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Food and drink trends for 2020

Posted By Casual Dining Show, 18 February 2020
Updated: 10 February 2020

Which key food and drink trends will be shaping menus in the year to come?  That’s exactly what leading trade show Casual Dining asked some of its regular visitors.

While responses were varied – banana blossom, bergamot, better beef, mussels, seacuterie, kohlrabi, Asian broths, premium fried chicken, protein drinks, British seasonal produce, prebiotic foods, fermented veg, alcohol free seltzers, coloured gins, and Picpoul wine for example – the majority agree that health, sustainability and plant-based innovations will continue to have a big influence on what we’ll be eating and drinking.

Read the full comments here: www.casualdiningshow.co.uk/news/food-drink-trends-for-2020.

 

Delicious, fun & meat free Brian Trollip, ops director at Dishoom

We’re all pretty exhausted by the constant squabbling, politics and polarisation that seems to be happening globally.  All the anger is tiresome, and I think that 2020 will be great for anyone who helps people to escape for a while and to have fun and let go.

 

Sustainability = the new norm – Jane Treasure, food & beverage director at PizzaExpress

Consumers will be increasingly focused on their impact on the world and documenting it. Strong sustainable credentials to all ingredients and removal of unnecessary packaging will be expected and become the norm. 

 

Mindful eating – Amir Ali, culinary innovation strategist at Mitchells & Butlers

Aquaculture has traditionally been given a bad rap – but things are changing and eating mussels is one way of getting very good quality protein while having a very small impact on the planet. 

 

Small colourful dishes, packed with flavour – Nisha Katona MBE, CEO of Mowgli Street Food restaurants

Indian, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese cultures major on flavour, colour and chaos.  People are far keener to have a table full of colour, flavour variety and a sharing way of eating.

 

Flexibility and variety – Nicola Underwood, food development manager at Thwaites

I think consumers will become more conscious of the choices they are making and the brands they are aligning to.  Shorter supply chains, less processing of ingredients and heritage will all play an increasing role.

 

Value for money – Charlotte Huckvale, product development and innovation manager at Marston’s

The biggest opportunities will be particularly around driving experience for consumers. Customers will still want to see value for money, not just through price but through provenance and quality.

 

Meat substitutes will be big – Mark Teed, food implementation manager at Star Pubs & Bars

Customers are still eating red meat but are more frequently choosing to have meat free days.  We’ll see things like banana blossom become mainstream and vegetables being added into meat products, to enhance taste and cut CO2 emissions.

 

Drinks for all seasons: Simon Woplin, head of innovation - F&B at Ambassador Theatre Group

Some long held key Sunshine brands will see more competition, with anyone who can come up with a 21st century version of Pimm’s being a sure-fire long-term bet.

 

Casual Dining show – free trade registration

Casual Dining returns to ExCeL London on 25-26 March.  For further information and to book free tickets, visit http://www.casualdiningshow.co.uk

 

 

 

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Forget Spam, it’s time to get engaged with insight

Posted By Martin Steels - Head of Propositions, BT Wi-fi and Commercial Sport, 13 February 2020
Updated: 12 February 2020

The right message, to the right person, at the right time.  A pretty basic Marketing concept.  But with traditional methods of customer data collection, generic targeting and messages dropping into our inboxes randomly throughout the day, there is plenty of opportunity for improvement within the hospitality industry.

The first challenge is to get to the right person, or more specifically, to get the right email. All too often our efforts to collect data leads to less than useful results (micky@mouse.com!). No one likes getting spammed, and so when signing up to get a free drink the typical thing to do is provide an alternative account that’s role is to soak up spam like a sponge.

Collecting customer information has traditionally relied on a value exchange – you give the customer a discount or incentive and in exchange they hand over their details.  Quid Pro Quo.  This approach has worked in the past, customers do like incentives after all. However, this is often an expensive way to collect data. And worse, even assuming the given email is a legitimate one, considering the majority of customers don’t tick the now-mandatory marketing consent box, this expensively acquired contact is rendered useless.  Quid, yes, but where’s the quo?

