Read our blog to find out what the HORECA channel is, its key communication, marketing and design issues; as well as the new short-term challenges it faces.
The HORECA concept, sometimes referred to as HORECA channel or sector, is the acronym for Hotels, Restaurants and Caterings. It is a way of labeling all the businesses among these niches and giving a name to this specific target from other perspectives such as production, distribution, commercial or marketing. We can also talk about HORECA as the industrial sector that prepares and serves food and beverages previously purchased.
It is a very important sector in any country for the development of derived activities such as tourism, and it is a great leisure attraction for all our cities. But as we said before, the term HORECA is something that, although it is used among the sector, it is usually a label that is often used from outside HORECA as in our case, from the marketing sector. We can talk about HORECA as the object of our actions or also as the target of our communications from the perspective of products and brands. To be clear, we can sell them, or we can sell to them. Knowing the industry and the differences between the perspectives from which we can approach it, it is vital to be aware of the current context of life in our society that is key in how we consume food and beverages that we do not prepare, either outside or inside our home.
Current consumer trends
After the COVID-19 pandemic and being immersed in a new economic crisis, the way of life and consumption in cities has changed a lot, in addition to the generational change in the 20-40 age group, provoking an accelerated pace of digitalization in all aspects.
All these conditions have resulted in a more sacrificed and precarious work environment, with worse schedules that produce a lack of free time and leisure, while we are more aware of our health and committed to local commerce. From here we will list three key consumer trends that are the result of all these social changes.
In big cities like London, Madrid or Barcelona, where commuting times between places and the high pace of the cities are large and complicated, eating is becoming a mere formality, not a pleasure. This way of life is coming to more cities where it is becoming increasingly difficult to fit lunch or dinner in a restaurant into our schedules. So if you can’t go to the restaurant, the restaurant comes to you. There are many haute cuisine projects by Michelin-starred chefs who are adapting to this context and delivering haute cuisine dishes to home.
Bio vs. Light
Since the first rumors that COVID-19 had traveled from a market in Wuhan, it is impossible not to be more aware of the traceability of the products we consume daily, especially with the current trend of healthy food. That is why the trend among consumers is demanding higher quality products in a more conscious way to which the agricultural and livestock sector is adapting. We want to eat healthier, tastier food and made with good products. The «light» label is no longer enough.
Handcrafted and local products
In recent years, small farmers and ranchers, as well as small businesses, have been badly affected. That is why there are so many campaigns to support local commerce and with it, a preference for artisanal, local and less processed products, where we can be well informed about where it comes from, who produces it and who sells it to us.
Keys for marketing
Either for brands that want to distribute their products or for establishments that sell them, the change in consumption patterns means that they must adapt their marketing strategies to the needs of consumers. Here are three basic keys that we know from our experience and with which you can structure your strategies.
We eat through our eyes
Now that everything is more digital than ever and the distance between the customer and the final product is bigger, digital strategies based on photos and videos are vital to give credibility and desire to our products. That is why today, investing in a good photographer or videographer is essential to make your brand stand out amongst competitors.
Don’t sell more than you have
In terms of communication, it is easy to want to talk about everything as the best option on the market. The best, the cheapest, the prettiest. But we can’t always go overboard with what we have. We have to be conscious of what we work with. If, for example, if we have a fast food restaurant with a cheap menu usually frequented by young people between 18 and 24 years old, we could talk about having a cheap, tasty and fast product… but it would be a mistake to talk about the quality of our meat or the quiet and exclusive atmosphere of the place. However, if we have a poké bowls business, with good products at reasonable prices where we invest a lot in design and appearance of the business, and the regular customer is nice and quiet, young-medium age, perhaps we can talk about the quality of the products we sell and their sustainability, with a good and quiet atmosphere.
The customer is not stupid and we can not trick him, if we achieve through our strategies that they buy something and what they buy is not close to what they had seen in our social networks or website, they will never come back and probably give a bad opinion in our social networks. Always remember, it is much more expensive to get a new customer than to keep the one you already have.
Data, data and more data
Even if you prepare a strategy for a small hotel or a bottled water brand, try to study a lot on sales data. Developing a good customer profile is vital to adapt your strategy to their way of life and communicate, and for this, it is essential to have data, even if they are an approximation.
In a coffee shop, the most common waiters can give you an approximation of the frequent public, in the case of a beverage brand, as an example, these waiters can help you give a close profile of the people who usually consume that product, in addition to receiving data from the sales department that can give you where they sell more and thus analyze the demographics of the area.
Where is marketing going in the HORECA sector?
In a more digitized world and with changing consumer trends, it is difficult to take advantage of this, but in the short term there are some key points that we can use in order to prioritize where marketing is going. As well as what lines of study we can work on to adapt to all these social changes.
Experiences and UX
Given all these new challenges facing the sector, everything will go further than the product you sell. The experience of consuming your product or consuming in your business is vital in order to impact your customers compared to the competition. Although today the concept of UX is so limited to websites and apps, a large part of its methodologies can help us study how customers interact with what we sell. Therefore looking for experiences that engage the customer with your brand and studying how they interact can be a great advantage.
Closer and further
Consumption trends mean that, on the one hand, our consumption trend is more local when we talk about going anywhere, but on the other hand, for delivery, the trend is to order far from home. This double situation means that we must be well focused on what our product requires and focus on it in our strategy. These concepts can be strange and impossible to mix but being able to combine them is vital to give our clients the best coverage. It is neither physical or digital, it is physical and digital combined. You must give a real approach to your products whether you are a hundred meters or a hundred kilometers away from the business.
Video vs. Photo
At the level of content and how we interact digitally with brands, it is very important to adapt to new trends. With the arrival of TikTok and as we mentioned in one of our previous blog posts, it has expanded the way we consume new content and, even more so, video content has acquired a leading role in all social networks. From now on you have to start including videos as Reels on Instagram to improve your interactions.
With these brief analyzes and tips, you can now face each project and make marketing strategies according to your needs. If you want to know more, contact us or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin or Twitter and we will let you know when we have something new to tell you. See you later!