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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Top 10 Bar Hacks Bonus Episodes: Goals

Top 10 Bar Hacks Bonus Episodes for Setting and Achieving Goals

by David Klemt

We’ve rounded up the ten best bonus episodes of Bar Hacks that feature KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey offering goal-setting guidance.

Obviously, we all want to succeed. However, it’s not always obvious where we should start. This has been proven all the more true the past two years.

Doug has a way of cutting a path through the overwhelming noise and distractions operators face each day. The Bar Hacks bonus episodes below can help listeners take a deep breath, reset, and take the necessary steps to identify, measure, and achieve their 2022 goals.

Bonus #1: Strategic Clarity

Doug explains strategic clarity as the understanding of who we are, what we’re working toward, and how we’re going to get where we want to go. Click here to listen.

Bonus #3: Simplification

In this episode, Doug asks listeners a simple question: “Is your vision for your restaurant or bar’s systems complex or simplified?”

Bonus #4: Acceptance

We can’t really make achievable goals if we don’t understand the current situation we’re facing. In this bonus episode, Doug explains why it’s important to be able to accept change and differences.

Bonus #6: Decision Making

We make thousands of decisions every day, from the simple to the complex and everything in between. Doug shares his insights into clearly and confidently making decisions for your business. Click here to learn more.

Bonus #7: Innovative Leadership

What is innovative leadership? It’s confidence in your abilities and your team, knowing when to get out of the way, and the culmination of a few other key concepts. To listen, click here.

Bonus #9: Flexibility

For this bonus episode, Doug explains why success in this era of hospitality requires owning the entire guest journey, frictionless omni-channel experiences, and other elements of a flexible approach to business.

Bonus #12: Self Care

Doug shares his thoughts on one of the most crucial elements of operating a business in the hospitality industry. Hint: He’s not talking about menus, marketing or making money in this episode.

Bonus #13: Confidence

Do you think you have a growth-based mindset or a fixed mindset? Doug discusses confidence and the impact it has on your ability to lead effectively in Bar Hacks Bonus #13.

Bonus #14: Self Learning

Knowing that you don’t know it all opens up your world and makes you a better leader. Doug explains how seeking out knowledge, experiences and opportunities to learn makes you a better operator, keeps you sharp, helps you better relate to and mentor others, and improves your business in every way. Listen now!

Bonus #17: The Seven Cs

Doug explains each of the Seven Cs and how they’ll help you build a winning team. Without the right people on staff, you don’t have much of a chance to achieve your goals. Click here to listen to this important episode.

To listen to the first five bonus episodes in this list in one convenient episode, please click here for today’s Bar Hacks podcast episode. Cheers!

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

How to Achieve Your Goals in 2022

How to Achieve Your Goals in 2022

by Jennifer Radkey

"Wake up, kick ass, repeat" neon sign on wall

The start of a new year for many is symbolic: Fresh year, fresh start.

With the best of intentions, millions of people worldwide create resolutions and set goals for both personal and professional growth and achievement. These goals are created with full enthusiasm and determination and then….the majority of them never come to fruition.

Studies have shown that approximately 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. So what happens? And how can we push forward to achieve our goals instead of letting them slip away?

The majority of us know how to set clearly defined goals. It is something we learned in school, or have read countless articles about. It seems as if it is human nature to want to improve, to do better and be better.

In the hospitality industry, we ask our team members to set goals weekly, if not daily. Goals typically include improving guest retention, increasing sales, improving guest experience, etc.

But once these goals are set, what systems are in place to help your team achieve them? And are you leading by example?

Goal Setting

There are many techniques to goal setting. George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham developed the very popular SMART goal tool to assist in developing clearly defined, task-oriented goals. They state that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-specific (SMART).

Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret, discusses envisioning your goals and life desires to attract them to you. But goal achievement is more than just setting a clear goal, or dreaming about what it would be like to achieve that goal. Those are the starting points.

Goal achievement is a process. It can be nitty and gritty and tough. There is typically no easy way. However, there are strategies we can use to help us achieve them, and the result will almost always be worth the extra effort.