And what about the right message? Even if you do obtain a valid email, and get marketing consent, what’s the best that you can do with it?  You could send a blanket email or a generic promotion, but this can be a real shot in the dark. Often, the most intelligence that can be applied is knowing a customer’s birthday resulting in the classic “It’s your birthday next week get a free bottle of prosecco when you book a table”. 

To truly hit the sweet spot, the recipe requires more than just the right email, message and basic demographic data. You need to know and understand who your customers are, how they behave and what is relevant to them and at what time. To do this marketeers must look beyond traditional content-based profiling, such as Age/Gender, and instead utilise the powerful insight that context-based profiling has to offer. Has the customer visited recently? Did they stay long? What do they like? What do they think of your brand? What are they looking for today?

Context-based profiling works by taking rich personal information available from social media profiles and combining this with an understanding of on-site behaviour in your locations. Both these facets of data can be gathered using public Wi-Fi and in practice is a win-win for both parties, and here’s why. Customers sign on to your network with their Facebook account; not only is this quick and easy for them, but in return you get a wealth of personal data and every time they visit any of your locations you build up a picture of their behaviour.

 

Now, it’s all well and good gathering insightful data but the ROI is reliant on how the data is used. The icing on the cake is that the very same data gathering technology has the functionality to serve the right message, to the right person at just the right time; That customer who has been three times this week, likes real ale and tends to spend around 90 minutes with you?  - Why not push a drinks promotion to him over the wi-fi at the end of the Liverpool match?

This level of personalised and timely marketing creates a virtuous circle whereby your customers no longer feel they are being spammed. Instead, your customers receive content they are genuinely interested in, and as a result are happy to give their details and actively engage with your brand and services.  It’s time for your business to flourish in the hospitality industry by unlocking the power of customer insight and making impersonal marketing a thing of the past.  

 

 

 

 BT have officially launched their new Wi-Fi product, BT Insight & Engagement, which brings advanced analysis and targeted marketing capabilities to their portfolio. For more information on how BT Wi-Fi can help your business please visit www.btwifi.com/business

 

 

 

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Using Technology to Drive the Guest Experience

Posted By BT, 30 January 2020
Updated: 29 January 2020
An evolving passion for experience

A well-documented shift has taken place in the consumer consciousness in recent years. Likely to be contributed to by a number of factors: environmental, social, economic and political, the consumption of experience over commodity is increasingly defining the way we live our lives as a greater value is attributed to lifestyle quality versus personal possessions. With a backdrop of a new approach to consumption; ever-increasing property prices creating a new space for the build to rent sector, lease-hire and interest free formats on offer for the acquisition of high-ticket items; a focus on ownership is losing out to a focus on experience, and quality of experience at that. And there has been a seismic shift to spending on things to do, rather than things to own.

In this environment, the sharing economy has flourished. We holiday in others’ homes, we share rides and crucially we talk about those experiences of collective consumption in increasingly public forums. Today’s consumer wants context to their experience and they will seek out the experience of others to base that upon. In an era where consumers document their lives digitally, experience has become social currency. And with the advent of social media, sharing the experience has become as important as the experience itself.

A unique opportunity

So what does this mean for the UK hospitality sector? Well the evolving passion for experience can be seen in both consumer spend and prioritisation of future spend. Whilst consumer confidence drops, leisure spend remains high with all categories of spend in YOY growth. However increased caution is on the horizon with 30% of consumers predicting a reduced spend on leisure in the coming year. *

But whilst some risk may lie ahead, there remains a significant opportunity for operators to capitalise on this experience-focussed generation. By combining physical retail with experiential leisure and providing avenues through which consumers can enhance, review and share their experiences, hospitality operators can fully capitalise on this shift in consumer focus. 

Facilitate the sharing of experience

And for a generation where immediacy is key and sharing is vital, fast and robust wi-fi offers a platform on which the currency of experience can be traded. By facilitating and encouraging the sharing of positive experience by offering a fast connection, and by pushing users to review sites to share their experience in a meaningful way, operators can cater for the modern guests’ requirements whilst also seeing significant value return.

