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​HGEM’s predictions: Hospitality trends for 2020

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​HGEM’s predictions: Hospitality trends for 2020

​HGEM’s predictions: Hospitality trends for 2020

Working in hospitality during the month of December, you tend to only think about Christmas (and maybe New Year’s Eve). But it’s important to have one eye on 2020, so that you can hit the New Year running and ward off the “post-Christmas hangover” as consumers do a bit of belt-tightening.

Some of you will have read our recent round-up of the key changes we witnessed in 2019, showing how much can change in a year. Let’s now look ahead – here are our best educated guesses for where the industry will make progress in 2020:

1. Turning data into action

We’ve been talking about ‘data’ for a couple of years now. Looking back at our trends article for 2018, we mention how data will “offer new possibilities to connect with guests and personalise experiences”. The challenge now is not so much getting access to data, but making sure it leads to actions that improve performance.

If you’re suffering from ‘data paralysis’ – having so much information that it overwhelms you into inaction – you can take some solace in the fact that you're not alone. But now it’s time to start driving maximum value from your data.

We predict that hospitality operators will embrace the idea of deriving actions from their guest experience data and using online tools to prioritise, categorise, assign and track the delivery of those actions.

2. Rapid assessments

This prediction follows on from the first. The best data models produce real-time insights which allow business to act ‘in the moment’. In 2020, we’re expecting to see an increased demand from clients for rapid assessments, i.e. the ability to define and perform rapid checks on the effectiveness of promotions or known weaknesses, so that any required actions or decisions can be made almost immediately.

It’s all part of making the operation more agile and able to respond quickly to opportunities or threats, without compromising the core standards.

3. Employee-guest NPS alignment

We’re hardly breaking ground by saying happy employees equals happy guests. We like to think that all business leaders have made that connection – but how many are aligning employee and guest satisfaction levels?

In 2020, we expect to see more businesses using tools to listen to employees and measure employee Net Promoter Score (NPS), but putting this in the context of the guest experience, where NPS is a well-established measure of the health of guest sentiment.

Aligning employee and guest measures in this way will shine a light on strengths and weaknesses in employee satisfaction, the influence they can have

4. Greater knowledge of key influencers

Employee net promoter score is just one of the many things that influences the service offered by operators. Next year, we predict that advances in technology will start to make it easier to identify cause and effect pathways – that is, understanding what standards, processes and behaviours have the biggest impact upon the guest’s perception of their experience and their likelihood to recommend to their friends.

We are just at the beginning of a future where artificial intelligence and machine learning will start to pick up patterns that would take a human much more effort to discern. Watch out for some tangible evidence of this in 2020.

5. Robust allergen processes

There are increasing calls for allergens to be listed on menus, following a number of tragic high-profile cases recently.

Some have suggested that Britain is facing an “allergy emergency”, with rising numbers of children undergoing treatment for severe reactions. The NHS has reported a significant rise in cases of anaphylactic shock among those aged 18 and under.

In 2020, there will be an expectation that operations have robust processes in place where allergens are concerned. And processes will not happen reliably unless there is some way of objectively and anonymously assessing them.

So, there are our thoughts on what to look out for in 2020. We would love to hear yours.

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