In the latest FHA Insider Special report ‘Experiential trends in hospitality: Behind the scenes’ published by FHA-HoReCa, Asia’s most comprehensive industry event for hospitality and foodservice supplies, industry experts shared their insights on what makes for a successful hospitality experience. With the expected growth of the global luxury travel market by US$2.5 trillion in the next five years and increasing demand for more personalisation and experiences among travellers, Asian hospitality industry players have the opportunity to offer unique concepts and enhanced services to grow their markets.
The report highlighted the growing importance of storytelling and how authentic and creatively crafted stories can contribute significantly to the success of an F&B or hospitality establishment. It also delved into the growing number of millennial travellers and their influence on the hospitality industry.
Serving up authenticity and memorable experiences
Noting that just serving a delicious meal is no longer the end of an experience, Ben Gregoire, Vice-President of CKP Hospitality Consultants, explained that, “Good hospitality is all about providing memorable experiences for guests. Today’s consumers are more discerning than ever.” Gregoire added that establishments must consider every single aspect of the guest experience — from the initial contact point to the moment they leave.
Agreeing, Anurag Bali, Assistant Vice-President, Food and Beverage, South East Asia & Australasia of the Shangri-La Group added, “It’s all about the guest experience and well-established, well-run concepts — a strong story.” Pointing out the dining trends now making “a strong story” across the region, Bali shared that restaurants and eateries that incorporate other elements such as decor or music, in addition to a strong menu, are also attracting diners in Asia.
Indeed, with consumers more well-travelled and knowledgeable about the flavours of different food or the origins of certain ingredients, restaurants striving for authenticity will focus more on their food stories. According to Nicole Fall, Founder of Asian Consumer Intelligence and Head of Trends at Capchavate, this trend has resulted in “a virtuous cycle of restaurants upping their game attempt-ing to recreate dishes as authentically as possible, whereas in the past, there was more emphasis on localisation or chang-ing particular flavours and ingredients to suit local palates.”
Using technology to engage
Technology is also a great enabler as F&B operators can now use digital tools to further enhance the customer experience. Eric Chia, CEO of cloud-based loyalty software provider Advocado noted that “while many hospitality service providers are focusing on the operations (efficiency and productivity) side of the business, we see a great opportunity to use technology to grow, nurture prospective customers, and eventually turn them to loyal fans.”
Chia pointed out that capturing consumer loyalty in the current digital age is becoming difficult as well. He advised business owners who want to achieve “maximum bang for their consumer acquisition buck” to adopt innovative ways to capture and grow their customer base.
Growing the generational markets
While millennials are the fastest growing segment in the luxury travel market, the hospitality industry should also look at catering to the different age groups such as the baby boomers. This latest trend would be an opportunity for the industry to create services that would promote more inclusivity among diverse age groups.
“In the Asian region, for example, generational family holidays are nothing new,” said Asian Consumer Intelligence’s Fall. “What is new is the recognition that different ages have different needs. Yet until relatively recently, families were lumped into the same category whether the member was grandma or the toddler.”
Asian Consumer Intelligence predicted that more emphasis will be placed on families’ distinctive needs without falling into the stereotypical tropes in the future. Consumers, regardless of age group, would be looking for seam-less experiences, both ‘in real life’ and online. AFJ