Understand the customer to enhance their experience

Whilst fast wi-fi can enrich the guest experience, it’s not just about speed of connection. With smart wi-fi comes a range of opportunities for hospitality operators to get closer to their customers.  Through a simple social login, operators can access rich insight on who their customers are; in-depth demographics, a view of their interests and hobbies – detailed profiling which has historically only been available for those operating in the online space. By understanding who their customers are and being able to make informed decisions about what they might want, hospitality operators can tailor customer engagement and deliver a personalised experience which is matched to their customer’s profile. And in a landscape where quality of experience is king, building an offer which is uniquely fitted to that guest creates an enhanced ability to drive loyalty.

*Source: Deloitte, Experience is Everything: The UK Leisure Consumer, June 2019

 

 

BT has this week launch their new wi-fi product, BT Engagement, which brings advanced customer insight and engagement capabilities to their suite of services. For more information on BT Wi-Fi for your business, please visit www.btwifi.com/business

 

 

  

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The future of the hospitality workforce is HUMAN

Posted By Sam Coulstock FIH, Business Relations Director at Umbrella Training, 14 January 2020
Updated: 10 January 2020

Every day as we go about our lives we are forced to use the digital world, from the self-serving tills in the supermarket or using your phone to do your daily banking, we are surrounded by technology wherever we go.

 

According to PwC analysisAI, robotics and other forms of smart automation have the potential to bring great economic benefits, contributing up to $15 trillion to global GDP by 2030. This extra wealth will also generate the demand for many jobs, but there are also concerns that it could displace many existing roles.

 

It is also reported by PwC, that by the mid-2030s, up to 30% of jobs could be automatable, with slightly more men being affected in the long run as autonomous vehicles and other machines replace many manual tasks where their share of employment is higher. 

 

During the first and second waves, however, women could be at greater risk of automation due to their higher representation in clerical and other administrative functions. These estimates are median values across 29 countries, with the UK being very close to the average.

 

This research has made me realise the impact of automation for the hospitality sector could potentially affect the entry level workers as it is possible these roles may be replaced with automation.

 

As a training provider we work closely with the government and other stakeholders and use a variety of technology within apprenticeships. The lifelong learning aspect and adaptability is becoming even more crucial to every day businesses especially those that are within the service sector. I am noticing in my own world that technology makes my role more productive and more streamlined, but the one attribute it doesn’t have is the personality that is needed in business relations. The old saying of “people buy from people” is a classic example of this and one I live by. This is known to me as “Emotional intelligence”.

 

Will hospitality be taken over by machines and should we be worried about the future work force being displaced by new technologies? I feel that human interaction can be so powerfulin the customer service and creating magical moments for our guests.  This in my opinion is a true hospitality skill and something a computer cannot achieve. 

 

When it comes to hospitality, time and again it’s customer service that enables certain businesses within the industry to stand out from the competition. Repeat business comes from the human interaction and not how efficient an automated service has been.

 

I recently experienced something in a hotel which really made me think. A couple arrived for a coffee in the lounge area. The waitress overheard the couple talking about their day and it was one of their birthdays. The waitress immediately came back with a cake and candle and turned that moment into a positive memory for the couple. They were blown away and so happy. Automation, no matter how you programme it, cannot have the same emotional impact as this.

 

Don’t get me wrong, automation has its purpose and by utilising dedicated online platforms, companies can gain access to insights of customer history, online bookings and support learning and development teams with integrated learning platforms.  All aimed at improving and maintain excellent customer service levels. They can also cut down the time and money spent on recruitment.

 

With chatbots, virtual assistants and personalised booking platforms becoming more mainstream, the opportunities and obstacles artificial intelligence can bring to hospitality needs to be embraced and talked about in the training of our future workforce. 

 

It is apparent we must keep investing in our workforces withworld-class meaningful learning and development programmes, so we train and nurture that emotional intelligence. That way, we can keep on making wonderful memories for our guests so that they keep returning. 

