Welcome to Hospitality Highlights - 7th November 2023
🚀 Top Marketing News
- 📣 Facebook and Instagram Offer Subscriptions for Ad-Free Experience in Europe
- 🚀 X Launches New Subscription Tiers
- ✉️ WhatsApp Introduces Message Editing Feature for Channels
- 🌍 Google Unveils New AI Features Coming to Google Maps
- 🌟 Google Core Update Complete & Reviews Getting an Upgrade Next Week
🍽️ Restaurant and F&B News
- 🍔 McDonald’s $1 Billion Brand Sandwich
- ☕️ Starbucks Introduces Two Festive Drinks for the Holiday Season
- 🍹 Is Pisco the Next Big Thing? 🤔
- 🌮 Taco Tuesday Trademark Dispute Finally Resolved
- 👨🍳 Gordon Ramsay Reveals the Secret to Business Success
🛎️ Hotel and Travel News
- 🏨 Britannia Hotels Named UK’s Worst Hotel Chain for 11th Year in a Row
- 🔮 2024 Travel Trends: Marriott Study Highlights Customisation and Immersive Experiences for Group Travel
- 💼 Global Business Travel Industry Bounces Back in 2023
- 🌈 Airbnb and IGLTA Unveil New Travel Trends Among the LGBTQ+ Community
- ✈️ ABTA Launches the UK Travel Confidence Index
☕ Grab Your Favourite Drink, and Let’s Check In!
Facebook and Instagram Offer Subscriptions for Ad-Free Experience in Europe
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, will introduce a subscription model in the EU, EEA, and Switzerland, allowing users to pay a monthly fee to use the platforms without ads.
Users can also choose to continue using the services for free but will see ads personalised to them. The subscription will cost €9.99/month on the web and €12.99/month on iOS and Android, covering all linked accounts. Additional fees of €6/month on the web and €8/month on mobile devices will be charged for each additional account starting from March 1, 2024.
Meta says they aim to comply with evolving European regulations and respect the choice-based subscription model recognised by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
💡 This is why it is vital to develop your first-party data insights for targeting ads across other channels and focus on building a Facebook community to mitigate the decline in ad reach.
X Launches New Subscription Tiers
X has officially launched new subscription tiers, including Premium+ and Basic. The Premium+ tier, priced at $16 per month, removes ads from the For You and Following feeds, boosts replies, and provides access to creator tools.
The Basic tier, costing $3 per month, allows users to edit posts and post longer texts and videos, offers a small reply boost, and encrypts direct messages.
These tiers are available on the web only and are part of X’s push for subscription-based revenue streams.
💡 Assess the benefits of each tier to determine the best fit for your needs.
The Premium+ tier could be helpful for larger venues looking for greater visibility and engagement through the ‘largest reply boost’ feature, while the Basic tier may suit businesses with fewer needs or smaller budgets. The ability to post longer texts and videos or edit posts can enhance content strategy and user engagement.
With the Premium+ tier removing ads from user feeds, hospitality businesses may need to reconsider their advertising strategy on the platform. Keep an eye on the impact of this change on your ad reach and adjust your strategy accordingly.
WhatsApp Introduces Message Editing Feature for Channels
WhatsApp Channels now allow users to edit text messages within 30 days of posting, with an indicator showing when a message has been altered. However, the editing feature only applies to text content and not media or files.
Adding voice messages, new sticker features, and permalinks for easier sharing of individual messages in Channels is underway. The update also includes:
- Multi-account usage.
- Enhanced account security with biometrics.
- Beta testing for more text formatting options.
💡 Here are a few ways you can use the latest WhatsApp features:
- Correct any misinformation, typographical errors, or updates to already shared content; you can do this within 30 days after posting.
- With voice messages and sticker features soon to be introduced, start preparing content that can be shared through these channels.
- Hospitality businesses with multiple departmental or venue accounts should use the multi-account feature. You’ll be able to manage all accounts more effectively and ensure consistent messaging across all departments and sites.
- Sign up for the beta testing for more text formatting options. This opportunity will allow you to become familiar with the new features before they’re available to the general public and give your comms a competitive advantage.
