Guest loyalty - is allegiance to single brands a thing of the past?


Guest loyalty - is allegiance to single brands a thing of the past?

People dining at a restaurant

The hospitality sector has always been competitive, but with the industry offering greater choice than ever before, teamed with the increased popularity of cult and experiential concepts, has it become even harder for single brands to win the loyalty of guests?

While the assumption may be that a wider range of new openings and the fear of missing out can push guests away from their favourite haunts, new research suggests this isn't strictly the case. Instead, British guests appear to be creatures of habit, with 25% of guests choosing a restaurant because they 'regularly go there', according to new research from data firm NPD Group.

This sort of behaviour adds up to more than £2.8bn 'habitual' visits per year in Britain and £12.6bn of out-of-home spending per year - a figure which has grown by 13.4% in two years, despite overall out-of-home spending rising by only 6.6%, according to The Caterer.

Other top reasons cited by guests for choosing a place to eat include convenience of location (37%) and good pricing (24%). Interestingly, the data revealed that when an app is introduced to allow guests to order ahead and pick up their food in-store, loyalty decreases - possibly due to the short-term discounts, vouchers and freebies that can disrupt consumer habits and turn heads elsewhere.

While British guests may be creatures of habit, this doesn't mean that businesses can become complacent and presume loyalty is assured. Providing a high-quality guest experience is what helps to form a habit and encourage guests back for more. But the guests that are happy to 'go on auto-pilot' when choosing a place to eat will most certainly turn to the competition, should that experience fall short of expectations.

Encouraging loyalty starts with understanding your guests’ experience. We help you to engage with your guests, measuring how their experience matches up to expectations and providing you with the actionable insight to bridge the gap between the two.

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