Why We Fail

There are countless reasons why goals or resolutions fail, but the reasons mostly fall under two categories: You either lose your willpower or your waypower.

The concepts of willpower and waypower in relation to goal achievement is introduced in Rick Snyder’s Hope Theory, explained is his book The Psychology of Hope: You Can Get There From Here.

Willpower is the desire to achieve your goal; it’s the fire that pushes us to keep going after what we want. Waypower is the map for how we will get to our end goal; it’s the careful plan we have in place to ensure we overcome any obstacles that get in our way.

When we lack willpower our goal seems unachievable, and therefore we give up. When we lack waypower, as badly as we may want to achieve our goal, we are lost with no clear idea of how to get there.

How to Succeed

Finding Your Willpower

If you have lost your willpower, there are several ways to reignite your desire to achieve your goal.

The first is to have constant reminders of your goal. Have it written somewhere where you will have access to it several times a day. Set reminders on your phone, put sticky notes around your office or house, create a vision board representing your goal as your screensaver or on a wall in your home or office.

Remind yourself of why you set the goal in the first place and how it will make your life better.

Many of us lose our willpower when faced with obstacles. Instead of being deflated by obstacles, look at them as challenges to be defeated. Use obstacles as fuel for your fire rather than water to dampen it.

When faced with obstacles it is also helpful to remind yourself of goals that you have achieved in the past and the obstacles you had to overcome to get there. Remembering this time will allow you to acknowledge that you ARE capable and therefore will keep your willpower intact.

Finding your Waypower

Life is busy, and when you are being pulled in many directions at the same time it can be easy to lose your way towards achieving your goals. To ensure that you stay on the path towards goal completion, there are several actions you can take.

Try breaking long-range goals into smaller steps. Start with the first step, and move on to the next, checking off and celebrating each step as you go.

Before you even begin your journey towards goal completion, map out different routes you may need to get there. Knowing these routes beforehand will make it easier to stay focused along the way.

Lastly, know when to ask for helpand be willing to accept it. If you get lost on your way to your goal, perhaps you need some advice from someone who has already achieved that goal.

WOOP

One of my favorite goal achievement strategies is WOOP, created by Gabriele Oettingen. This acronym stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

WOOP is a straightforward and effective tool to use when setting goals, and has been practiced by everyone from elementary school students to CEOs of major corporations. Once practiced, WOOP can take less than five minutes of your time while providing great clarity.

The first step is to state your wish or goal clearly. Next, envision the outcome of achieving your goal. Take a couple minutes to really picture what it will look and feel like to achieve your goal.

You are then going to contrast that by thinking of what obstacles might block you from achieving your goal. It is important to note that these obstacles are internal not external.

We rarely have control over external obstacles but do have control over internal ones. What is it about you that will stop you from reaching your goal? Is it low self-esteem, laziness, doubt? Are you distracted easily?

Lastly, you are going to plan what to do when met with an obstacle by using “if/then” phrasing. For example, “If I am feeling lazy and want to have a Netflix marathon instead of working on my goal, then I will get off the couch, do ten jumping jacks, grab a drink of water, and start working on my goal.”

If you are interested in trying out the WOOP tool for goal setting/achievement you can visit www.woopmylife.org.

Own It

Goal setting and resolutions should not be a forced activity you do every new year, or birthday, or every Monday morning to start your week. Goal setting and achievement should be a constant, flowing activity that reaches into all parts of your life.

Through the use of strategies and consistent review, reassessment, and awareness, goals don’t need to be lost or given up on, unless that particular goal no longer serves a purpose to you.

Own your goals and take pride in your achievements. In the end, you will always be your number one advocate for your own growth.

So go get it! Cheers to professional and personal well-being!

Image: Justin Veenema on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: January ’22

5 Books to Read this Month: January ’22

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s fun and informative book selections will help you develop next-level culinary, beverage and leadership skills as we kick off 2022.

To review December 2021’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Try Dry: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze

For those who want to learn more about Dry January, Try Dry is an insightful resource. Of course, this book is also informative beyond the first month of the year. As living alcohol-free movement becomes more mainstream, it’s important for operators to understand the movement. Whether permanent or temporary, there are myriad reasons some guests decide against drinking alcohol.

