New data from online booking platform ResDiary shows there has been a positive shift in Australian customer behaviour at hospitality venues post-pandemic.
According to ResDiary, diners are finally getting the message to be more courteous when it comes to bookings and cancellations at Australia’s hospitality venues. Difficulty in securing a booking in the first instance, along with greater awareness of the post-pandemic staff shortages and high inflation hitting the industry, are all factors helping to change diner attitudes and behaviour.
Australians are booking earlier, cancelling with more notice, and willingly parting with their credit card details to secure a booking.
Here are five ways customer behaviour in the hospitality industry has changed in the past two years.
1. Dramatic increase in cancellation notice time
The average cancellation is currently coming through as many as 10.5 days prior to the booking date (data from the month of June 2022). This advance notice on cancellations has steadily increased in 2022, close to doubling from January 2022 when venues were given just under six days’ notice on average.
2. Cancellations are on the decline
There has been a considerable decline in cancellations overall in Australia. In fact, the number of cancellations has slashed in mere months, falling to nearly one third of what they were at the same time one year prior. Total booking cancellations for the first half of 2022 are sitting at an average of approximately 55,000 cancellations per month, compared with approximately 145,000 cancellations received on average each month in the same period from January – June 2021.
3. Last-minute bookings are a thing of the past
As restaurants fully re-opened in 2021, the lead time to securing a booking skyrocketed to 8.3 days in advance. Instead of this wait-time stabilising, the average booking lead time has increased yet again in 2022, with a customer looking to book a table now needing to do so on average 10 days prior to the booking date.
4. The early bird gets the best table
Early dinner bookings are on the rise accounting for 39% of all bookings in 2022. The 5pm seating time now makes up 13.5% of all bookings, with 6pm hosting 25.5% of all bookings in 2022.
This is a sizable increase from 2021 when the 5/6pm booking times accounted for 36.2% of all bookings, (12.3%/23.9% respectively) which presents venues with the opportunity turn tables multiple times during a service.
5. Deposits/prepayments here to stay
Deposits may be a contentious issue for some, but diners seem to have readily accepted them as the new norm. And while it’s still only a small percentage of restaurants who have implemented deposits/cancellation fees on all their bookings, the total number has still climbed substantially.
With nearly a threefold increase (2.9x) of venues now either requiring credit card details or an actual deposit in 2022 compared to the beginning of 2020 ResDiary predicts that the number of venues looking to secure revenue as part of the booking process will steadily increase in the lead up to Christmas.