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29 Apr 2024

Researching a hospitality venue is now digitally-driven, finds KAM

Researching a hospitality venue is now digitally-driven, finds KAM

Brits are now turning to Google ahead of friends and family for recommendations when it comes to deciding which hospitality venue to visit, according to insight consultancy, KAM.

According to the new ‘Plan to Plate’ research report, in partnership with customer engagement platform Paytronix, 30% of respondents said they’d first do a ‘general internet search’, with 20% saying they regularly use the ‘Google Near Me’ search tool. Less than 1-in-4 (23%) say they ask for recommendations from friends and family- this has declined significantly since previous research in 2021.

Katie Jenkins, Marketing Director, KAM: “The research has confirmed that the hospitality decision-making process is increasingly digitally driven. Over the last three years, fewer people are relying on friends and families for inspiration as they increasing look online first, whether it be a general google search, online review sites or, of course, social media. Although driven by GenZ and Millennials, we’re now seeing a shift across all age groups. Without a doub,t getting online visibility right represents a huge opportunity for operators to positively influence potential customers- or lose them- during this ‘research’ stage.”


What potential customers are looking for when they research venues hasn’t changed much in the last three years, according to KAM. Most customers are looking for what’s on the food menu, reviews from other customers, prices, photos of the food and venue itself. Perhaps surprisingly, the % of people looking for prices before they make a decision on venue has actually fallen, despite the challenging economic climate.

The quarterly feedback from 1,000 hospitality customers, highlights a significant upwards swing in the number UK adults willing to try new venues. In 2021 (admittedly, recently post-Covid) 39% said they’d generally choose ‘places they’ve been before’ whereas in 2024 that figure is just 23%.


The research also found that social media and email marketing is now playing an important role in generating ‘impulsive’ visits to venues. 1-in-10 respondents said that receiving an email from a hospitality venue/brand had encouraged them to visit when they weren’t previously intending to go out. Seeing on social media that friends or family were going out had the same effect for 13% of respondents.

Katie Jenkins, Marketing Director, KAM: “At a time when hospitality brands are having to work their socks off to attract customer spend, it’s really pleasing to see that many social and email marketing campaigns are successfully driving incremental footfall. When we look at what UK adults tell us are the main barriers to leaving the house and ‘going out’ – bad weather, money, travel challenges, unable to get a booking – often a well-timed and executed campaign can really make all the difference, especially with Gen Z.”


The new report – Plan to Plate- examines the customer decision process throughout the customer journey; from the initial decision to leave the house (or not) and venue choice, through to ordering, paying, leaving a review and whether they return.

A summary of the research from KAM, in partnership with Paytronix, is available here.

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