Hospitality industry experiences year-on-year spike in positive reviews over July

New statistics from Feed It Back’s monthly social review tracker have revealed a spike in the year-on-year average review score across the hospitality industry during July, with the ratings rising from 3.9 out of 5.0 in 2018, to 4.2 this year.

The statistics, which were taken from thousands of social reviews across the restaurant, quick service restaurant and pub industries, showed that the restaurant sector’s average review score in July rose from 3.9 to 4.2 year-on-year; while the pub and bar sector experienced an uplift from 4.0 to 4.2, over the same period.

The year on year rise in positive social reviews across the restaurant sector can be partly attributed to the perfect storm of last summer’s extended warm weather and an unexpected World Cup run, which negatively impacted the restaurant industry. Conversely, the figures indicate the customer experience across the pub and bar sector, which performed strongly from a sales perspective, was hampered, which could partly be attributed to operational pressures driven by an influx in customers.

Looking at which channels consumers chose to post reviews, the data reveals that the pub and bar sector has experienced a significant spike in customers using Facebook to share their feedback, with the platform accounting for 9.9% of all reviews in July – almost a threefold increase on last year (3.4%). Given this channel is the most positive, due to its binary yes/no recommendation, this has also been a mitigating factor in the spike in positive reviews across pubs and bars in July.

Looking across both sectors, Google continues to remain the go-to channel with 67% of reviews, followed by TripAdvisor (24.8%), and then Facebook (8.2%).

Digging deeper into what is driving positive reviews, a prominent feature for the pub and bar sector is the word ‘cocktail’. Conversely, ‘wait’ times continue to remain the primary driver in negative reviews across both sectors.

Commenting on the figures, Carlo Platia, CEO of Feed It Back, said: “It is fascinating to see that the average social review scores have risen year-on-year for both the restaurant and pub and bar sectors. Last July brought a perfect storm of sustained good weather and a highly enjoyable World Cup run, which drove footfall spend in pubs and bars across the country.

“With this in mind, we would expect to see the pub and bar sector struggling to match the atmosphere and experience of last summer, when actually we have seen year-on-year growth in positive social reviews, suggesting operational pressures impacted last year’s customer experience. That said, with a significant increase in the number of customers using Facebook as their preferred platform to leave reviews about the pub and bar sector, this has also positively impacted the figures.

“It’s also interesting to see cocktails become a key driver in positive reviews across the pub and bar sector. Cocktails can be a dilemma from an operational perspective, due to the impact on speed of service and the fact that wait times are consistently the primary driver in negative reviews.  However, advances in technology, and the availability of draught cocktails, has eased these pressures, which likely has had a positive impact on the ratings we are seeing.”

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