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Who are the ‘new normal’ accommodation consumers?

new normal consumer
Image courtesy of Gustavo Fring from Unsplash

The recovery for the hospitality industry from the effects of lockdown is going to be long and challenging; so how will you compete for your share of the lower level of demand?

Well, it seems likely that there are going to be two emerging types of consumer:

  • Those that want to exploit their new found freedom from lockdown
  • And those more cautious types who will concentrate on their own home improvements.

Clearly it is the former that we will need to appeal to and tapping in to their business through the emerging trends of digital connectivity, online experiences, mindfulness, pre-pay apps, and collaboration, alongside a heightened responsibility of care could be key ways to do so.

This all relates to shaping up new profiles of the post lockdown, Covid cautious consumer and while value is subjective the type of elements mentioned here, if offered, as an option by your business to this new type of consumer could just be enough to secure the longevity of a business in these new normal times.

The increased trend of online connectivity between work colleagues, social circles and the growth in online learning demonstrates the need for groups to stay connected.  This is likely to continue, with time being set aside outside of the working day to connect with friends and family, given the regular practices that have been put into place during this time.  It maybe that guests when staying with accommodation providers still need to make time for their routine practices of “the pub quiz night”, the virtual drinks night with friends, or just the “checking in” with family members.  So, an acknowledgement from reception staff, or in customer marketing and communications that  these routines may continue will be important. It goes without saying that,  super-fast, reliable internet will have greater emphasis moving forward to support these new activities.

Equally, those that have been working from home or staying in touch with work colleagues and customers through on line providers such as Zoom, GoToMeet, and Teams for example have found a new way of working that has proven productive for all concerned.  This may lead to a reduced need for travel to meetings and offsite meetings taking place, creating increased efficiencies and reduced levels of cost for business. Accommodation providers will need to facilitate online connections for those that have digital work commitments during their stay.

A significant growth in the over 60’s, collectively representing the ’grey pound consumer’ adopting more technology than ever before, highlighting an opportunity for the hospitality industry to embrace this increased online newly digitally-savvy audience.  This segment of guest may have a new found level of confidence and enthusiasm that still requires support, patience and guidance to complete purchasing processes. Easy, well explained instructions coupled with online chat and telephone help to nurture this new online segment will be needed in order to convert purchases.

millennials
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

The traditional desire for 24/7 life experiences from the millennials (18-35 yrs old) may be thrown into question, given the opportunity to reflect on their forced “down time”. This may result in some future virtual experiences in the home or whilst staying in accommodation, possibly tying in with the digital marketing of local attractions and tourist boards to share video’s , Augmented Reality and holograms of destinations in an attempt to attract a future stay. 

Provider’s could also link with local historians or city guide experts to provide information, web content, presentations and videos or even organise a socially distanced tour of the city or conduct it virtually in a meeting room/space or on brand websites.  This is particularly key where city attractions, events, activities and venues remain closed.

Virtual show arounds of your accommodation for 3rd party agents and guests alike are an opportunity.  They could be used to explain and build confidence in your new way of operating as accommodation providers in the “new normal” including, social distancing measures and Anti-Virus standards.

An increased appreciation of mindfulness and personal well-being has developed through this timeframe with newly educated health-conscious consumers expecting information not just on ingredients and calories but more nutritional information alongside it.

nutrition
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Take away, collection and delivery options from food outlets have been borne out of lockdown as a necessity for some businesses to survive. Hotel outlets will need to embark on providing this service to their local community as well.  Embracing the growth and evolution of mobile bookings and pre-pay apps for food to include menu selection, collection or delivery time slots is a service hotel outlets may need to develop further to compete alongside food providers who have already adapted to provide the service not dissimilar to Uber Eat and Just Eat models.

A customer guarantee of enhanced food safety practices and increased attention to the hygiene and cleanliness for their stay is imperative.

Accommodation providers should look to collaborate with food outlets, join forces with local chefs; creative thinking together could result in providing the ingredients for a set menu in a box combined with a QR code which could link to a video of the chef cooking the meal and a pdf of instructions all delivered to their apartment.

Delivering, tasting menus of restaurant menus and wines provided by local restaurants and vintners is another creative option.

This all relates to shaping up new profiles of the post lockdown, Covid cautious consumer and while value is subjective the type of elements mentioned here, if offered, as an option by your business to this new type of consumer could just be enough to secure the longevity of a business in these new normal times.

There will be increasing appreciation afforded to providers who continue to re-deploy resources to the care sector and provide offers to NHS staff and other key workers, as providers continue to consider the impact of their brand on consumer’s health.

The impending growth in demand resulting in the relaxation of lockdown restrictions will not nearly reach the levels expected in normal times and with significantly increased levels of competition in the marketplace it is creativity through collaboration and improved guest communication and marketing that will be the main differentiator. 

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