 

 

 

For more information on Umbrella Training - visit here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to integrate low and no alcohol into your offering

Posted By Club Soda, 09 January 2020
Updated: 10 January 2020

With 8.6million people across the UK moderating their alcohol intake, having a great low and no alcohol offer in your venue is more important than ever. According to Marston’s Beer Report, ⅔ of consumers have visited a licensed venue and not drunk alcohol; an indication that the majority of people buying non-alcoholic drinks when they are out are moderators rather than teetotallers - they still choose to drink alcohol.

How to fit these new drinks into your offer is really simple and will open up a whole new stream of revenue for your venue. Why not try our three step method below.

Taste it

You wouldn’t sell a new wine or beer before you tried it and the same applies to alcohol-free drinks. The Club Soda Guide is a great place to look for new drinks as it lists over 1000 different low and no alcohol options; from beers and spirits to drinks categories you might not have even heard of like kombuchas or shrubs.

It allows you to find the non-alcoholic drinks that would best suit your customers. If you’re a craft beer spot, try Lucky Saint or Nirvana Brewery. Or if cocktails are your speciality, Lyre’s or Everleaf are good options. Then give it a try and see if you think it would work behind your bar. Have an open mind and put yourself in the shoes of someone choosing not to drink alcohol.

When you’ve done that, you should…

Trial it

Start by introducing a couple of options and seeing how they go down. These new drinks won’t necessarily fly off the shelves (although they might!) so see it as an experiment to test what demand looks like.

Talk about it

Make sure that your staff are introduced to the new drinks and have tried them. Shout about them on social media and A-boards. Avoid placing the drinks at the bottom of a fridge or at the back of the shelf. Put them front and centre so you draw people’s attention to them. If your customers don’t know what options are available, they’re unlikely to buy them. 

Once you’ve tried these options in your venue, think about how they have gone down. If they haven’t sold well, maybe try a different style of drink or promotion. If they’ve been a success, there’s no need to stop there! A good low and no alcohol offer is about catering to the same variety of customers that you would with your alcohol offer.

Once you’re happy with your offer, you can list your venue on the Club Soda Guide, our guide to the best places for mindful drinkers.

The alcohol-free market is growing fast. Follow these steps to make sure you ride that wave and reap the benefits, rather than ending up left behind.

You can try over 60 low and no alcohol drinks at Club Soda’s Mindful Drinking Festival on the 18th and 19th January. www.mindfuldrinkingfestival.com


Club Soda

https://joinclubsoda.com/

 

 

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Green Tourism Response to UKHospitality Food Service Management Market Report 2019

Posted By Andrea Nicholas, Managing Director of Green Tourism, 12 November 2019

UKHospitality’s 2019 Food Service Management Market Report evidences the state of the UK contract catering sector - companies catering at events, meetings and conventions, sports facilities and stadia, offices, schools, prisons and hospitals.

With uncertainty over Brexit, the economy and staffing, the insights also focus on the sector’s concerns about sustainability, food waste and the move away from single use plastics –responding to consumers’, clients’ and governments’ focus on these issues.

At Green Tourism we’re also dealing with these issues daily; what’s happening in the food service sector reflects broad trends across all of tourism and hospitality. Green Tourism promotes a greener, cleaner environment for people, places and the planet.

UKHospitality’s survey of contract caterers identified that customer demand for information on the authenticity and sustainable sourcing of the food they eat shows no signs of abating. Every operator surveyed stated that sustainability is important to their business (70% reported that it is critically important). 100% identified action they had taken to find sustainable alternatives to single use plastics, with other actions focusing on sustainable procurement and sourcing), waste management and reducing meat options.

While contract catering demonstrates its environmental and sustainability actions, the sector is only 10% of total tourism, travel and hospitality employment in the UK (293,000 jobs of just under 3m: Source ONS). Which begs the question, how is the rest of the sector responding to climate change, environmental pressures and sustainability issues?

Big changes are happening in the world of tourism and hospitality. The perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies is impacting consumer and government attitudes to the environment and in consequence, to tourism. The global climate emergency – and its accelerating momentum - is likely to create a more complex environment for us all to operate in.

