Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of providing proof of vaccination to enter a hospitality venue when restrictions ease, according to research by SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry.
Nationwide, 65 per cent 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 and 14 per cent were unsure.
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, which was key for 85 per cent of respondents, and location key for 66 per cent.
The pandemic has not surprisingly changed this as those factors have fallen to 77% and 61% respectively. There has been a sizable increase in diners choosing venues based on health and safety and technology that enhanced their experience, shifting from 35 per cent pre-pandmeic to 60 per cent after. The importance of technology nearly tripled from just eight per cent before the pandemic to 22 per cent since the pandemic.
The vast majority (67 per cent) 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.
“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, Australia 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.”
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 per cent of diners agreed or strongly agreed, followed by NSW (74 per cent), VIC (63 per cent), QLD (60 per cent) and WA and SA (both 58 per cent).
Meanwhile, younger demographics of Australians are less supportive. Only 54 per cent of those aged 18-34 agreed or strongly agreed, compared to 72 per cent of 55-64-year-olds and over three quarters (79 per cent) of Australians aged 65 and over.