News Feature | February 10, 2014

Restaurant And Hospitality IT News For VARs — February 10, 2014

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

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In the news, hospitality industry websites lead in mobile-friendliness. Also, luxury hotel chains are considering free Wi-Fi for guests, and not all loyalty programs are paying off for restaurants.

Hospitality Industry Websites Rank First In Mobile-Friendliness

When it comes to mobile-friendly websites, the hospitality industry leads, new research from Hibu has found. Results show that 63 percent of hotel and B&B websites are mobile-friendly. Following in second place are restaurants; 52 percent of restaurant websites were found to be mobile-friendly. The results also show that 59 percent of U.S. SMBs do not have websites that support smartphone research or mobile commerce. In addition, nearly 90 percent of SMBs’ have websites that are not tablet-friendly.

Luxury Hotel Chains To Offer Free Wi-Fi

Some of the bigger luxury hotel chains are planning to shake up traditional Wi-Fi policies, the Los Angeles Times reports. While most hotels make customers pay for Wi-Fi, several luxury hotel chains have announced their plans to roll out free Wi-Fi for guests. Until this point, 85 percent of luxury hotel chains have charged for Wi-Fi access compared to 8 percent of economy chains. Some experts say that luxury hotels will be exploring tiered Internet options, providing average speed Internet access for free and charging extra for high-speed access.

Loyalty Programs Should Provide “Differentiated Experience”

Forbes highlights some of the findings of a 2012 McKinsey loyalty study that found, on average, loyalty programs don’t pay off for the companies offering them. (While the study found that hotels saw a positive impact from loyalty focus, food retail, in particular, did not.) According to Forbes, there are some characteristics that successful loyalty programs share. These include integrating loyalty into the full experience (e.g. Starbuck’s integration of mobile technology and payments) and data-mining to provide targeted offers.

Digital Gift Cards In Demand

InComm released its 2013 holiday data, which shows that digital gift cards are more in demand than ever with the rise of online shopping and mobile commerce. In December, more consumers (57 percent) purchased digital gift cards than they purchased physical gift cards (43 percent). In the days leading up to Christmas, 80 percent of consumers purchased digital gift cards compared to the 20 percent that purchased physical gift cards during this same time period. According to InComm, brands could seriously benefit from selling both physical and digital gift cards on their e-commerce sites. 

Restaurant And Hospitality IT Talking Points

According to The NPD Group, fast casual restaurants saw the most growth in the industry in 2013. Visits to fast casual restaurants increased by 8 percent, compared to the total industry/QSR industry, which reported no growth. The fast-casual industry saw a 10 percent growth in spending compared to 2 percent growth in the total industry.  

The National Restaurant Association released its Restaurant Performance Index for December, which showed a moderate decline of 0.6 percent to 100.5. Despite slightly slower sales, a majority, or 61 percent, of operators are planning a capital expenditure in the next 6 months.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Hospitalty Tech Center.