No industry was hit harder by the COVID-19 crisis than hospitality, with many restaurants, bars, pubs and other venues only being able to reopen in the past few weeks, subject to safety guidelines.

While business leaders in the eating and drinking sector in the UK expected 85 percent of hotels to re-open after the lockdown was lifted, they were less optimistic about other venues, and expected only 69 percent of late night establishments to re-open.

While we’re all thankful that things have begun to return to some semblance of normality, even the venues that have opened are struggling to come to terms with how dramatically life has changed.

Tech, helping the industry bounce back.

On the upside, we’ve seen some important ways in which tech has helped get the industry back on its feet, and kept people safe at the same time.

As pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants welcome back customers across the UK, social media is making a difference to how hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes engage with their customers.

All through the pandemic, as screen time increased during lockdown, the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter proved themselves to be an invaluable interactive communication tool, maintaining updates to keep customers aware of opening times, menu options, available outdoor areas, dining and ordering policies and safety measures.

The interactive nature of apps like Instagram’s ‘Support small business’ pop up let people share their favourite venues, take part in polls, allowed businesses to repost material to their own story – all have helped increase customer engagement.

Apps: making hospitality more personal.

One of the most notable changes we’ve seen as a result of coronavirus and safety has been the plethora of personalised apps allowing customers to order from their favourite venues.

A logical development, these are almost certain to become a permanent industry feature. Besides using them to order and to make your payment, they have the added safety advantage of eliminating the need to queue next to other people.

A further important benefit of personal apps is the way they allow easier contact tracing through your billing address should you have become exposed to COVID-19 during your meal.

And then there’s the way apps such as those of Deliveroo, JustEat, Uber Eats and other new platforms are able to link diners with restaurants without the customer needing to leave the house.

Pre-pandemic, many restaurants and hospitality venues simply didn’t have any of this tech in place. Now they’re finding it an indispensable means of safely promoting direct customer engagement, enhancing customer experience, and securing the future of their business.

So take your cue from hospitality, technology and innovation is the way forward, and, you never know, it might just stick.


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