Booking a table online has overtaken telephone reservations for the very first time, says the latest Go Technology report from hospitality management solutions company Zonal and insights firm CGA.
The report, which tracks the technology habits of 5,000 UK adult consumers, showed more than two-fifths (45%) now prefer to make their booking online compared with 20% who use the telephone.
This represents a shift from four years ago when almost three-fifths (58%) of consumers preferred to make table bookings by telephone.
Payback for brands that offer a good online booking service is proven as the average monthly spend on eating and drinking increased to £87.83, compared with £74.68 for those who don’t pre-book.
The biggest complaint for pre-bookers is a table not being available at the time they book (37%), followed by having to queue to get in (35%) and spaces or tables being occupied when they arrive (34%). Being asked to pay a deposit for a booking is a source of irritation for more than one-fifth (21%) of customers, rising to 25% for 18 to 34-year-olds.
Consumers in a group of less than eight said they were willing to pay an average of £4.55 per head for a midweek restaurant table but those in larger groups will pay £6.04.
When it comes to targeted marketing campaigns, women are more likely to pre-book (53%). Parents make more than one-third (35%) of the booking cohort but only a quarter (27%) of those who never pre-book.
Karl Chessell, CGA business unit director, retail and food, said, “Pub, bar and restaurant customers increasingly see booking as a necessary part of their eating and drinking experience. Large groups, celebrations and the fear of missing out on popular places are all fuelling the trend.”