The last in our 2017 marketing blog series tackles the topic of industry trends and how to track them. To see the other blogs in this series see the headline article ‘Hospitality marketing from 101 to 2.0‘.
Your business should always be evolving to meet changes within its market, whether those changes involve your product offering, technology services or marketing approach.
It’s one thing to know what industry trends are in play, it’s another to adapt your business to do something about the changes. In the last blog of our 2017 marketing series we give you three simple tips on how to keep on top of these.
As you can see from the title of this blog, we’ve also promised to tell you when to take advantage of industry trends. We’re sorry to partly deceive but this is somewhat of a ‘trick’ statement. Why? Because the answer to when to take advantage of a trend is quite simply: as soon as possible. If you spot a trend that is going to have a marked impact on your industry, why wouldn’t you act upon it? To not do so will only leave you floundering behind competitors that do.
Companies that embrace change flourish, those that are slower on the uptake, suffer. There are numerous examples of this, especially in the food and retail market. Look at Pizza Hut, there’s a reason it was languishing behind competitors for so long: a lack of adaption.
The best way to keep ahead of industry trends is to work with a research and analyst house such as CGA or Nielsen, but this is not a cheap option, which is why it is mostly big name brands that use their services. For those of you without endless budget, here are three, free ways of catching the wave.
Industry research and trend reports.
You may not be paying them to represent your interests direct, but you can still keep an eye on the free reports and data released by, or in association with, industry analysts. The two best known analysts in the food hospitality market are the NDP Group and CGA.
NPD is a market research company operating in 20 countries, interviewing 12 million consumers a year and monitoring purchase data from over 165,000 outlets, while CGA produces regular reports on the out-of-home food and drink sector. This includes the Market Growth Monitor, Foodservice Price Index and Business Confidence Surveys.
Outside of these analyst houses, keep an eye on some of your market’s industry leaders, they will quite often produce their own original research and release summaries of the results.
Once you’ve found a report, spend some quality time reading the content. The executive summary may give you an oversight, but the quality content is found by delving deep into the text and considering what sections, and how, are most relevant for you.
Read the press
The hospitality industry is spoilt for choice when it comes to media titles, and for the most part, you don’t need to subscribe to a printed copy to keep updated with the latest industry news.
When you don’t have time to digest and analyse a 30-page analyst report, titles like PYMT, The Caterer and Eat Out are fantastic for gaining a quick, daily, overview of market movements and announcements. Pick two-three that you feel best represent your space and put ten minutes aside each day to glance through them. Better still, subscribe to to their newsletters and get the top news of the day straight to your inbox.
Listen to the people that matter
The people best placed to tell you about trends in the market – and which ones you should be jumping on – are your own customers. It is, after all, them that you’re trying to please.
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for feedback from customers, especially if they are regular spenders. Find out what their needs are, what changes would they like to see you make and how do they see the market changing? You don’t need to sit down and interrogate them to do this. Depending on the makeup of your business, either engage them in a simple chat by the collection point, leave feedback cards on tables or send out a customer newsletter inviting feedback – perhaps in exchange for a entry into a small prize draw (if you think the incentive is needed).
Every industry will undergo change at different times and different speeds – but how you keep track of those changes differs little between markets. The most important piece of advice is to keep your eyes open. Be receptive to market movements, watch social media, evaluate how your competitors adapt their businesses and read as many industry reports as time will allow.
Never be complacent or you’ll end up last to the table and at a distinct disadvantage to your competitors. If you’re playing catch-up from the start, it will be very hard to pull ahead. Embrace evolution and you will avoid the difficulties that come with being behind the trend.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.