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CGA: Digital consumerism continues to accelerate post-Covid

Published:  28 September, 2021

New research undertaken by CGA Strategy and a global reputation management firm has revealed the importance of maintaining a robust digital presence in the pandemic era, with consumers increasingly focusing on social media reputations – and peer review sites – before planning a night out.

The study included insights from 2,000 nationally representative consumers who visit a bar, restaurant, pub or hotel once every six months.

It found that consumers rely on digital tools and online reputation before, during and after their visit. In the early stages of the consumer journey, a venue’s website, Google and Facebook are the most popular channels for discovery, booking and confirming Covid-19 safety measures.

Social media platforms, along with ratings and review sites like TripAdvisor, are more commonly used during and after the visit.

According to the study, most consumers' first digital priority is to ascertain a venue's range of menus and pricing structure, before delving into online reviews and possible discounts and promotions.

Nearly half of all respondents searched for reviews (48%) on TripAdvisor, which beats Google (34%) and a venue’s own website (27%). Brands focused on younger consumers should focus on Google as TripAdvisor is more popular for consumers aged 55 or older, the study said.

Businesses focusing on young adults should know that reviews are a core component of the eating and drinking out experience, with more than one-third (38%) usually leaving a review.

Andy Dean, CGA client director, said: “The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the use of technology in hospitality, and consumers and businesses alike have become much more confident in using it to engage with one another.

“For all brands, understanding exactly how, where and when guests want to connect, and responding quickly and constructively to all the feedback they receive, are going to be crucial elements of reputation and marketing strategies in 2022 and beyond.”