2020 was tough but it is behind us, and there are many lessons we have learnt when it comes to business approaches for 2021. As always, when it comes to business success, the customer is firmly in the driving seat, and so building and nurturing relationships with potential and existing customers is essential. How do you do this? The solution is simple; understand what your customers need and desire and translate this into how you approach them. 

What do the statistics say? The research shows that your what your customers will want when engaging with your businesses in 2021 are: 

  • Positive online engagement  

  • Ability to trust your brand  

  • Safety, convenience and flexibility 

  • Opportunities to support you and to see greater fairness within and for the industry 

But how do you translate customer desires into business offerings? In this article we highlight the ways that you can adapt your business strategy to fulfil the desires of your customers as you go into this new year with refreshed outlook. 

Tom Aikens

Tom Aikens, Muse, London.

Customers are seeking positive online customer engagement 

Online customer engagement is key to success in 2021. With 97% of your customers finding out about your business online, 86% of them will spend more with your business if you offer great customer experience. 

2020 saw a decided transition to the digital sphere, and social networks are now key for marketing strategy with 73% of customers spending more time on social media platforms now than they were at the beginning of 2020. With in-person communications still limited, customers want to engage with your brand online, and 58% of your customers will remain loyal if you have kept them informed with timely, relevant communications during the pandemic-period. Customers are desiring a more personal connection with restaurants, hotels and bars in the times of social distancing. 

Many customers feel that the online space is filled with too much negativity, and 35% want to see more positive communications. The key to tapping into this is to create positive online communities that translate directly into sales for your business. TWISPER is the first platform with only positive recommendations and offers your customers the ability to check out your business profile, see what your business is offering, and allows them to book a table or room directly with you without costing you a cent in commission. 

Barbie Green

Barbie Green, London

Your customer wants to feel special and appreciated by your business, and positive engagement, such as an automated and customized Thank You Message to those that favorite or recommend your business on TWISPER is the perfect way to maintain that all important customer connection.   

Customers want to be able to trust your business before making a purchasing decision. Look for authentic and low-cost ways to increase customer trust

With restrictions and uncertainty ever prevalent in the landscape of 2021, customers are seeking to visit hotels, restaurants and bars that they can trust. A recent psychology study on post-pandemic customers, found that individuals are highly reactive to the choices made by others, especially those that they trust. 84% of potential customers will trust and try out your business if it is recommended by someone close to them. They need the reassurance of their social network when making purchasing decisions. In fact, they favour personal recommendations over impersonal online reviews. On TWISPER, your loyal customers don’t rate you, they recommend you to their network of friends and followers, giving you free and efficient exposure in the form of digital word-of-mouth marketing. This translates to 67% of your customers’ network trying out your place when your customer leaves a recommendation for your business on TWISPER. 

Customers want safety, convenience and flexibility when it comes to choosing a place to eat, sleep or drink

With 85% of customers trusting hotels, restaurants and bars that are seen to have solid health and safety protocols in place, communicate your procedures online so that your customers can feel confident that you have their best interests at heart. 

What better way to reassure them that you are doing the utmost to take care of them, than through the network effect? Customers are reassured by familiarity and personal connection and finding your business through a friend’s recommendation offers both important factors. 

Of equal concern as safety for customers when booking a place to eat, sleep or drink, is potential disruption to their plans. When it comes to booking, ordering and planning travel arrangements, customers want convenience and flexibility. 

An example of both convenience and safety can be found in the humble QR code. Although they have been around for a while, QR codes have really become a solution for contact-less customer interactions. Customers can check out your menu on TWISPER or connect to your Wi-Fi, simply by scanning a TWISPER QR code at their table. 

Another obvious trend has been the move to online ordering. Even in 2019, online delivery orders made up a notable portion of restaurant sales. With the evolution of the pandemic, the convenience of online ordering, has seen 20% of restaurant customers spend more on takeout than they did on dinning in. Encouragingly, research shows that a new customer that orders with you online, is 67% more likely to visit your restaurant or bar when restrictions are lifted. 

Barista Lab Geneva

The Barista Lab, Geneva

With a sharp increase in remote working, many customers want to be able to travel for a mixture of work and leisure. 42% of individuals wish to travel more after the pandemic than before and 55% of customers want to travel for 14 days or more, where services are available for both work and leisure. Providing fast Wi-Fi, digital check-in and key cards, readapting spaces in your hotel, restaurant or bar for co-working areas and catering towards both families and solo travellers will be important in your customer approach this year. 

Your customers are ready to support you and see greater fairness across the industry 

Your local customers have been dreaming about you. Yes, you read that correctly, 44% say that local restaurants and bars are the first place they go when restrictions are loosened, and 25% say that they would book a hotel in their local area

Throughout the pandemic, the desire for community and community support has been at the forefront of customers’ minds. 72% of customers said they will make more of an effort to support local, and they want their local hotels, restaurants and bars to do the same. 65% of customers are more likely to trust a business that supported their community, staff and other frontline workers, and we have seen great examples of these initiatives across the hospitality industry in the past year. The same goes for sustainability, customers trust businesses that offer sustainable options when it comes to packaging, food, and experiences. 

The Barista Lab, Geneva

The Barista Lab, Geneva

Customers are becoming more conscious on how their own purchasing habits, and the platforms they use to make them are affecting your business. 70% of customers want booking and ordering options that do not cost the businesses they love commissions. With TWISPER’s 0% commission Booking Button, your business can avoid these unnecessary costs, and put your customers’ minds at ease that their money goes directly to your business and not to a third party.   

Take heart, your customers want to support you now more than ever. Giving them the platforms to do so is a great way to encourage them to spend their money at your business.   

The pandemic has caused some significant changes and adaptations to customer behaviour and spending habits that will endure well into 2021 and possibly well beyond. The good news is that if you can anticipate and understand these changes, you can better serve your existing customers and attract new ones. Positive recommendations to build customer trust, health and safety protocols provide customer reassurance, and personal online customer engagement to enhance your customer experience are all key to your success in 2021. 

TWISPER is on a mission to bring fairness and positivity back to the hospitality industry. Access our growing audience of 1.5 million users today and claim your business for free on TWISPER. During this unprecedented time, we are providing tips and advice from our team of experts to help you through recovery and restoration. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest industry news and TWISPER announcements.