Of Peats and Putts: A Whisky and Golf Tour of Scotland

During the pandemic, interest in golf skyrocketed. In part, this has led to increased interest in golf simulators, driving ranges, and nine-hole rounds of golf rather than full, 18-hole outings. Of Peats and Putts tells the story of golf and whisky in Scotland. A compelling read for operators looking to bring golf into their businesses.

The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes

Not even two months on the market and already causing quite the buzz! The Way of the Cocktail comes from Julia Momosé, one of the minds behind Chicago cocktail destination Kumiko. From classics to new riffs, the recipes in this book are based on 24 micro-seasons.

Bourbon [Boxed Book & Ephemera Set]: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey

Clay Risen is considered an authority on spirits. In particular, he’s lauded as an expert on whiskey. Bourbon lovers will appreciate the Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey box set for what it is: a definitive history of America’s native spirit. Along with profiles of Kentucky distillers, Risen has included interviews and photographs to tell the story of bourbon.

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas

There are many reasons to love amaro. Bitter and bittersweet notes, complex flavor profiles, and their utility when it comes to crafting low-ABV cocktails are among those reasons. Amaro by Brad Thomas Parsons explores the rich history of amaro and includes over 100 recipes.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: January ’22

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: January ’22

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and January is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to food-centric to weird.

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For last month’s list, click here.

January 5: National Bird Day

The Jungle Bird. Grey Goose. Famous Grouse. Redbreast. Eagle Rare. Wild Turkey. Kentucky Owl. Chicken wings. Duck fat. Use this holiday to feature your bird-themed cocktails, spirits, beers, and foods.

January 7: National Tempura Day

When it comes to 2022 trend predictions, comfort food is right at the top of many experts’ lists. And when it comes to comfort foods, battering and frying is always a winner. If you can batter and fry it, put it on your menu and promote it.

January 11: National Milk Day

This is the day to perfect and promote your milk cocktails. The Coquito, Bourbon Milk Punch, the Grasshopper, the Mudslide… National Milk Day is easy and fun to celebrate.

January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Does your business permit guests to bring their dogs or other pets to tag along when they visit? Encourage them to dress up their pets, and make sure you document the results on your venue’s social media channels.

January 19: National Popcorn Day

Is popcorn weird? No, of course not. Is tricking out your popcorn with seasonings weird? That depends on how creative you and your back of house can be. Think outside the popcorn tub, craft some intriguing popcorn flavors, and get your guests talking on social media.

January 20: National Get to Know Your Customers Day

Yep, I’m gonna encourage your strongly to collect the data of every guest who visits and spends money at your business. This would be a great holiday to launch or heavily promote your loyalty program.

January 24: National Beer Can Appreciation Day

Creative beer can design goes hand in hand with craft beer brewing. A lot of thought goes into beer can design and particularly eye-catching labels deserve more than a passing glance. Feature the most creative and attention-grabbing beers on your menu on National Beer Can Appreciation Day. And yes, you should definitely feature them on your social media channels.

January 29: National Corn Chip Day

Ah, the corn chip, a perfect vessel for hearty dips. They’re also ideal for walking tacos, a.k.a. tacos-in-a-bag. If you have corn chips and taco fixin’s, you can offer your guests walking tacos on National Corn Chip Day.

January 31: National Backward Day

There are several ways you can celebrate this day with your guests and staff. One simple but fun way to do so is to encourage your guests to dine in backwards order: dessert first, entrée, and then appetizer. Of course, you could print a specialty menu backwards but that runs the risk of annoying your guests. But still…interesting idea.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Keep Up Your Momentum in 2022

Keep Up Your Momentum in 2022

by David Klemt

Start of 2022 track or path concept

In 2022, our focus needs to be on recovery, which means starting strong, gaining steam, and keeping momentum going throughout the year.

The past two years have been a nonstop flurry of starts, stops, and false starts for American and Canadian operators.

Every challenge operators face during a “normal” day has been compounded. Recruiting, hiring, training, marketing, increasing traffic and revenue, managing inventory…it’s all more challenging.

