In the below guest post, Adrian Valeriano, SVP and MD EMEA at Lightspeed, discusses the measures you can take to ensure guests dining at your hotel feel safe this festive season, amid the ever-changing Coronavirus situation.
As the industry continues to face uncertainty and quickly responds to changing Covid measures, creating an environment diners feel safe in will be critical to successfully navigating the holiday period – and beyond.
There are a number of strategies merchants can implement to help guests feel safe while also driving business at what is typically the busiest time of year.
Promote safety measures
The importance of communicating to customers the rigorous cleaning processes you have in place should not be underestimated and could be the difference between a customer deciding to dine with you or not.
It’s crucial to make sure every staff member is trained to deliver the cleaning standards required to keep everyone safe, consulting with WHO’s guidelines for disinfected surfaces for Covid-19. Lightspeed’s August 2021 report also found that 51% of UK guests would still like to see staff and guests masked up indoors and 59% reported feeling safer when hand sanitiser stations were available.
Prominently position sanitiser stations at the entrance to your venue and at key locations throughout and communicate the cleaning procedures you have in place. 72% of respondents in a 2020 OpenTable study said strict cleaning policies in restaurants would make them feel safe post-pandemic. With the new Omicron variant, we can surmise just how concerned consumers may feel about sanitation standards.
Actively informing customers on the measures you have in place to keep them safe and how you are following government guidelines can help allay anxieties and build trust.
QR code ordering and takeaway options
Over the course of the pandemic, restaurant technology has helped businesses to pivot and continue to serve customers, with 89% of UK industry respondents either strongly agreeing or somewhat agreeing that it’s been critical to their survival¹.
Offering contactless ordering and takeaway options are a couple of ways to help keep customers and employees safe, while also improving efficiency. Platforms such as Lightspeed Order Anywhere allows customers to order for collection from wherever they are, whether that’s at home or while out and about. For those eating in, QR codes at the table can be used for contactless ordering, reducing face-to-face contact.
Reduce queues and overcrowding with reservations
Reservations continue to be a beneficial tool for restaurant management and an option that can help make diners and hospitality operators feel safe.
Reservations empower merchants to control how many guests dine at any one time, to stagger tables, spread diners out across the floorplan and reduce queues and crowds. Some reservation tools also pre-verify a guest’s vaccination status, making greeting new guests more streamlined for your staff.
Either offering cashless payments as an option or temporarily moving to a fully cashless model can go towards creating a sense of safety and 44% of diners in the UK said contactless options made them feel safer when dining out in Lightspeed’s Global State of Hospitality Industry Report 2021. It also caters to consumers’ preferences, with 81% of respondents preferring to pay via contactless or card.
As we come to the end of another challenging year and look ahead to 2022, there’s going to be a continued emphasis on allaying guests’ anxieties and keeping both diners and staff safe.
Communication and technological innovation will be key to building diner confidence.
¹Lightspeed’s Global State of Hospitality Industry Report 2021 was conducted with OnePoll and included 200 UK businesses