As Valentine’s Day approaches, Gail Cook, Global Head of Marcoms, Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation, explores the steps designers and hospitality businesses can take to boost their appeal as romantic locations in the age of the ethical consumer
Valentine’s Day is more than just a fad. This annual event brings serious spending power – so much, in fact, that even Greggs offered diners candle-lit dining experiences in 2018. Indeed, dining out is the most popular way for people to spend money celebrating Valentine’s Day in the UK. The hospitality industry has a prime opportunity to capitalise on this by offering romantic meals, retreats and experiences, but there are certain factors businesses need to consider to ensure they appeal to today’s loved-up consumers.
Firstly, there’s the ethical awareness that many consumers are now adopting. As climate consciousness becomes a bigger issue – especially among younger customers – businesses that reflect these ideals can benefit from their custom. The Ethical Consumer Markets Report found 49% of consumers under 24 have avoided a product or service due to its negative environmental impact.
Second to this is the stay-at-home alternative to celebrating Valentine’s Day which the likes of M&S are fuelling with reasonably priced meal offers tailored towards couple’s who want a candle-lit dinner in the comforts of their own home.
To position themselves as the best option, hospitality businesses need to consider how they can provide a must-have experience with the unique and romantic atmosphere couples expect, while also appealing to them from an ethical standpoint. Valentine’s Day might be a great reason to dim the lights and lower the energy bill, but couples looking for the wow factor will be expecting more.
Reducing footprints and increasing footfall
Any investment a business makes to enhance the guests’ experience will also need to provide the business with further value throughout the year. There are plenty of quick and easy changes that can be made such as using recycled decorations and swapping plastic straws for paper alternatives, but can quick and easy changes be made from a building design standpoint that still helps deliver the right feel and ambience? Even better if this can be done in an affordable way with solutions that require as little maintenance as possible.
Traditional fires are synonymous with romantic settings. Fireplaces and stoves have always been regarded as places where tender moments are shared and they are becoming a growing trend in interior design. However, this could quickly change due to the environmental aspect which has been widely publicised following the publication of the proposed Clean Air Plan. The Act stops short of a complete ban on traditional fires due to the emissions they create, but does suggest an avoidance of real flame.
Electric flame technology can provide all the ambience and romance that guests would expect from a real fire, but in an environmentally friendly fashion, providing a highly convincing illusion of glowing logs and smoke. The technology is 100% energy efficient, relying on mains power instead of combustible fuel. This means businesses won’t be sourcing fuel such as logs or coal – a practice that comes with its own climate-related implications.
As clean, renewable energy becomes more of a reality, electric flame technology will become an even more climate-friendly option. What’s more, electric flame installations can be used throughout the year without raising the room temperature to excessive levels, meaning the wow-factor isn’t just limited to Valentine’s Day.
Adaptable for all spaces
Many spaces don’t have existing chimneys or flues and are therefore unable to benefit from the ambience a traditional fire brings without structural work being carried out. Electric flame enables these spaces to benefit from that very ambience just as they are. Flat-to-wall units are ideal for placing on any wall without the need of building a fireplace of alcove to house it.
In some spaces, existing chimneys or flues are present but may have been put out of commission due to the cost and hassle of essential maintenance that has to take place on year-round basis. Instead of having them recommissioned, electric flame units can be put in place quickly and easily.
Businesses such as Novotel’s London Canary Wharf hotel have showcased how the wow-factor can be enhanced by using a striking flame installation as a centrepiece, but even a simple free-standing unit could be the difference that couples are looking for in their perfect Valentine’s Day venue.