Operators are coming under intense pressure from owners, stakeholders, government and consumers to measure their impact on the environment and find ways to mitigate that impact. What is required is a mechanism for measuring the impacts of individual tourism, hospitality and travel operations on the environment. Green Tourism is one such appraisal system. 

Who we are

With 2,400 Green Tourism accredited members across the sector, our role is to listen to their sustainability issues - often derived from their customers - and anticipate consumer and environmental trends (including potential government regulation) while translating these into internationally respected accreditation criteria for members to achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold awards.

With the continuous prioritisation of the environment, sustainability and mitigation of climate change, Green Tourism offers pragmatic advice and support to operators to be responsible and sustainable businesses as they move towards zero waste and emissions, reduced water and energy usage, ethical buying, being local, minimising food waste and miles.

With our assessment criteria integrated with the UNWTO 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, our assessment scheme can reference where a facility meets or falls short of an SDG and what actions are required to enhance an operator’s positioning.

 

 

For more information visit www.green-tourism.com or contact Andrea Nicholas on andrea@green-tourism.com

 

 

 

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Why employee experience is the key to gaining a competitive advantage in hospitality

Posted By Jennie Drimmer, Head of Sales at Humanforce, 29 October 2019
Updated: 28 October 2019

Did you know that employee turnover in the hospitality industry is 15% higher than the national average? When it costs an average of £75 for each casual worker you add to your team, the costs can quickly add up. Here’s how to avoid that situation and help your people develop long-term careers by rethinking your approach to the employee experience (EX) for casual workers.

How can the hospitality industry improve its image among workers?

I attended the UKHospitality Summer Conference and was heartened to see just how many companies are trying to deliver a better experience to frontline workers. Senior leaders repeatedly returned to a common theme: how do we make hospitality an attractive, desirable career choice?

The UK hospitality sector doesn’t have an issue with appealing to workers. After all, it employs 10% of the nation’s entire workforce. However, the current challenge is that the sector isn’t as good at retaining employees as it could be – hence the focus on creating better employee experiences. Fortunately, everyone I spoke to at the conference is determined to improve the situation. They genuinely want to do better at attracting, employing and retaining the best staff.

Now the challenge for company leaders is working out how to follow through on that aspiration and make hospitality an employer of choice. The best advice I could share with them was to ‘look after your frontline workers properly and they’ll look after your business.’

How hospitality companies can improve their employee experience

There are two reasons why I tell business leaders to focus on the frontline. Often, so much focus is put on salaried staff; but you need to think about your frontline workers in equal terms. It’s important to retain talent across your entire business – especially when it comes to the people who usually build the closest relationships with your customers.

Secondly, it’s essential for hospitality leaders to understand that engagement is about building sustainable and rewarding relationships, while employee experience is the holistic input and driver to this. Building a positive and lasting relationship with your frontline workforce is about far more than a catchy employment brand. It’s also about how work fits into their lives – how you help empower staff to manage their hours and juggle their shifts.

Sometimes, it’s just simple personal interactions that make all the difference. On average, people receive thanks for a good job every four and a half months. We can all understand where this comes from, given workloads and workforce sizes, but even small positive actions can have a major impact on the overall experience. Technology today makes it easy and efficient to deliver personal touch at scale.

Are you asking the right questions about your casual workers?

When it comes to the employee experience for casual workers, I believe it’s vital to keep asking yourself tough questions. Do they feel connected to you as an employer? Do they care about your company?

If the answer to these questions is no, it’s time to be honest with yourself. Are your frontline workers truly happy to be there, or are you throwing away your investment by not looking after them properly? In an era of record unemployment, it won’t take long to see the answer in your frontline customer delivery.

 Humanforce 
https://humanforce.com/

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Offset rising staff costs with menu, purchasing and inventory excellence

Posted By Fourth , 10 October 2019

Staff costs are often the biggest expense of any hospitality business – one that has risen and risen over the last few years. According to the UKHospitality Christie & Co Benchmarking Report at the end of last year, payroll costs stood at 29.4% of turnover, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the year before.

