Consumers across Britain want hospitality venues to adopt more technology to reduce their environmental footprint, a new report has found.
Commissioned by ePOS Hybrid, the nationwide study of more than 2,000 consumers found that 49% of consumers think it is important for hospitality businesses to reduce energy usage and improve their carbon footprint.
“It’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to reduce their environmental footprint as consumers become more purpose-driven and opt to buy from operators who align with their personal values from a sustainability standpoint,” said Andrew Gibbon, head of growth at ePOS Hybrid.
The survey also revealed 23% of consumers are excited about more energy-efficient and sustainable dining environments, which Gibbon said highlights a need for venues to further utilise technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Not only has IoT been incredibly beneficial in enabling businesses across the hospitality sector to create more sustainable dining environments by reducing their energy usage, but we’ve also seen some venues adopt this technology to create safer spaces for their patrons,” Gibbon explained.
“The benefits of this technology really are endless, also improving overall operations due to greater connectivity, in turn enhancing the guest experience.”
Consumers are increasingly receptive to the use of technology in the hospitality industry, mainly to help improve safety, drive efficiency and boost connectivity within venues.
Nearly half (43%) of survey respondents admitted they would feel safer if venues implemented more technology into security checks. This includes the use of facial recognition to detect suspicious behaviour and to manage crowds, the survey revealed.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted the mass adoption of streamlining technologies, such as contactless payments, the report noted. Notably, 46% of respondents said they prefer this method and would like businesses across the industry to continue adoption.
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This surge in contactless interaction isn’t limited to payments either, the report found. Some 41% of respondents said they prefer being able to order food or drinks with a smartphone rather than wait for a member of staff to approach them.
Looking ahead, many consumers would like to see further improvements in this regard, with 21% stating they would “like it to be easier to pre-order food/make special requests digitally”.
Although technology in the hospitality industry could have a transformative positive impact, there are lingering concerns around the increased use of consumer data, the report conceded.
As the industry becomes more reliant on technology, some consumers grow wary, with 21% of respondents admitting they are scared about potential data breaches.
The development of robotics in the hospitality industry is an area of particular excitement, according to the report from ePOS Hybrid.
39% of respondents said they would be happy for a robot to deliver takeaways to their house if it meant “a more efficient process and lower fees”.
Similarly, 36% were enthusiastic about takeaways being delivered by drones or self-driving robots.
However, when dining out, more than half (51%) said it is important they are served a meal by a human worker rather than a robot while 61% believe it is crucial that meals are still cooked by humans, not robots.
Half of respondents also felt the same way about being greeted at a venue, with many consumers preferring personalised human experiences.
Crucially, more than half of consumers said that robot servers in the hospitality industry are a fad, with just 25% concerned that waiting staff will be replaced with robots in the near future.