Google Unveils New AI Features Coming to Google Maps
Google Maps is introducing new AI-powered features to enhance user experiences.
Immersive View provides users a detailed 3D preview of their routes using billions of Street View and aerial images. It allows them to explore routes from different perspectives and even change the time of day or weather conditions. The Lens feature, which helps users navigate unfamiliar areas by using AI and augmented reality, is expanding to over 50 additional cities.
Google Maps also provides electric vehicle drivers with more information on car charging stations, including compatibility, charger type, power level, and charger usage data to avoid broken ones.
The search function has been enhanced with AI-powered visual results, displaying thematic photo results for activities like “animal latte art.”
💡 Make sure your venue is accurately represented and easily identifiable on the platform using the 3D Immersive View feature. Provide high-quality images to enhance your visibility in this new multidimensional preview.
Optimise your visual search results by including thematic photos related to your business. For instance, a cafe could use pictures of ” latte art” to attract users searching for this activity. A hotel could use pictures of its lobby, rooms, or amenities to attract users searching for a place to stay and pictures of local attractions to encourage people to explore the area.
Google Core Update Complete & Reviews Getting an Upgrade Next Week
Google has announced the November 2023 core update, following the October 2023 core update. The updates aim to improve different core systems in Google’s ranking process.
Google plans to roll out an update to its reviews system next week, which will now occur at a regular and ongoing pace without periodic notifications. They advise review creators to stay focused on the guidelines provided.
💡 Hotels and restaurants should focus on creating and maintaining high-quality content. To comply with Google’s quality guidelines, all website content should be helpful, engaging, and factual. It is (and I cannot overemphasise this enough) essential to optimise the user experience on their websites, making it user-friendly, fast, and easy to navigate.
With the upcoming changes to Google’s review system, hotels and restaurants should encourage customers to leave honest reviews following the guidelines provided by Google.
Make sure that the reviews are genuine and reflect the customer’s experience. You should regularly monitor your online reputation, respond to reviews promptly, and address any negative feedback professionally.
Remember, these updates are a continuous process, and it is important to stay updated with Google’s guidelines and make necessary changes to your strategy as needed.
Restaurant and F&B News
McDonald's $1 Billion Brand Sandwich
McDonald’s McCrispy chicken sandwich, introduced earlier this year, has become a resounding success, driving a 12.6% increase in same-store sales in Q1.
During an earnings call, McDonald’s CFO Ian Borden declared the McCrispy a $1 billion global brand, attributing its success to menu innovation and customer loyalty.
The sandwich, which features a crispy chicken fillet, crinkle-cut pickles, and a buttered potato roll, has gained a cult following and solidified McDonald’s market share leadership in the chicken category. McDonald’s also reported an 8.8% increase in global same-store sales and a 14% quarterly revenue boost.
💡 McDonald’s success with the McCrispy chicken sandwich really underlines the importance of innovating and refreshing your menu offerings. Customers appreciate new flavours and unique items, and these can drive significant sales increases – especially where chicken is concerned, as this is super-popular with Gen Z.
Starbucks Introduces Two Festive Drinks for the Holiday Season
Starbucks launched its new holiday cups and beverages on November 2nd this year. The holiday cups feature a magenta twist with four patterns, including plaid and bauble designs. Kristy Cameron, the creative director at Starbucks, stated that adding magenta alongside the traditional red and green colours lifts the overall look and makes the red appear even brighter.
In terms of new drinks, Starbucks introduced the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai, which combines gingerbread notes, chai spices, and creamy oat milk. Customers also have the option of enjoying a hot version of this drink. Another new offering is the Oleato Gingerbread Oatmilk Latte, made with Blonde Espresso, gingerbread, steamed oatmilk, and infused with Partanna® extra virgin olive oil.
Alongside these new additions, popular favourites like the Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, and Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte are also returning.
💡 Restaurants could consider introducing their own festive offerings. This could include special holiday-themed cups or merchandise to create a festive atmosphere.
Introduce limited-availability seasonal drinks and food items—for example, gingerbread-flavoured drinks, spiced lattes, or other holiday-inspired beverages. Make sure you offer dairy and sugar-free alternatives.
