Consumer Insights: Payment Preferences

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Consumer Insights: Payment Preferences

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HGEM wanted to find out the status quo of payments in the industry, and the consumer survey we built set out to understand how well the industry is doing - are people generally happy with how payments are taken, are they done in a good pace, or are there still some pain points that irritate your customers and take away from the overall enjoyment?

Alternative payment options like web or app-based solutions, digital kiosks, etc. have really taken off thanks to the pandemic, but is it time to take stock of what your customers' preferences really are?

In the following report, we reveal whether customers find payment technology in hospitality to enhance their experiences or rather hinder them. And, of course, there is detailed demographic analysis, to help you pinpoint exactly how your target market feels.

We surveyed 305 consumers from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds.

How long is acceptable to wait for the bill?

It's far less than you'd think. According to the survey results, 9 out of 10 consumers (88%) expect the bill within 5 minutes of asking, and about a quarter of those want it in 2 minutes!

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There is a small minority of customers that are more patient: 1 in 10 respondents are happy to wait up to 10 minutes for the bill, and only 1% are happy to wait for up to 15 minutes.

Men appear to be more impatient with the bill than women: 91% expect their bill in 5 minutes, and within that group, 18% expect it in 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, 86% of women would like their bill in 5 minutes and a fifth within this group expect it in 2 minutes.

From an age perspective, no discernible pattern emerges, but the most impatient age groups are: 46-55-year-olds: 92% of respondents expect the bill within 5 minutes, and 18-25-year-olds: 91% expect the bill in 5 minutes.

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How well is hospitality handling payments?

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of consumers are quite satisfied and think payments always or often get taken in good time. A quarter (28%) think hospitality gets it right about half the time. Good news for the industry - only 7% of customers think hospitality venues rarely or never get payments done in the right time.

Gender analysis reveals that women are more polarised about their recent payment experiences. 9% of women, vs 4% men think payments rarely or never get taken in good time. However, a larger percentage of women (66%) also think that payments always or often get taken in good time, vs men (62%).

The age group analysis speaks an interesting story: the youngest consumers (18-25) are the most dissatisfied with how long it takes to pay – 18% think payments are rarely taken in good time, and this sentiment decreases with age, to 3% amongst 56-65-year-olds and 0% for the over-66's.

Could it be that the newer generations, with their 'everything now' attitude, will be less forgiving to delays? Consider whether that might be risk in the future for your business.

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Does slow payment affect experience?

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There is quite a lot of risk here, because only 7% of consumers say this doesn’t affect their enjoyment at all. 70% say it affects them a little; 20% say it affects their enjoyment a lot, and a (luckily) small percentage (4%) say it ruins the experience for them.

There is surprisingly little difference between men and women on their opinion on this matter. Women are a little more forgiving, 8% say it doesn’t affect them at all vs 4% of men; and 68% say if affects their enjoyment a little, vs. 72% of men.

From an age perspective: The most polarised are the 36-45 age group. The highest percentage amongst other age groups who say it doesn’t affect them at all (15%), but also a whopping 10% of them say it ruins the whole experience. The most laid back are the over 66’s with 85% saying if affects the experience a little and 5% say not at all.

How do consumers feel about service charge?

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Majority (79%) of consumers don’t want this included in the bill. There isn’t much difference between genders, men are slightly less bothered (76%) than women (79%).

From an age perspective, interestingly, the two youngest age groups are slightly less bothered than the rest: 73% of 18-25 and 70% of 26-35-year-olds don’t want service charge included in the bill.

That percentage is a lot higher for all the older age groups, and in particular, for 36-45-year-olds: 86% don’t want service charge included.

How painful is bill splitting?

Splitting the bill with more than 3 guests can be quite an awkward experience, if all parties calculate their share. Has technology improved on this front or is this still a pain point for customers?

59% say it has gotten better in the last few years, but 41% say it’s still awkward and could be improved upon.

Interestingly, youngest customers find it much less of a hassle than older ones. Only 27% of 18-25-year-olds find bill splitting painful, however customers in the 26-35 age group find it the most awkward, with 46% thinking this; closely followed by 36-45-year-olds with 44%.

Does payment technology enhance the experience?

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Surprisingly, whilst almost half (45%) of customers feel neutrally about technology in a hospitality setting, people are more than twice as likely to feel that technology takes away from the experience (38%), rather than enhancing it (17%).

Our analysis also reveals opposing opinions between genders: women (42%) are far more likely to consider technology to hinder the experience over men (27%). 43% of women vs 52% men are neutral on the subject. 22% of men vs 15% of women think technology in hospitality enhances the experience.

From an age perspective, there is a clear trend between age and opinion. More young people tend to think technology enhances experience: starting with 25% of 26-35-year-olds, this number decreases steadily until it reaches the lowest peak of 5% amongst the 66+ age group.

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