However, “challenging” doesn’t mean “impossible.” Under the best of conditions, restaurant, bar, and hotel operations are a challenge. Overcoming adversity, in other words, is a consistent element of daily operations.

Now, whether we should view constantly overcoming challenges as a badge of honor… Well, that’s a different conversation, one about industry-wide changes that are long overdue.

For this post, my focus is on starting 2022 off right, building momentum, and keeping it.

KRG Momentum

Last year, we launched a coaching program called KRG Momentum.

KRG is known for our Roadmaps to Success, which include of our in-depth feasibility studies and detailed business plans, both of which help operators secure funding. However, some of our clients aren’t ready for our full suite of startup and expansion solutions.

KRG Momentum was designed from the ground up for these clients and consists of two programs. On one hand, we have Momentum for startups. On the other, Momentum for current operators looking to improve operations.

Both Momentum programs include a dedicated KRG coach; one-on-one video or phone consultations; and reviews of multiple operational elements. Of course, startup operators have different needs in comparison to experienced operators. And new concepts require different strategies than established operations.

For example, KRG Momentum’s startup program includes (in part):

  • review and navigation of startup questions and challenges;
  • weekly sessions that evaluate the past week and identify the next week’s focus; and
  • identifying blind spots throughout the project, positioning a startup operator to maintain their budget and desired opening date.

And current operators who choose KRG Momentum will receive, in part:

  • an in-depth discovery session to uncover the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats;
  • review of P&L statements, menu engineering reports, labor scheduling reports, menu design, online reviews, marketing campaigns, service sequence, and other pain-points; and
  • strategies to improve both revenue and profit margins within 90 days while working less hours per week.

Let’s Go!

All hospitality professionals—from business owners to staff—are members of a tight-knit family. Unless you’ve lived hospitality, you just don’t know the challenges, risks and rewards.

That means that startup operators and established operators don’t have to try to navigate the industry alone. Whether you aren’t sure where to even begin your ownership journey or aren’t sure how to overcome the hurdles you’re facing, the team at KRG Hospitality is here for you.

If you’re ready for us to help, click here to learn more about KRG Momentum. And click here to schedule an introductory call.

Image: Tumisu from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Current Restrictions: Canada

Current Restaurant Restrictions: Canada

by David Klemt

Four disposable medical face masks in a pile

KRG Hospitality’s headquarters is in Toronto but we operate in three major Canadian markets: Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.

I was visiting the Toronto office, traveling from Las Vegas, when new restrictions were announced due to Omicron.

By the time I landed, I knew each province in which we operate would be at least discussing possible restrictions.

Alberta

The following restrictions apply to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cafes, and pubs participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP):

  • No more than ten people may be sat at one table.
  • Alcohol service must terminate by 11:00 PM.
  • These businesses must close by 12:30 AM.
  • Billiards, dancing, darts, and other “interactive” activities are prohibited.

As a refresher, the REP program requires operators to require patrons age 12 and above to:

  • provide proof of vaccination, negative results from a test taken within 72 hours of service, or medical exemption; and
  • comply with mandatory masking.

Alternatively, operators can comply with all restrictions as outlined in Alberta’s public health orders.

However, businesses not participating in REP face the restrictions below:

  • Indoor dining is prohibited.
  • Outdoor dining is permitted. No more than six people may sit at the same table.
  • Groups are restricted to one household or two close contacts (for those living alone).
  • Alcohol service must terminate by 10:oo PM. Consumption must conclude by 11:00 PM.

British Columbia

At the time of publication, restaurants, cafes, and pubs can still offer both indoor and outdoor dining.

However, there are restrictions in British Columbia:

  1. No more than six people may be sat at one table.
  2. When not seated, guests must wear face masks.
  3. Guests may not move to between tables, visit other tables, or dance.
  4. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people (down from 25).
  5. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people (down from 100).
  6. Operators must maintain physical distancing or barriers between tables.
  7. Alcohol can be served during normal service hours.

Unfortunately, bars, nightclubs, and lounges aren’t facing restrictions, they’ve been forced to close.

These restrictions and closures will remain in place until January 18, 2022. Exceptions include bullet points 2 and 3, which are expected to remain until January 31, 2022.