It’s no secret that Starbucks does personalisation well; restaurants should consider offering customisable gift tags or other personalised elements with their holiday offerings and messages.
Is Pisco the Next Big Thing?
Chilean pisco, a grape-based spirit, is poised to make its mark in the UK market. ProChile, the trade agency of the Chilean government, is working to promote Chilean pisco in the UK, along with other countries.
Chile produces 80% of global pisco production, with an annual production of 35 million litres. Despite its popularity in Chile, the Chilean version of pisco is relatively less known abroad. ProChile aims to introduce more Chilean pisco brands to the UK market, capitalising on the growing premiumisation trend in the spirits category.
However, while consumer interest is high, finding distributors willing to take a chance on pisco producers remains challenging.
🤔 Personally, I’d love to see more Pisco on menus in the UK, it’s certainly one of my favourite tipples when visiting Dubai. I shall be keeping a close eye on other spirits trends – for daily Hospitality Headlines follow me on Twitter at askdawngribble
Taco Tuesday Trademark Dispute Finally Resolved
Taco Bell‘s campaign to free the trademark for “Taco Tuesday” has succeeded, as the last remaining holder of the mark, Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar, relinquished its right to the phrase. Taco John’s had previously given up its right to use the phrase.
Taco Bell’s marketing effort, which included billboards and advertisements mocking the trademark, aimed to make “Taco Tuesday” a commonly used term. Taco Bell Chief Global Brand and Strategy Officer Sean Tresvant stated that their mission was to free Taco Tuesday for everyone in the taco industry. The end of the battle is seen as the start of a new era for restaurants, allowing them to celebrate Taco Tuesday without any legal repercussions.
💡 Good news for Taco lovers! Restaurants should consider implementing their own “Taco Tuesday” promotions, taking advantage of the fact that the phrase is now free to use without fear of legal repercussions.
You can use this as an opportunity to develop new marketing strategies and campaigns that will catch your customers’ attention. You could offer discounts on tacos every Tuesday or introduce a special taco recipe for this day. “Taco Tuesday” could also be a community event, fostering support and camaraderie between local businesses and residents.
Lets Taco ’bout it in the comments
Gordon Ramsay Reveals the Secret to Business Success
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, known for his numerous restaurants and TV shows, shares his tips for growing a business.
He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to perfect their business locally and focus on becoming the best in their vicinity. Ramsay explained the importance of getting it right at home before expanding globally.
Ramsay discusses the impact of social media on restaurant openings, observing that social media has eliminated the traditional “soft opening” and highlights the challenges of maintaining consistency under the scrutiny of a full restaurant from day one. Ramsay suggests trying a pop-up concept to test and refine business ideas on a smaller scale before committing to a permanent location or concept.
🤔 I think this is an excellent idea, especially for chefs and entrepreneurs who want to own their own restaurant, you can gather a wealth of knowledge through small proofs-of-concept, which can then be scaled – keep testing until you find the right formula!
Hotel and Travel News
Britannia Hotels Named UK's Worst Hotel Chain for 11th Year in a Row
Britannia Hotels has been ranked as the UK’s worst hotel chain for the 11th consecutive year, according to Which?. Scoring just 48%, guests complained about poor quality bedrooms, bathrooms, and Wi-Fi. The chain owns 61 hotels across the country, including popular locations in Blackpool and Southport.
Travelodge and Mercure came ahead of Britannia with joint scores of 56%. Mercure received two-star ratings for the quality of its bedrooms, bathrooms, and communal areas, with customers criticising its “dingy” and “tired” feel.
Budget competitor Days Inn scored higher with a customer score of 65% and received four stars for value for money, with customers praising the rooms as “cheap and cheerful” and “clean and quiet.” Hotel Indigo also received favourable ratings for its boutique offering, with unique décor and atmosphere, achieving high ratings.
💡 Hotels should pay close attention to their guest room quality, including the bedrooms and bathrooms. Efforts should be made to improve the cleanliness and comfort of these rooms, and it might be worth considering a renovation if the rooms are rated as ‘dingy’ or ‘tired’. If you have complaints about Wifi, invest in upgrading your internet infrastructure to provide a better online experience.
