CBE was delighted to have recently been one of the main sponsors of Marketing Derby’s first virtual Innovation In Hospitality event, which took place last week in lieu of the annual Marketing Derby Food and Drink Awards.
The event recognised the innovations shown by local hospitality businesses in response to Covid-19 and gave attendees the chance to hear first-hand how the effects of lockdown have impacted local businesses, and how they have had to adapt to survive.
John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, said: “Hospitality has been tremendously hard-hit by this pandemic, and we wanted to find a way to shine a light on such an important sector in the city and county. This event showcased the incredible spirit and resilience of local businesses in the way they continue to adapt their products and services in the face of ever-changing restrictions and guidelines.”
Attendees at the event were asked about their use of the hospitality sector since the start of the pandemic with 54% saying they had eaten out less since March, but throughout the event it became clear that initiatives like ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ had helped significantly in encouraging more customers back. This was reflected in the keynote speech by Brendan Moffett, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Derby, which highlighted research showing that The Eat Out to Help Out scheme saw over 100 million meals claimed during the summer, and crucially got people back into restaurants and to rebuild what was very fragile customer confidence at the time.
While panellists and attendees, through a lively discussion on the online chat platform, were critical of the recent curfew for hospitality businesses and the sector is prepared for some tough months ahead, the last poll of the event gave a reason for confidence in the future. 64% of attendees said they felt positive about the start of recovery of the hospitality industry in 2021.
Attendees confirmed they would be looking for a great customer experience in the future, with 46% voting for this as a key factor in their return.
Speaking about innovations in Derby, Brendan Moffett said: “Initiatives such as Derby Market Place continuing across Autumn and Winter will be a welcome boost.” And Marketing Derby is hopeful that it will be able to bring back its Food & Drink Awards in 2021 so that the sector might celebrate together some of its fantastic achievements during 2020.