Ontario

As of December 19, 2021, restrictions that impact restaurants, bars, strip clubs, and other food or beverage venues went into effect:

  • Capacity reduced to 50 percent.
  • No more than 10 people may sit at one table.
  • Guests must remain seated. Only performers or workers may dance.
  • Venues must close for indoor and outdoor dining and drinking by 11:00 PM. However, businesses may offer delivery and takeout past that time.
  • On-premise alcohol sales are prohibited after 10:00 PM. Consumption of alcohol on-premises is restricted after 11:00 PM.

It’s crucial that operators and leadership teams remain up to date on their province’s (and city’s) restrictions. At the start, 2022 will be challenging but opportunities for recovery will present themselves

Image: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

American Trends 2022: Technomic

American Trends 2022: Technomic

by David Klemt

Wooden spoon loaded with salt

Two weeks ago, I reviewed and shared Technomic’s “Canadian Trends: Looking Ahead to 2022” report, and now it’s America’s turn.

Not too surprisingly, the US and Canada are similar in terms of a few 2022 trend predictions.

And while the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is causing some restaurants and bars to close, there is some good news from Technomic.

Salt

First, a difference between America and Canada. As you may recall from my review of Canadian predictions, Technomic predicts butter will be even more important next year.

Interestingly, salt is the big prediction for the United States. The reasoning is similar: people are seeking out comfort in these difficult times.

Technomic’s “2022: The Year of the Climb” report states flat out that, “Salt is the new fat.”

The industry intelligence firm predicts that salt will be increasingly important in kitchens—and on tables—in 2022.

For example, Technomic expects operators to focus salt-cured fish and meats. Of course, that doesn’t just meet a predicted consumer demand. Cured foods can be preserved for longer, which is appealing to operators.

Seaweeds, salt blends, and salty sauces will be used in the kitchen. According to Technomic, some of those will replace (or accompany) traditional salt on tables.

Going further, Technomic predicts that salt will find its way into cocktails. This can be in the form of salty ingredients or salt water, a trend from a few years ago.

Creative Prep

Let’s stick with the kitchen a bit longer.

This is one of the strongest similarities shared by the US and Canada. Technomic predicts that operators will need to focus on cross-utilization and creativity.

As you’ve likely already figured out, this is because of supply chain issues. The more ways items can be used without introducing new SKUs, the easier things may be for operators.

Some examples of cross-utilization suggested by Technomic:

  • Roasting, grilling, and blistering items normally served raw.
  • Pickling ingredients.
  • Fermenting items.
  • Turning some items into jams.
  • Aging some ingredients.

Labor Challenges

Obviously, the labor shortage is felt throughout North America. Unfortunately, this is another similarity when comparing Technomic’s American and Canadian 2022 trend predictions.

KRG Hospitality has addressed the need for the industry to make significant changes several times this year. In particular, founder and president Doug Radkey published a book, Hacking the New Normal, calling for change to improve working conditions and the industry’s long-term survival.

Technomic is suggesting the same. The firm predicts the following for 2022:

  • Wage increases across the board.
  • Benefits (healthcare, emergency child care, 401(k), and more).
  • Virtual hiring events.
  • Referral and signing bonuses.

However, more needs to be done. The industry doesn’t simply need to revamp its image, it needs to:

  • address—and not dismiss—issues raised by current hospitality professionals;
  • solve the problems that led to so many hospitality workers quitting jobs and giving up on the industry;
  • implement real solutions for the problems the industry has faced and, frankly, nurtured for decades.

And that’s just the start. If we don’t face our industry’s challenges head-on, there won’t be much of an industry in the future.

The Battle for Comfort

Yes, comfort food will be important next year. Hence the entire section on salt above.

However, when I mention comfort in this section I’m referring to personal comfort levels.

You’ve likely been hearing from industry peers and seeing on social media that a number of bars are closing until December 29 or December 30. These temporary closures are due to spikes in positive Covid-19 cases, mostly driven by Omicron.

Many Americans, eager to return to a semblance of their pre-Covid lives, want to spend time in restaurants and bars. However, people need to balance their comfort levels with their desire for social experiences.

