As the hospitality industry works to persuade people that it is safe to eat and drink out, early returners are overwhelmingly satisfied with the COVID-19 precautions they encounter.
That is the encouraging early result from research for the ‘We Hear You’ initiative from CGA, Yumpingo and UKHospitality. The campaign has been launched to gauge the opinions of consumers returning to the hospitality industry after lockdown, and to reassure the wider public that venues are doing everything they can to protect them.
The survey in the week following hospitality’s reopening on Saturday 4 July found that three quarters (77%) of consumers considered COVID-19 safety measures on their visit. The good news is that those measures have given people confidence, with more than nine in ten visitors either very satisfied (80%) or satisfied (14%) with safety steps in the venues they visited.
The same proportion of consumers (94%) said they were satisfied with the way venue teams followed hygiene practices—and even more (97%) were satisfied with general cleanliness.
The findings come with an important caveat. Those returning to the trade in the first week back are likely to have been frequent visitors before lockdown, and so are probably more willing than average to be satisfied with precautions. The big challenge now will be to reassure people who are more anxious about leaving home to get back to hospitality.
However, the early results do indicate that the industry is taking the right steps to increase hygiene standards and effectively communicate them to guests. The positive early responses will be especially important in generating word of mouth about the safety of venues, with nearly all survey respondents now very likely (82%) or likely (14%) to recommend venues to family or friends.
The ‘We Hear You’ project also has important insights for operators trying to preserve the hospitality experience while rolling out hygiene initiatives. The majority (54%) of respondents said precautions hadn’t impacted their visits, but nearly as many (46%) said it had. Guests who think that precautions compromised their experience tend to have higher Net Promoter Scores than average—an indicator that consumers are initially looking for a safety-first approach, in the expectation that their visits will, in time, return to normal. It’s clear that finding the right balance between safety and experience will be crucial for all consumer-facing businesses in the months ahead.
The ‘We Hear You’ survey collected responses from around 2,000 consumers at the end of their visits in nearly 60 venues between Saturday 4 and Sunday 12 July. The full report is available to download here.
All operators in the hospitality industry are encouraged to get involved in the initiative by signing up to Yumpingo’s special app that collects opinions from guests. To learn more, contact WeHearYou@Yumpingo.com or visit yumpingo.com/wehearyou