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Light at the end of lockdown – hospitality businesses are adapting to the present and preparing for the future

There’s no doubt that the hospitality industry has been one of the worst hit by the changes brought in to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels and more have seen an end to business as usual almost overnight. In this challenging situation, many have sought alternative routes to market – and some have been doing extraordinary work for the more vulnerable members of the community in their hour of need.

Finding new routes to market

Losing the option to serve customers directly is a major issue in hospitality. But many businesses have realised that they still have a valuable asset – their supply chains. This is especially valuable at a time when uncertainty around the availability of basic goods is at an unprecedented high. As a result, many have been pivoting that supply chain to fill gaps in the market. Examples include pubs offering organic veg boxes directly to the public and diverting supplies of flour and other goods to local shops when stocks are low.

Larger retailers are also turning to small businesses to help with their own supply chain challenges. When online wine retailer Laithwaite’s was struggling to meet a sudden spike in demand caused by social distancing regulations, it turned to the hospitality industry for help. By buying up wine that was destined for the on-trade, as well as stock that was sitting in the cellars of pubs and hotels with no-one to drink it, Laithwaite’s was able to meet the increased demand and at the same time help smaller businesses find a new route to market.

Helping the wider community

Other businesses have been using the downtime to do some extraordinary work for the community. Some examples from our local area include Newbury Racecourse working with Swift Couriers and Age Concern Newbury & District to supply meals to the most vulnerable older people in the community. Newbury Racecourse is contributing to the initiative by offering the use of its kitchens and donating £1,000 worth of food from its supplies. Chefs from Age Concern Newbury & District’s Fair Close Centre have joined forces with the racecourse catering team to prepare hot nutritious meals up to seven days a week.

Local businesses in nearby Hampshire are also joining together to provide food for the most vulnerable in the area. The Greyhound in Overton is delivering hearty soups to vulnerable elderly people in the area – supported by donations from Wilson’s, the village greengrocer and Turner’s, the village butcher. All across the country there are similar examples of hospitality businesses using their contacts, facilities and supply chains to reach out and help the local community – and this at a time when many are struggling themselves. There’s little doubt that these efforts will stand them in great stead when things return to normal, building up customer loyalty.

How business intelligence can help

For larger organisations, Business Intelligence can play a vital role in pivoting supply chains and finding new routes to market – and in helping other businesses to do the same. Business Intelligence tools can help by pulling together data sets from a wide range of sources and present a single view of the truth – essential when coordinating multiple suppliers and predicting demand. And with supply and demand changing on a daily basis, receiving a report once a month is no longer adequate to predict future demand. With automated intelligence and business reporting tools, you can generate reports daily or hourly and present and share information on easily accessible dashboards.

Whatever measures you’re taking to cope with the current situation, putting Business Intelligence tools in place is a good way to prepare for the future while you have down time. Many companies may already have access to a wide range of data that they are unaware of or are not capturing – such as from Electronic Point of Sale machines and guest Wi-Fi portals. Others may no longer be collecting data while staff are furloughed. By putting Business Intelligence tools in place, you can automate procedures so that you don’t end up with a big gap in your data.

You can also use this time to dig deep into the data you already have. Find out how you can plan offers and deals to take advantage of seasonal trends or learn which type of bookings or events are most profitable. By harnessing the power of Business Intelligence now, you can be better prepared for the future. To learn how we can help you get more value from your data, contact us.