As ‘freedom days approach in New South Wales and Victoria, Aussies are in favour of sharing vaccination proof; surge in the importance of both health and safety standards and technology adoption for diners
SYDNEY (5 October 2021) – Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of providing proof of vaccination to enter a hospitality venue when restrictions ease, according to research released today by SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry.
Proof of vaccination has become one of the defining issues around the impending re-openings in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Nationwide, 65% of Australians agree or strongly agree that customers should be required to show proof of vaccination if a venue requested it upon booking or arrival. One in five disagreed, while 14% were unsure.
Over the last three months, NSW, VIC and ACT have experienced harsher lockdowns than the rest of the country. As a result, diners in each state were more in favour of sharing proof of vaccination to enter a venue. In ACT, 89% of diners agreed or strongly agreed, followed by NSW (74%), VIC (63%), QLD (60%) and WA and SA (both 58%). Meanwhile, younger demographics of Australians are less supportive. Only 54% of those aged 18-34 agreed or strongly agreed, compared to 72% of 55-64-year-olds and over three-quarters (79%) of Australians aged 65 and over.
Then vs now: How have demands changed?
SevenRooms’ research sought to understand what consumers want from bars, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues when restrictions ease, and how those demands and expectations differ from pre-pandemic.
For Aussies, the most important factors when choosing a venue pre-pandemic were the quality of food (key for 85% of respondents) and location (66%). However, since the pandemic, they have fallen to 77% and 61% respectively, while there has been a sizable increase in diners choosing venues based on health and safety and technology that enhanced their experience. Pre-pandemic, only 35% said that health and safety was a key consideration compared to 60% after the pandemic, while the importance of technology nearly tripled from just eight percent before the pandemic to 22% since the pandemic.
The vast majority (67%) felt that, as a result of the pandemic, the hospitality industry now provides safer, more technologically advanced experiences. QR codes, virtual menus, mobile ordering and payments, and online reservations services have become common – and in some instances mandatory – in many bars, restaurants and cafes across Australia. These features have become not only accepted, but popular parts of the dining experience. Online reservation services are the most popular post-pandemic feature for 53% of Aussies, followed by virtual menu and payments (48%) and QR codes to check-in for a reservation (38%).
When asked about the factors that would motivate them to revisit a restaurant, almost two in three (59%) said a ‘safe and memorable experience’ was an important factor. Comparatively, almost half (42%) said if their overall dining experience wasn’t memorable or special, it could prevent them from revisiting a venue again entirely. Almost half (43%) of guests would be willing to share their personal information if it meant they’d receive an enhanced customer experience.
“Few industries have been harder hit by the pandemic than hospitality, but none have demonstrated more resilience, adaptability and dynamism,” said Paul Hadida, General Manager, APAC at SevenRooms. “After more than 18 months of uncertainty, there’s genuine optimism that we’ll soon be back to ‘normal’ and enjoying the dining experiences that we’ve dearly missed for so long. Factors like location and the quality of food and drink remain paramount for diners in the new era of hospitality, but our research shows that Aussies are increasingly unwilling to compromise on important pieces of their experience, like health and safety and technology.
“Technology was growing in importance before the pandemic, but now it’s an absolute necessity to provide the safe, meaningful and memorable experiences that guests today demand. When it comes to the quality and breadth of bars, restaurants and cafes, few markets can match Australia. This research is an important insight into the minds of diners today, what they expect from businesses, and how Australia can continue enhancing its reputation as one of the food and drink capitals of the world.”
Sentiment differs across state lines and demographics
Half (54%) of Australians said that when restrictions ease they will dine out the same amount as before, while 23% will dine out more than pre-pandemic, and another 23% less than. However, in many respects young Australians have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and they’re eager to make up for lost time. One in three (36%) will dine out more than before the pandemic — higher than the 23% national average. Twice as many aged 65 and over will dine out less than before (26%) compared to more than (13%).
Few parts of the world have had greater success suppressing and eradicating the virus than Western Australia. While QR codes have become commonplace across much of Australia and fundamental to reopenings in NSW and VIC, only 16% of diners in WA like the feature – less than half the national average. Comparatively, though, exactly half of the state’s diners were willing to share their data with a venue for personalised communications and experiences – the second-highest of any state after ACT (62%).
Further data, broken down by age, gender and state is available on request.
To learn more about SevenRooms, visit www.sevenrooms.com.
SevenRooms is a guest experience and retention platform that helps hospitality operators create exceptional experiences that drive revenue and repeat business. Trusted by thousands of hospitality operators around the world, SevenRooms powers tens of millions of guest experiences each month across both on- and off-premise. From neighbourhood restaurants and bars to international, multi-concept hospitality groups, SevenRooms is transforming the industry by empowering operators to take back control of their businesses to build direct guest relationships, deliver exceptional experiences and drive more visits and orders, more often. The full suite of products includes reservation, waitlist and table management, online ordering, review aggregation and marketing automation. Founded in 2011 and venture-backed by Amazon, Comcast Ventures, Highgate Ventures and Providence Strategic Growth, SevenRooms has dining, hotel F&B, nightlife and entertainment clients globally, including: MGM Resorts International, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Jumeirah Group, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Bloomin’ Brands, sbe, LDV Hospitality, Zuma, Australian Venue Company, Altamarea Group, AELTC, D&D London, Corbin & King, Live Nation and Topgolf.
The results are taken from a nationally representative survey of 1,015 Australians in August 2021. The sample is weighted by age and gender to the 2016 ABS Census to ensure representivity.