Obviously businesses are looking at ways to help reduce these costs through things like better forecasting, smarter schedules and employee retention. But savvy operators are now also turning their attention to the product side of the business to help offset some of these costs – by optimising menus, purchasing processes and inventory management.

Maintaining menu profitability
  • Know your sales trends. Get visibility into what is selling and what isn’t. Combine this data with the profitability of your dishes and this will 
    help 
  • you decide which items to keep on your menu, which should be removed and where tweaks can be made. 
  • Develop a single set of master data. This should include supplier catalogues and pricing so you can keep on top of exactly what each recipe costs, and adjust accordingly. This information should also flow into your purchasing system so everything is accurate and up-to-date.
  • See the impact of changes. If one ingredient in a recipe is swapped for a cheaper alternative, how does that impact the popularity of the dish? With analytics you can see how these changes affect the performance of the menu item.
  •  Let technology help you manage the process. Trying to manage all of this information manually results in errors, out-of-date prices and large, unwieldy spreadsheets that make the whole process less effective.

 

 

 

Optimising purchasing
  • Trade electronically. Information from suppliers can be uploaded into the system to make sure everything is correct and in the right place. You can place orders electronically, and also get update messages from suppliers on the status of orders, so you know exactly what’s coming from where.
  • Enforce supplier lists and delivery schedules. Lock down supplier lists so sites can only purchase from approved suppliers. Establish routing delivery systems to reduce costly ad-hoc purchases.
  • Manage invoices by exception. With 3-way auto-matching of the invoice, the original order and the goods received note, you can focus only on those invoices that have an issue – reducing admin time
 
Managing inventory
  • Start tracking waste. By getting a good understanding of exactly what food is being wasted and why, you can identify the issues and see where savings can be made. If a dish on your menu is regularly unfinished by customers, maybe the portion size is too big. And if an ingredient is often thrown away because it’s going past its expiration date, then you’re probably ordering too much.
  • Eliminate paper. Use mobile technology to get rid of paper from the inventory management process. With manual systems, it’s easy for errors to creep in which take more time to resolve.

  

 

 

 

 

 

For more detail on how to offset rising staff costs with optimised menus, purchasing and inventory, download our complimentary white paper here.

 

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Why the pub sector is an attractive ‘Alternative Market’ asset class

Posted By James Shorthouse, Head of Alternative Markets at Colliers International, 17 September 2019
From mysterious investment to sought after asset class

Pub operators have been paying rents to their landlords for centuries, but they were traditionally seen as a niche and somewhat mysterious type of investment. In the 1990s a financier called Guy Hands had the revolutionary idea of securitising  the income that a pubco received from its tenants. This contributed to a series of events which culminated in the whole pub sector becoming a sought after and recognisable asset class, appealing to an ever wider spectrum of investors.

A return to major transactions

In January 2019, Ei Group  sold a portfolio of 370 free of tied pubs to US Private Equity firm Davidson Kempner – a  fantastic illustration of how far the sector has come when viewed from the perspective of a commercial property investor.

The significance of the transaction is not just its size, although at £348 million it was  the pub sector’s biggest deal for two years. The fact that the leases are all free of tie, and that 90 per cent of the assets are let to private operators or small multiple operators, as opposed to the major plc covenants, is the highly significant feature. 

This is the aspect that sets the deal apart from other transactions, and confirms the pub sector’s place alongside hotels and healthcare as an attractive Alternative Market investment asset class.

In the last 2 months there have been two even larger deals; the £3bn sale of Ei Group to Stonegate, and the takeover of Greene King by a Hong Kong based investor, CKAH, in a £4.6bn deal which, if approved by shareholders, will dwarf any previous transaction. However these are both sales to parties who might be regarded as experienced pub owners and are of complex full businesses rather than being directly comparable to investment sales in other, more traditional, property classes. 

