The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on the hospitality industry, which has arguably borne the brunt of the trading difficulties and economic measures to this point. Looking ahead, this hard-hit industry has been given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead and evolve to meet the changing market landscape.
Industville offer a huge range of stylish lighting solutions and their expert team have a vast amount of experience working on commercial projects from small coffee shops to large hotels. Looking at lighting design as part of the bigger picture, they understand that interiors play a vital role in improving the customer experience and that lighting is an important consideration within this. With many factors to consider, Marketa Rypacek, Managing Director at Industville Ltd, shares her expert advice;
Enticing Customers Back
Not only are businesses facing economic challenges, but psychological ones too. Marketa comments “We must all now adapt to new guidelines, standards and values which have and will continue to influence our social behaviour, and hence our behaviour as consumers.” One of the most significant changes is in terms of priority – a survey by McKinsey in June found that, in the UK, dining in a restaurant was one of the least-popular activities in the short term for consumers.
However, there are also some positive shifts in consumer behaviour due to the pandemic that offer the hospitality industry tremendous opportunities. Studies have found that consumer loyalty has been eroded, as customers seek to find businesses that align with their beliefs. These include:
- Care: 18% of UK customers have chosen a new business because of how it cares for the safety of its employees (McKinsey).
- Local: 52% of business leaders are expecting increased consumer support for local businesses (CGA).
- Sustainable: 33% of consumers say the sustainable sourcing of ingredients is more important to them now than it was pre-lockdown (CGA).
What hospitality customers want and expect has notably shifted in the wake of this ‘new normal’. As a result, it is not enough for hospitality businesses to simply open their doors and expect business as usual. Restaurants, hotels, cafes, clubs and so on, must embrace the opportunities that lie ahead and adapt their practices to satisfy these new customer requirements.
Embrace the Hard Reset
The coronavirus pandemic has made hospitality businesses rethink their processes and proposition. Marketa adds “The hospitality industry has been forced to press the hard reset button, and consequently has been given the opportunity to start over. It’s a chance for companies to make fundamental changes to how they run their business and I truly believe what’s just as important, is how these changes are represented when it comes to the new customer experience.” Marketa continues “At the most basic level, layouts need to be reimagined in the wake of new restrictions and requirements. Social distancing must be workable for your location, both in terms of customers or guests and employees.”
Rethinking Hospitality Design for the Modern Consumer
Whilst it can be tempting to try and keep as high a capacity as is possible, customers and staff must feel safe and protected at all times. Otherwise, people will not want to enter. Marketa advises “The measures businesses have taken need to be clearly visible and explained to facilitate this return to trading.” Looking beyond safety, hospitality companies must reconsider their customer experience in light of recent changes. Marketa adds “At Industville, we understand just how much the interior of a hospitality business contributes to the customer experience, which is now more important than ever. The post-COVID, modern consumer expects the businesses they interact with to stand for something they believe in, whether it’s supporting the local community by using local suppliers for example, or perhaps committing to a company ethos of reducing environmental impact. Showcasing those company values through your interior is vitally important, especially when trying to entice consumers back to your location.”
Hospitality companies must install confidence with social distancing measures and safety guidelines whilst creating a hospitable environment in which customers can relax and enjoy each other’s company once more. From the moment guests walk through your door to the reception or entrance, they begin to notice various aspects that contribute towards shaping their all-important first impression; therefore, your choice of lighting can significantly affect the way they view your establishment. Marketa advises “The key here is to maintain the brand concept of your hotel, bar or restaurant. Lighting should be used to create a luxurious and welcoming feel, resulting in a place your customers will want to spend time in and return to. To achieve this, lighting should be approached in a layered manner. This ensures all the architectural and design features of the room are highlighted, from ceiling to floor. Embrace the whole range of lighting sources available from pendant lights, recessed lights and chandeliers, to track lighting, lamps and spot lighting. I advise customers to vary the lighting in a room to create little pockets and pools of light. Accent lighting can then be used to highlight a piece of artwork, plants or architectural features in the room. At Industville, our exclusive finishes are available in an array of lighting options, making it easy to mix and match different lights to create a layered yet coordinated scheme throughout your space.”
Your lighting should reflect your brand story and hence you will want to use lighting made from the highest quality materials. Not only will this enhance the overall atmosphere, it can improve perceptions of your brand, giving it individual flair. Marketa explains “At Industville all of our lights are handcrafted from quality materials such as pure brass or copper. Investing in quality also means the lights will last longer and with energy consumption levels likely to be high in hotels, bars and restaurants, this is something to bear in mind. Industville bulbs utilise eco-friendly, cost-effective LED technology making them both practical and stylish.”
Image courtesy of Bocca Social and Industville