, there were often less than 5 percentage point gaps between fast-casual and QSR consumer ratings.

According to Hotel Chatter, social media is becoming increasingly important for the hotel booking processes. In particular, one hotel group, Loews, has begun implementing a booking procedure for Twitter users. While using social media to book hotel rooms isn’t a new process — some hotels already use Facebook — Hotel Chatter expects more brands to follow suit with Twitter booking. 

FSR Magazine provides a list of the five types of content restaurants should be sharing with social media followers. Pictures of the food, community events, links to articles of interest, “how-to” cooking videos, and highlighting special customers are all important, “share-worthy” pieces of information. 

FSR Magazine also lists the 13 mistakes restaurants are making on their websites. Some of these issues include misusing social media, using Flash, not supplying a feedback form, not using analytics, or not engaging in search engine optimization (SEO) activities.