Pub portfolio opportunities

Pub portfolios are characterised by having a large number of (relatively) low value individual assets, all let on separate contracts, which gives the freeholder the opportunity to develop a proactive management strategy to enhance the assets. This may involve some selective disposals or acquisitions, targeted capital investment to increase income (benefiting both landlord and tenant), or the re-gearing and restructuring of leases to increase the investment value and give tenants improved security of tenure.

Investors in tied pub estates have been aware of these opportunities for years, and the tied lease model remains the backbone of the UK tenanted pub sector, but the owner of a tied estate requires infrastructure, systems and staff to manage their business. The owner of a free of tie estate, on the other hand, has much less involvement in their tenant’s day to day running of the pub, and consequently a much lower cost of running the portfolio. All of this makes a free of tie portfolio much more analogous to a traditional commercial property portfolio.

Tip of the iceberg

While deals such as the Ei Group disposal and British Land’s sale of its remaining pub investments to Aprirose make headlines, they are the tip of the iceberg. Under the surface there is a growing steady flow of smaller and individual transactions taking place. Buyers range from private individuals through to some of the UK’s biggest pension funds and global Private Equity investors.

Inevitably as demand increases yields have tightened, and the circa 7.6 per cent Net Initial Yield achieved by Ei Group is comparable to a number of other sales. However, given the very low yields achieved for industrial and office property, and the volatility and risk attached to the retail sector, it is easy to see why investors are still drawn to the pub sector. Indeed, the sheer volume of enquiries Colliers has received over the last 12 months suggests pub investments really have achieved the recognition they deserve. 

 

 

to get in touch with James - click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can technology augment customer experience in hospitality?

Posted By Wes Thompson, Director of Sales at Bizzon, 30 July 2019

At a recent UKHospitality event, I asked one of the panel participants, a leader in a major hotel chain: “Do you think hotels should consider in part, becoming more of a technology company?  Do you think hotels should place technology higher on their strategic agenda?”

He said “No, hotels should keep on doing what they do best - delivering great hospitality experiences.” and I agree. 

Great customer experiences are at the core of the hotel business, but what if technology can improve upon the greatness of experiences provided at every level? 

Why, what exactly do you mean Wes? 

I mean, what if you could know a lot more about your guest at every step of their experience?

Learn what they like, what is important to them - and I do not mean THEM as a busload, but rather them as a couple, or even a single person. 

The What Ifs

What if they could order on the premises or on their way to your place using a mobile phone? Order automatically delivered to the right kitchen station or bar station, and you (or the shift manager) can see it was prepared and delivered on your phone. 

What if your customers could not just post on your social media channels, but have a positive interactive experience in doing so.  They share a photo on Instagram of their squad enjoying drinks at your hotel.  The hotel immediately comments on their post, saying they’ve applied a 10% discount to their open tab.  And what if that experience was completely automated so your staff didn’t have to do a thing.  Pretty cool, right?

What if your guests didn’t have to call down to reception to order room service, but ordered on their smartphones.  Or in a luxury boutique hotel, what if they ordered from a self-service kiosk on the wall. 

What if you wanted to reward loyal customers, but remove the manual sign-up processes, completely automated.  Just by tapping their card, the guests’ reward is applied.

Connect hotel inventory to the menu and the ordering system down to every ingredient or combination of toppings. When someone makes an order in person, via your website menu or app, inventory is updated. Low on rice?  Your technology partner could order it from your preferred vendor automatically. 

What if all this could scale from one boutique hotel to hundreds of locations around the world from a single, connected, omni-channel platform.

 Here and now…

Advancing technology means these interaction experiences can be created NOW.  Furthermore, Generation Z and Millennials expect them.  New indie hotels are on the rise and enjoying great success, as they provide them already.

So I guess, I agree.  Hotels should focus on what they do best – “providing great hospitality experience”.  But technology is not only useful so much as critical to enabling hotels to future-proof their business in the evolving customer expectations of interaction experience.

 

Read Bizzon's latest case study from a partnership with AccorHotels here. 

For more information on Bizzon please visit their website here. 

 

 

 

 

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