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Last week we heard that “only a third of UK hospitality businesses are optimistic about their future due to high energy prices and rising food costs”. We know how tough it is out there right now, but on the flip side, we asked our team what they felt the sector can be optimistic about right now.

Despite the challenges posed by rising energy costs, people are still willing to travel and dine out – particularly with businesses that have clearly shifted their focus to creating great customer experiences. The demand for operators to go above and beyond to provide memorable and enjoyable experiences for their customers is evident. So, in addition to offering excellent food and service, they have to focus on creating welcoming, warm and inviting spaces that keep customers coming back for more.

Customer experience is not just about the physical aspects though. It’s also about the emotional connection with customers. This means making sure that your customers feel valued and appreciated, which is often as simple as getting to know customers and their preferences and tailoring your offer accordingly – something the best local pubs and restaurants do brilliantly. 
Marketing activity like loyalty programs and personalised emails are a great way of getting people through the door but it’s the operational side that will bring them back in by greeting customers well and giving them a positive experience from start to finish. We all know a positive experience can go a long way in this industry, as customers are more likely to return to businesses that they feel good about.

Ryan Tallent-Moore, Senior Brand Designer

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While not an overnight opportunity, UK hospitality businesses should be optimistic about the development of AI technology and how it can better improve their processes and communication internally and externally to customers. For example, AI could make chatbots and booking systems much more sophisticated and better equipped to deal with niche enquiries and requirements. In turn this would mean customers will feel that their queries have been dealt with quickly and with a much higher success rate.

AI could also be introduced during the customer’s booking journey to add a level of personalisation. This could be as simple as using the customer’s name to address them and prompting them to fill in the booking form to recommending certain dishes based on their preferences, recent visits and interests. This level of personalisation is guaranteed to make customers feel valued and attended to, before they’ve even stepped foot in the establishment – allowing for a seamless start to the customer’s journey.

Alina Ullah, Account Manager


Staycations are more ‘normal’ than ever before. With abroad travel having been off the cards during COVID (yes; that word again, but hey, it’s a moment in history now, isn’t it?), people have invested more in staycations over the last couple of years and have realised the value in visiting somewhere closer to home and experiencing the joys the UK has to offer. 

With this desire to explore more of the UK, with (hopefully) less travel stress and the occasional spot of good weather, businesses should look forward to more demand from travellers who are craving a valuable experience, spending more wisely and purposefully to improve the local economies they visit. Independence is being valued more and more, as well as a desire to gain from an experience, whether that be as simple as memories or even enhancing their wellbeing. 

Working remotely is also becoming more than just a passing trend, with F&B venues adapting to meet people’s needs by adding easy access to power, fast Wi-Fi and good coffee, with some even advertising private dining areas as bookable spaces for meetings. With people wanting to work anywhere (including on Staycation) rather than staying home or commuting to the office and generally being more flexible with work environments and timings, businesses should be optimistic about daytime customers searching for a consistent base that they can trust and want to visit regularly, hopefully leading to additional visits with friends and family to support their favourite spots even further – because they’ve already invested in a relationship with the brand and staff.

Emily East, Interior Designer

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