Training staff to deliver excellent customer service and creating value-added packages or deals could help enhance customer satisfaction. The success of Hotel Indigo and Hub by Premier Inn shows that a unique offering and well-designed rooms can also make a difference.
2024 Travel Trends: Marriott Study Highlights Customisation and Immersive Experiences for Group Travel
Marriott International in the Caribbean and Latin America has released its 2024 Travel Trends Forecast.
The survey of over 1,000 travel planners and event organisers reveals that travellers are seeking more personalised and immersive group travel experiences that focus on flexibility and cultural immersion.
Factors influencing venue selection for 2024 include alignment of concessions to program goals, adaptability to changing needs, and rapid response times. Top group event experiences attendees desire include food and beverage, transportation, and cultural/local immersion.
Planners are shifting towards customised experiences and flexible spaces for group travel. Louise Bang, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Marriott International CALA states, “Group travel is expected to remain strong in the coming year, and this timely forecast provides valuable insights to help us adapt and cater to new preferences.”
💡 With travellers seeking personalised, flexible, and culturally immersive group travel experiences, hotels should invest resources to cater to this demand. Your services could include tailor-made travel packages incorporating local culture.
In line with the shift towards flexible spaces and customised experiences, hotels should consider offering a range of options for dining, events, and room arrangements. In this case, you would need to provide a variety of menu options, flexible event spaces, and customised room layouts.
Global Business Travel Industry Bounces Back in 2023
According to the latest GBTA Business Travel Outlook Poll, the global business travel industry rebounded in 2023. The majority of professionals in the industry say that business travel has reached near-full recovery this year compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Domestic business travel bookings stand at 76% of 2019 levels, while international bookings reached 70%. Challenges and barriers impacting the industry this year include corporate budgets keeping up with price increases, inflation/recession concerns, and geopolitical events.
The top priorities for the industry in 2024 are cost management, traveller safety, and sustainability. And there is split sentiment regarding the potential impact of AI on the industry.
💡 With corporate budgets struggling to keep up with price increases, hotels should consider offering competitive rates or creating value-added packages for their business clients. Consider flexible booking and cancellation policies, complimentary services, or loyalty programs to ensure repeat business.
With domestic and international bookings on the rise, hotels need to make sure they are prepared to accommodate this increase in 2024.
Airbnb and IGLTA Unveil New Travel Trends Among the LGBTQ+ Community
During the 40th Annual Global Convention of the IGLTA in Puerto Rico, Airbnb presented survey results on travel trends among the LGBTQ+ community.
The survey found that over 60% of LGBTQ+ respondents plan to travel more than twice in 2024, with Latin America being the second most desired destination after Europe. The top countries they want to visit are Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia, and Brazil.
80% of LGBTQ+ travellers have stayed in an Airbnb listing, and more than 50% believe that Airbnb reduces the risk of discrimination.
💡 To attract and satisfy LGBTQ+ travellers, hotels should ensure they have clear non-discrimination policies in place. They should promote inclusivity and acceptance in their practices and services, similar to Airbnb’s stance on discrimination. Forming partnerships with organisations like the IGLTA can help hotels better understand and cater to the needs of LGBTQ+ travellers.
ABTA Launches the UK Travel Confidence Index
ABTA has launched the UK Travel Confidence Index, which measures the confidence level of the UK population in terms of travelling overseas. The index revealed an overall score of +41, with package holidaymakers and those who book with travel professionals being the most confident to travel, scoring +70 and +72, respectively.
The index also identified key areas where travel companies can improve customer confidence, including travel insurance and financial protection in case the travel company goes bust. Booking with an ABTA member was also considered important by 41% of respondents.
💡 In light of the information from ABTA’s UK Travel Confidence Index, hotels can undertake several actions to boost customer confidence. First, they should make sure they have all the necessary protocols to handle any disruptions caused by external factors such as extreme weather conditions.
The second thing hotels should consider is partnering with trusted travel insurance providers. This will address guest concerns about being financially protected in unforeseen circumstances. If not already a member, hotels should consider joining ABTA or similar associations to boost their credibility and customer trust.
Thank You for Reading Hospitality Highlights – 7th November 2023
Here’s To Your Success 🥂