ePOS Hybrid research reveals UK consumers are keen to try unique dining experiences like VR

As the night time industry continues to plan for the future and many operators look to take their customer offering to the next level, we commissioned some research to shine a light on consumer perception of the emerging technologies that some venues are adopting.

Virtual reality (VR) is one technology that is having a considerable impact on the way some venues operate, particularly when it comes to offering their patrons a truly unique experience. These simulated experiences are enabling venues to take their guests on an augmented, three-dimensional journey. In some instances these are reflective of real places in other parts of the world, while in others guests are immersed into environments that are out of this world, enabling these venues to set themselves apart from their competitors in the ‘traditional’ hospitality realm. 

The past 18 months have led to some businesses also leaning into VR to showcase their venues are safe and adhering to government guidelines, which is something we’ve seen consumers become increasingly interested in. In fact, our research revealed 40% of consumers across the UK would like the opportunity to take a virtual tour of a venue before visiting, to ensure it has all of the right health and safety measures in place.  

However, others are utilising VR to really elevate the customer experience. Our research also revealed 28% would be open to regularly visiting a bar/restaurant that offered them a VR experience if it was more accessible, while 21% would pay above the odds for a dining experience of this nature. 

There are a wealth of technologies available to elevate the in-venue experience for consumers, enabling businesses to really take it to that next level.

VR is possibly the most interesting we’ve seen emerge in recent years, with some venues providing patrons with immersive headsets to enhance their culinary experience taking them on a journey to the place that inspired their dish.

While some venues across the UK, like London’s Otherworld and Croydon’s Limitless-VR, have integrated VR gaming with going out to distinguish themselves by offering consumers a new experience. 

Venues such as Ibiza’s Sublimotion are also really paving the way with this technology, combining Michelin star food with an immersive multi-sensory experience, during which guests can submerge themselves into other worlds and travel to different times without having to leave their seats.

On the general use of technology across the hospitality industry, our research revealed:

  • 44% of consumers would likely spend more on a dining experience if it was unique
  • 32% would be interested in an elevated entertainment experience should hospitality businesses utilise holograms of well-known artists
  • 32% would only ever visit a restaurant offering a unique experience such as VR as a one-off
  • 31% are scared that if more technology is integrated into experiences, they will become less social
  • Only 9% are excited about VR dining experiences, such as incorporating immersive headsets to enhance the culinary experience

In our opinion, VR is definitely one to watch and creates a great opportunity for venues to offer something unique. While the implementation of immersive headsets may be a little too beyond the traditional setup right now, as the cost of the technology falls and consumers become more aware of this type of experience, we expect to see VR bars become fairly mainstream across the UK in the coming years.

For more information about consumer perception of VR and how we envision the restaurants and bars of the future to look, download our full report here.

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