In response, Technomic predicts that operators will need to balance the on-premise and off-premise. In other words, omni-channel operators must dial in their offerings.

Per Technomic, operators have to figure out their mix: interactive in-person experiences, takeout, and delivery.

Good News

Technomic is making two 2022 predictions that should come as a relief to operators.

First, Q1 of 2022, per Technomic, “will reveal a particularly strong year-over-year performance” in comparison to 2021.

Overall, the firm projects a 10.4-percent sales increase for 2022 when compared to 2019 sales.

There is, however, a caveat. We’ll have to take rising menu prices into account when analyzing this year’s and next year’s sales levels.

For those wondering which category is predicted to perform the best, Technomic identifies limited-service restaurants will recover quickest.

In contrast, full-service will see slower recovery. Business, leisure, and indeed “bleisure” travel will have an impact on full-service traffic.

So, 2022 isn’t going to magically return to pre-pandemic “normal.” However, should Technomic’s conservative sales prediction prove accurate, recovery is on the menu.

Image: Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Hotel Trends to Watch in 2022

Hotel Trends to Watch in 2022

by David Klemt

Unlit hotel sign against blue sky background

Partially driven by the pandemic, in part driven by the march of innovation, these are the hotel (and motel) trends to watch in 2022.

As is the case with restaurant and bar trends from the last two years, these trends are likely to quickly evolve into industry standards.

Once slower on the uptake in comparison to other industries, hospitality is now embracing tech innovations rapidly.

Of course, not every 2022 and beyond trend relies on tech. However, most of the big changes involve tech in some way.

Below are the trends (soon to be standards) to watch and adopt next year.

Digital Room Keys

We do everything on our phones. So, why shouldn’t we access hotel and motel room keys via the devices always in our hands or pockets?

Many tech-forward hotel properties have made it possible to unlock hotel rooms via phone apps. As consumers feel more comfortable that it’s safe, secure and reliable, we can expect physical room keys to become obsolete.

One can also make the argument that doing away with millions of plastic keycards is a more sustainable practice.

Your Face is Your Passport

Points* to anyone who gets the movie I just referenced. (*Points have no value and are not redeemable for anything. But we think you’re cool for racking them up regardless.)

Some properties will make it possible to access a hotel room via biometrics. CLEAR travelers will already be familiar with this tech process.

In short, a guest will be able to unlock their room with their face. In terms of personalization—a guest expectation that’s only growing—facial recognition tech can instantly deliver on a guest’s temp, lighting, and other preferences.

I can also see this technology permitting guests to access clubs; club levels; health centers; pool areas; and order and pay for everything from food and beverage to their entire visit.

Of course, this form of tech relies heavily on people’s comfort levels concerning privacy. So, operators will need to prove themselves responsible with guest data.

Touchless Everything

Convenience works both ways. Guests want frustration-free visits. Operators and managers want to eliminate pain points wherever possible.

Guests are becoming familiar and comfortable with checking in via their phones or kiosks. In some hotels, guests navigate the lobby without ever engaging with an employee.

With the proliferation of digital assistants in homes, guests are already comfortable with voice-based functionality. Ordering room service, turning on the TV and streaming, playing music, drawing automated shades, adjust room temperatures and lights… Digital assistants eliminate several more touchpoints.

AI tech also means hotels can operate with smaller teams effectively. So, hotel design is likely to keep evolving: lobbies will look different, as will rooms, restaurants, bars, and other amenities.

Virtual Room Selection

Speaking of AI, what about VR?

Tech-savvy guests will appreciate being able to “tour” different room options in the virtual space. Such a feature can start a guest’s visit off on the right foot before they ever step onto property.

They’ll know they’re getting the features and views they want, setting up a positive experience. It’s likely VR room tours and selection will also help hotels upsell guests on rooms and features.

Cryptocurrency

There are already hotels and resorts out there accepting crypto. There’s no reason to believe this will fall out of favor any time soon.

