Everyone is more than a little fed-up with the restrictions placed on us by the pandemic. Businesses in the hospitality and gastronomy industries have taken a hit, and their customers want to support them. 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 44% say that local restaurants and bars are the first place they go when restrictions are loosened.
Our ethos at TWISPER is one of authentic positivity, transparency and fairness. Our platform is a positive ecosystem of businesses and the customers that love them. Though the past months have had many hard hits, we wanted to highlight five examples of customer support that have caught our eye and remind you what you’re fighting for.
Customers have been leaving positive recommendations to promote you to their friends
Just as Max and Eli Sussman, chefs and co-owners of Samesa Restaurant in New York put it; positive recommendations are “moral support the digital way.” It gives businesses something to smile about and a log of glowing words that can only help attract more people.
The TWISPER platform is centred on only positive recommendations. Happy customers share recommendations of their experiences at hotels, restaurants and bars with their network of friends. We have seen our user base grow from 20K in January 2020 to almost 2 million as of January 2021. This goes to show that people want positivity.
Customers have been going the extra mile to avoid costing you in commission
As ordering moved fully online for much of 2020, customers saw articles popping up exposing unfair and astronomical commission fees charged by third party apps and platforms for bookings and orders. Customers pushed each other to order directly with their favourite places to eat and drink on social media, and to pick up food instead of using third parties. Hashtags such as #orderdirect and #directbookings grew in popularity during April and May. “We have been ordering more food than we need,” said restaurant customer Amanda Rubin “We’re trying to do more, shifting purchases to in-person". Customers have been seeking out direct booking options without the extra cost to the businesses they’re buying from, just like TWISPER’s 0% commission Booking Button. In fact, 70% of customers want booking and ordering options that do not cost the businesses' bottom lines.
Customers are donating to non-profits that directly support hospitality & gastronomy
Concerned individuals have been donating to Only A Pavement Away a charity founded by representatives from the hospitality industry. They aim to act as a conduit to employment to help those people struggling to get into work, overcome hurdles by finding jobs within the hospitality, pub and restaurant industry. With the dawn of COVID19, they have launched their SOS Challenge in association with TWISPER ambassador and Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens. The challenge has seen entries of individuals getting creative in the kitchen and raising awareness and funds for the Hospitality Against Homelessness campaign.
Another great campaign, Invisible Chips by Hospitality Action, to help people in hospitality whose livelihoods are disappearing. Customers have been ordering from the menu of “Invisible Chips” to support all levels of workers across restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés, hotels. Customers have been sharing photos of their #invisiblechips on Instagram, TWISPER and Facebook, calling others to join the initiative and support local businesses.
Customers have been seeking engagement through virtual memberships
Customers have missed going out to explore new places to eat, sleep and drink. However, they have been enjoying the online engagement brought to them by their favorite places. Virtual memberships for access to cocktail mixing courses and bread making workshops provided by the places they usually enjoy visiting in person, have been fast growing in popularity.
Customers have been buying gift cards to provide encouragement to businesses
Customers have been spreading positivity by purchasing gift cards for businesses they can’t enjoy during lockdowns or passing them along to friends and family, not only introducing their network to new places, but supporting those places in the process. While gift cards alone will not save your business, customers want to show their support in the now by doing so.
In the Swiss canton of Vaud, the welQome platform created by the company QoQa, along with the local council put together a support fund of 20 million francs to help support local businesses, restaurants and hotels. Customers have been snapping up their online gift cards, receiving 20% off their purchase from a restaurant. In return, the restaurants receive an extra 10% for each sale made with a QoQa gift card. In total, customers doubled the canton’s support package and spent an incredible 40 million francs to support the businesses they care about.
What are the takeaways from the customer support we have seen in 2020?
Customers want to support your business. They are keen for you to survive and thrive and will do what they can to contribute to your success.
Encourage your loyal customers to support you online; ask them to leave a positive recommendation of your place online and to like or share your updates.
Provide options for your customers to support you financially; create gift cards, join with other businesses in your area to provide group offerings, or provide a virtual tip jar on your website.
Bear in mind that 65% of customers are more likely to trust a business that supported their community, staff and other frontline workers.
TWISPER is on a mission to bring fairness and positivity back to the hospitality industry. During this unprecedented time, we hope to cast light on the grit, resilience and determination that are an inherent part of the industry. We know that these qualities will lead to recovery and restoration as we look to the future. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest industry news and TWISPER announcements.