One in three hospitality operators plan to maintain a focus on digital channels and will continue to invest in them post-pandemic, according to the latest Hospitality Leader’s Poll from Lumina Intelligence.

Following a push towards technology during the crisis, 36% of operators plan to continue developing digital, while 45% said they will revert back to traditional sales channels once restrictions are lifted.

When it comes to the importance of digital technology for business survival, there was an even split among respondents, with 32% claiming it would be important, 32% believing it won’t be, and 31% believing it would be neither important nor unimportant.

The majority of respondents (86%), said the believe consumer behaviour will have changed because of the pandemic, with 19% saying it will have “highly” changed, leading to rarer visits to city centres as people have permanently shifted to working and consuming in their own areas.

Just over one in ten (12%) said not much will have changed in consumer behaviour, and that people will return to city centres in pre-Covid numbers when all restrictions are lifted.

Around half of respondents believe that the sector will have to adapt to shifts in working and travelling patterns and not rely on government messaging to encourage old behaviours, but nearly a third (32%) said they believe the sector, especially businesses in city centres, will not recover without government encouraging changes in behaviour.

As the country sets out on its reopening roadmap, just 11% of business leaders said it would be too soon to promote a consumer incentive message that could spread the virus again, even to the detriment of the sector.

On the Chancellor’s budget plans to grant up to £18,000 per venue through the restart scheme, 38% said it will see them through the next few months of lockdown and restricted operating.

Over half (53%) welcomed the budget plans, but do not believe it to be enough given the length of closure.

The majority of operators (63%) expressed a positive outlook on consumer confidence when hospitality is allowed to reopen, and business confidence is also on the up, with 75% saying they are confident about the future of their own business, compared to 60% last week.