In fact, it’s likely guests who prefer to pay via digital currency will be able to pay for every element of their visit with crypto. For these guests, a tech-heavy experience will be appealing:

  • Check out room options via virtual reality before booking;
  • Book their room in the VR space.
  • Utilize digital check-in, then unlocking their room via phone or facial scan.
  • Paying for premium amenities and F&B via crypto ties to biometrics.
  • Contactless check-out.

Guest Who

Unsurprisingly, business travelers were the first to return to hotels during the pandemic. A percentage of these guests sought out hotels that could offer them a work-from-anywhere option.

For the most part, these guests simply needed a fast, reliable WiFI connection. Of course, many of them chose properties for more leisure-focused amenities. This led to the coining of a new industry term: bleisure, a portmanteau of “business” and “leisure” travelers.

It’s likely hotels, motels and resorts will see more traffic from bleisure, solo, and staycation guests in 2022 and beyond.

Many guests will also make property selections based on a brand or group’s sustainability efforts. So, operators will need to ensure they’re being provably sustainable and not just green-washing to attract these guests.

As we can see, technology will feature heavily in the changing hospitality landscape. Initial outlay may be pricy, but as innovations become more commonplace, costs will be driven down. But offering the features that will increase traffic and guest spend? A healthy bottom line is worth it.

Image: NeONBRAND on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

SevenRooms Predicts 2022

SevenRooms Predicts 2022

by David Klemt

SevenRooms guest data image

As we near the end of a tumultuous 2021 we must look ahead to 2022 to set our industry up for best strategies, innovations, and recovery.

SevenRooms is doing just that, looking at what operators should consider to meet guest expectations next year.

In a blog post on the company’s website, SevenRooms reveals what they believe are the keys to success in 2022.

Let’s jump in.

More is More

The first quarter of 2022 will mark two years of the pandemic and its affects on the industry.

As SevenRooms says, some guests will not have been out of their homes for two years. The company predicts this contingent will be looking to unleash pent-up demand.

Of course, that represents an opportunity for operators. Another wave of pent-up demand can mean a boost in traffic and revenue.

However, guest expectations will be sky high. That cliché that less is more? Yeah, you can toss that right out.

More will be more for this contingent of guests looking to dine and drink out after feeling cooped up for month after endless month.

Sure, some guests are aware that operators are facing labor shortages, increased costs, and other pandemic-driven challenges. They know that workers are overwhelmed and finding themselves in hostile confrontations they certainly don’t deserve.

And sure, some guests are sympathetic to those struggles. However, they have their demands and expect restaurants, bars, and hotels to meet them.

What can operators do to meet those demands? In fact, what can they do to anticipate and overdeliver on guest expectations?

SevenRooms has a couple suggestions.

Collect guest data. At this point, this should be a given. How can an operator engage with and retain guests if they don’t really know anything about them?

Embrace more tech. Platforms like SevenRooms can handle a restaurant or bar’s reservations quickly and easily. This is a feature that, per SevenRooms, more than half of guests expect a restaurant or bar offer. Some platforms can also automate marketing; send guests post-visit surveys; and tackle review aggregation.

Convenience Reigns Supreme

Here’s a quick, impromptu survey:

Do you prefer a seamless restaurant, bar or hotel experience, or do you like frustrating dining, drinking and lodging experiences?

I’m going to go ahead and assume you prefer the former option. In other words, you like what your guests like: convenience.

Well, SevenRooms is predicting that the desire for convenience will only grow stronger among guests.

Yes, delivering on the increasingly important topic of convenience will rely on collecting data. But rather than view it as just one more task, SevenRoom suggests looking at it in a more positive light.

A number of the conveniences guests expect can be automated. They can even help ease the burden of the labor shortage somewhat.

For example, contactless ordering and contactless pay are close to becoming standards. Offering those features to guests means meeting expectations, thereby delivering an excellent guest experience. On-demand ordering and paying can also ease some front- and back-of-house pressure.

Collecting guest data allows management and front-of-house staff to add personal touches before a guest is even seated. Again, seamless, excellent guest service.

Another convenience? Online ordering. SevenRooms isn’t the first to predict that on-demand ordering is here to stay. In fact, a suite of conveniences will be important moving forward:

  • Online ordering during in-person visits and for delivery or pickup.
  • A user-friendly reservation system that goes deeper than just picking a date and time. Why not allow guests to select seats and even request upgrades?
  • A virtual waitlist. Not only is this convenient, SevenRooms says this feature can boost walk-in traffic and reduce abandonment.
  • Contactless, mobile paying options.

