Nearly half (48%) of consumers use social media to find places to eat and drink, a GO Tech report has revealed.
The survey was conducted among 5,000 British consumers in February 2022 by hospitality tech company Zonal and industry data and insight firm CGA.
GO Tech's report, in collaboration with booking channel aggregator Mozrest, also showed that 80% of consumers use at least one social media platform, with a third of these (31%) individuals using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to book tables or order takeaway.
Some 79% of consumers use Google for their dining-out decisions, making social media a close competitor.
The proportion of social-media-savvy hospitality venue hunters rose to 53% among 18 – 24 year olds.
By contrast, 75% of over 45s have never used Google to search for restaurant, which highlights a growing discrepancy between age groups.
Survey data also suggested that hospitality operators could consider implementing virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant to ease the process of making reservations.
Research showed that 50% of UK households now own a virtual assistant, and another third (30%) of consumers said that reserving a table via this method would be more convenient.
GO Tech's report pointed out that operators could offer a multiple-platform booking service involving phone, website, or virtual assistant that caters to the demands of all demographics.
Olivia FitzGerald, chief marketing and sales officer at Zonal, said: "Booking ahead became a necessity during the pandemic but even with restrictions lifted this trend is here to stay.
"With more people using the likes of Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Google for recommendations, having a booking system that can be linked to these online platforms is key.
"Marketers that use this space to effectively communicate with customers will be able to reap the benefits, maximising reservations and keeping customers engaged for the long-term."
Karl Chessell, director of hospitality operators and food, EMEA, at CGA, added: "It's interesting to see the soaring importance of both visual social media like Instagram and TikTok and virtual assistants, and these are vital places to connect with young adults in particular."
Jérôme Pernollet, founder and CEO of Mozrest, said: "Using online tools to make your venue visible where consumers look for reviews, images and recommendations is absolutely key.
"The good news is that now technology offers pubs and restaurants the ability to centralise all their online reservations in one place, whatever the booking channel."
The full GO Tech report can be accessed here.