Change sign

"Change is the only constant" (Heroclitus)

Hospitality businesses need to be constantly changing to adapt to evolving tastes and market conditions, and even simply to keep front-of-mind in the eyes of guests. Obviously these can vary from small adaptations like replacing dishes on a menu, or big things like altering opening times, refurbishing or rebranding - all of which can have a big impact on your business.

Although there are risks in making any change, it is equally risky to hope things can just stay as they are. Except, probably, for your (or the business's) values - these are what drives the strategy. Fortunately there are things you can do to manage the risk and concentrate on the flip side of that coin - opportunity.

Feedback from your guests can be a valuable source of inspiration and guidance - by engaging with them online, you can pick up on opportunities. Check out what your competitors are doing too - this might influence your decisions.

There are some things that you wouldn't want to ask your guests about directly. In that case, you could test the water through specific questions or instructions in a series of mystery guest visits. This approach also works well when you are piloting a change (so you can evaluate whether any amendments are necessary before a full roll-out) and upon full launch (so that can rapidly pick up on any potential problems).

Finally, make sure your team are involved from an early stage - this way they will assume much greater ownership of the change and be more likely to implement it successfully.

"It's important to make positive changes at the right time and for the right reasons. Unless the nature of your brand dictates otherwise, there is a real advantage in being seen as innovative and fresh. There's nothing wrong with a bit of Friday afternoon creativity but by making it part of a managed approach you can reduce the risk and reap the rewards."

Steven Pike - Managing Director, HospitalityGEM

Next time: How to gain feedback from your trial run

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