There you have it. Two seemingly basic predictions—higher expectations and a desire for even more convenience—with the potential to boost traffic, loyalty, and revenue.

Image: SevenRooms

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What Does Omni-channel Mean?

What Does Omni-channel Mean in Hospitality?

by David Klemt

Restaurant diners eating burgers, fries and roasted vegetables

Buzzword or professional jargon, the term “omni-channel” seems to come up more often as our industry embraces more innovations.

As more social and digital platforms (channels) pop up, your job as marketer becomes more complex.

For a pessimistic take, your marketing efforts are like a ship. Every new marketing channel that gains traction is like a hole you have to plug. Fail to do so and you risk your marketing ship sinking.

Now for an optimistic take. Every channel you can add to your marketing is an opportunity to grow your reach. Increasing the amount of people who become familiar with your brand represents the potential to grow loyalty and sales.

If you want to meet your guests where they are—and you should—you need to have a presence where they are to engage with them.

And that’s just marketing. There are also omni-channel operational tactics you can implement. Unsurprisingly, you’ll likely realize many of those solutions are also digital.

So, what does “omni-channel” mean for operators? It means offering seamless guest experiences pre-, per- and post-visit.

Staying top of mind is also an element of an omni-channel strategy.

Traditional Channels

In terms of marketing, let’s break down the different types of channels available to operators.

A simple way to look at “traditional” marketing channels is that they don’t leverage digital mediums:

  • Newspaper and magazine ads
  • Radio and television ads
  • Direct mail
  • Billboards
  • Vehicle wraps
  • Flyers

Now, some of the above may seem outdated. However, those channels still have reach.

The key is knowing your brand and audience to know if a traditional channel will deliver an ROI. You also need to take the time to figure out where your dollars and time are best spent.

Digital Channels

So, there’s a reason I put the word traditional in quotation marks in the previous section.

There may be a time when digital channels become so ubiquitous that they’re considered traditional.

Just look at the digital channels below and consider how commonplace they’ve become:

  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Company websites
  • Search engine marketing
  • Newsletters
  • Text messages

It’s easy to see how one day the channels above will overtake their non-digital counterparts and become the traditional way we market.

The reasons for this are obvious. Digital campaigns are easily measurable, they allow for incredibly specific targeting, and they tend to be more engaging.

Really, the biggest cons that pertain to digital marketing channels are: being viewed as annoying/intrusive; being lost in the sea of ads people encounter every day.

On the execution side, it can still be overwhelming to engage just in social media marketing. However, there are platforms that can help make this task less daunting.

Other Channels

Like I wrote earlier, omni-channel doesn’t only pertain to marketing.

Of course, the term and practice are most often associated with marketing. However, operators have more to think about to truly become omni-channel.

The way your guests interact with your restaurant are also channels. Your front-of-house staff is a channel, technically speaking.

Now, we all know that the pandemic forced operational changes. Many of those changes are here to stay.

So, let’s look at a potential guest journey:

  • The potential guest receives a promotional offer via email.
  • They follow the link to an online reservation platform.
  • After arriving at the restaurant with their party, they check in with the host in person.
  • The server greets the party, some of whom request a physical menu. Others in the party pull out their phones and access the menu via QR code.
  • Throughout the meal, the server touches the table to ensure the visit is going well, refill drinks, take additional drink orders, etc.
  • When it’s time to pay, the party quietly does so via a touchless option and leaves.
  • A follow-up email is sent for feedback.
  • After a number of days, a text message is sent out to encourage another visit.

The marketing channels are just one element that makes the hypothetical restaurant an omni-channel operation. Providing digital, touchless menu access and payment are also omni-channel elements.

Those are just a few examples. If you take the time to review your operations; where you can reach new and repeat guests; threats such as third-party delivery; and innovations you can implement, you’ll see where you can make changes to become an omni-channel restaurant.

Image: Dan Gold on Unsplash

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