With the UK’s beloved pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes set to reopen in mid-April for outdoor service, and reports that pubs have been deluged with beer garden bookings, new consumer research reveals that over a third (39 per cent) of people are intending to eat and drink out more often when the lockdown restrictions are lifted, compared to before the pandemic.
The figure rises to two-thirds (66 per cent) amongst 18-24-year-olds and 55 per cent amongst 25-34-year-olds.
This pent-up demand to visit hospitality venues is strongest in the North East region, with 55 per cent of residents intending to eat and drink out more frequently, followed by Yorkshire (45 per cent) and London (44 per cent).
The findings are drawn from a new consumer loyalty insights report by hospitality CRM provider Airship.co.uk and hospitality gift card platform Toggle, in collaboration with academics from Sheffield Hallam University.
Drawing on robust primary research amongst 2,000 UK adults, the report identifies and explores the very latest attitudes towards hospitality and the valuable post-Covid opportunities for operators looking to leverage customer loyalty when the sector reopens.
Alternative revenue streams for hospitality businesses emerged throughout 2020 however two-fifths (41 per cent) of people have said that they are unlikely to continue to subscribe to at-home experiences after Covid-19.
Gift cards have also provided an opportunity for operators to generate presold revenue whilst the doors have been closed, with the family-run Devonshire Arms in Middle Handley, Derbyshire, generating over £60,000 in gift card sales during the November lockdown alone.
The data also reveals that almost a third (30 per cent) of people are now more inclined to join a loyalty scheme with a hospitality operator compared to before the pandemic. This rises to 52 per cent amongst 18-24-year-olds. 47 per cent of respondents indicated they would be interested in joining a loyalty scheme with their local pub.
For operators concerned about the financial impact of chasing loyalty, the values at which customers would be willing to visit a hospitality venue are relatively moderate. A third (33 per cent) said that the minimum free cash value that would incentivise them to visit a hospitality venue to redeem an offer was only £5.00, followed by £2.50 (18 per cent).
Dan Brookman, CEO at Airship.co.uk and Toggle, said: “Of all the industries that have been affected by Covid-19, the hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit. Some operators have been able to diversify and pivot to maintain a basic level of trade, yet the vast majority have been forced to close their doors. Beyond the financial impact, valuable relationships with even the most loyal of customers have, in most, cases been put on hold. It is therefore heartening to find from our report that the public is not only interested in returning to hospitality in greater frequency than before the pandemic; there is also a significant appetite for joining loyalty schemes with their local hospitality venues.”James Ellerby, hospitality academic at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Living under lockdown has forced changes in the way people live and new habits have been formed over the last year. However, the findings of this report highlight how customers are keen to return to eating and drinking within hospitality businesses, once restrictions are eased. This gives operators a great opportunity to regain much-needed customer patronage and secure their loyalty.
“Operators that actively drive customer loyalty will gain a competitive advantage in the coming months. A carefully considered loyalty programme, aligned to customer values, is an ideal foundation upon which to establish this competitiveness. Those who effectively build emotional bonds, commitment and trust with their customers will reap the benefits of a market eager to reconnect with hospitality…and will no doubt come back stronger.”
The hospitality insight report is part of Airship.co.uk and Toggle’s #ComeBackStrong campaign, which aims to educate and inspire hospitality professionals whilst the sector is shuttered. In addition to providing free insight and masterclass training sessions, operators can benefit from free access to Airship.co.uk, a powerful customer data management and broadcast platform that drives revenue through intelligent customer journeys; and Toggle, an intuitive gift card SaaS which integrates with existing platforms to enable operators to easily sell gift cards, products and experiences directly to customers.
Notes to Editors
The link to download the insight report is here.
Find out more about the #ComeBackStrong campaign here.
Airship is a data-driven hospitality loyalty engine that automatically increases visit frequency. It is a powerful, all-encompassing customer data management and broadcast platform that drives revenue through intelligent customer journeys.
Airship doesn’t charge for the size of a database or the number of broadcasts sent. With just a single flat rate per location, its experts are on hand to really help operators drive ROI.
Operators using Airship include: Byron, Leon, Roadchef, Boston Tea Party, Incipio Group, Turtle Bay, Tonkotsu, Tortilla, By The River Brew Co, Wells & Co, Three Joes, Tapas Revolution, Las Tasca, La Vina, JP Restaurants, Delaware North, Chilango, Barrio Bars, Anglian Country Inns, Revolución de Cuba, Nobu, Lane 7, Junkyard Golf and The Alchemist – plus many more.
Toggle is an intuitive gift card platform which integrates with many other hospitality platforms and EPOS providers – creating a transactional website for operators to easily sell gift cards, products and experiences directly to customers.
It is free for the first £1,000 worth of sales and operators can be up-and-running within a few hours.
Operators using Toggle to sell gift cards include: YO! Sushi, Revolution Bars, Franco Manca, Leon, Gusto, Tonkotsu, JW Lees, Yummy Pubs, Boston Tea Party, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Côte, Turtle Bay, Rudy’s, San Carlo, Bob Bob Ricard, Park Chinois, Revolución de Cuba, Hickory’s Smokehouse, Ego Restaurants & Rosa’s Thai Café – plus many more.
About Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield Hallam University’s vision is to become the world’s leading applied university, transforming lives and creating opportunities for people from all backgrounds.
Named University of the Year for Teaching Quality in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, Sheffield Hallam is one of the UK’s largest higher education providers, with over 30,500 students.
The University offers a comprehensive range of courses and is one of the leading providers of health and teacher training.
The application of knowledge is at the heart of everything we do, through our students’ learning and experience, business partnerships and innovative research addressing real world challenges.
The University is committed to the Sheffield City Region, providing leadership to drive improvements in social mobility, health and the economy.