Category: News

The smell of cut grass, longer days, an ice-cold drink on a hot day… there are so many things to love about the summer. When it comes to your business, there’s plenty to love too. Customers come flocking to venues that promise them the best summer experience. You may be asking how you can make the most of all these people and all these extra opportunities to make profit. Well, with that in mind, we have compiled a couple of pointers on how to do just that.

  1. Relocate outside!

If there’s one thing we love in this country, it’s a beer garden. Now, you don’t necessarily have to serve beer, of course – but al fresco dining always makes a pleasant change to the months of inside dining we have in the UK because of our, um, somewhat unpredictable weather patterns. If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor area, whether it’s for dining or a play area for children, decorate it, and make it a feature of your venue! Customers will be attracted to the space, and they’ll be able to see it without even entering your actual venue, so you will attract more new customers! Think of it as “window dressing” for your business.

2. Summer food and drink offers

Everybody has a certain item of food or drink that they immediately associate with summer – whether it’s a BBQ burger, a cool glass of lemonade, or something in between. Sales of summery food and drink items increase at this time of year anyway, so putting offers on items you know are going to sell, you’ll only encourage more sales and entice more customers. People will be more than willing to hand over their hard-earned cash if a long, cool glass of summery punch is on the menu – make the most of it!

3. Summer-specific loyalty initiative

Something else people have more of in the summer is simply, time. The days are longer, there are more bank holidays, and more holidays in general… this means that your audience have more time to visit your venue. You need to make the most out of this, and one way of doing it is by introducing a summer-specific loyalty initiative. If there are six weeks for school summer holidays, why not introduce a scheme where customers receive points if they visit on a weekly basis? That way you’ll increase traffic in your venue, push customer retention up, and profits too. Or simply increase the amount of points customers are able to collect during the summer months – that way, both of you win!

4. School summer holiday advertising

This is absolutely key if you are to increase profits over the summer months. The school summer holidays mean you are likely to have a captive audience at your venue for over a month. However, this also means they’ll be a lot of competition for people visiting your venue as opposed to others in the area, so increasing your marketing effort is imperative to success. Whether you mostly advertise online or by physical means, now is the time to step up that effort, and perhaps come up with a few new, innovative ways to spread the word?! Check out our previous marketing blog post if you need some inspiration.

However you choose to celebrate summer at your venue, do it in style with Booked it! Our software suite will make it 100% easier to summer-proof your business, and increase sales whilst making the most of this good weather.

Words by Rebecca Clayton

Last week, unprecedented celebrations took place across the country as the UK commemorated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. For the first time in history, the late May bank holiday was moved to the 2nd June to give the public a four day weekend. As was to be expected, the long weekend was a hive of activities and events – street parties, a televised concert, and the beginning of the festival season all encouraged people to leave their homes and use hospitality venues in a way that hasn’t been seen since before the pandemic.

This can be confirmed by statistics provided to us by Barclaycard Payments. According to Barclaycard, which processes £1 in every £3 spent on credit and debit cards in the UK, restaurants saw a 41.5% increase in spending in comparison with this time last year, with spending on entertainment increasing in tandem by 67.3%. Furthermore, UK pubs, bars and nightclubs saw a 74.2% rise in spending compared to the same period last year. This data is still in its infancy, and it is likely that over the next few weeks more data-led think tanks and companies will come forward with statistics that further compound the positive effects the Jubilee bank holiday had on the economy, in particular the leisure and hospitality industries.

“Spending soared across many sectors during the Platinum Jubilee weekend as Brits came together to celebrate and enjoy the sunny weather” says Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments. “Despite wider concerns around the cost of living, the hospitality sector especially will be pleased by this welcome boost, having missed out on two years of unrestricted trading,” Cameron continues.

This boost to profits lies in stark contrast to the cost of living crisis, which has led to a 5.9% decline in spending at restaurants and a 1.2% decline in pubs, bar, and clubs. It is these spiralling costs that have led business leaders to urge the government to implement a supplementary bank holiday. It is most likely that this would be known as a “thank holiday,” to permanently honour the monarch and her public service. The extra bank holiday, proposed in an open letter by UK Hospitality and the CBI, is projected to increase spending in the leisure and hospitality industries, as well as bring England and Wales up to speed with our neighbours and European counterparts – whilst England and Wales have 8 bank holidays annually, Scotland and Ireland have 10, and Finland, France and Germany have 11.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said that the sector would be “ready to embrace this important tribute”, although opening hours may be restricted during a new bank holiday and businesses might need to find additional staffing cover. The government has remained resistant to the proposals, arguing that the cost of an extra bank holiday would be £1.36bn when the impact on business of closures, disruption to production schedules, and premium payments to staff working on the bank holiday, were all taken into consideration.

The Jubilee weekend has proven to the government that bank holiday can be lucrative investments, and can be the catalyst for increased spending, particularly in the leisure and hospitality industries. We shall see over the coming weeks whether the data providing by Barclays has any effect on the government’s stance against an extra bank holiday.

Words by Rebecca Clayton

It’s no secret that the cost of living is rising exponentially, and companies are struggling to keep up. The factors involved in these rising inflation levels are varied and far-reaching – our emergence from the pandemic, coupled with the UK’s exit from the European Union and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, are all having a devastating impact on the cost of food manufacturing and energy prices.

Sasha Lord is the latest industry figure to speak out about the way these issues are affecting the leisure and hospitality industry. As we anticipate next week’s spring statement, Lord has expressed ‘overwhelming concern’ for a sector battling staff shortages on top of rising costs and customers that are now more reluctant to spend their money in venues across the UK.

Lord released a statement on the 14th of March: ‘We are seeing difficulties across the board, from supply chain coordination, price rises in produce and ingredients and surging energy costs, which will only increase over the coming months. We can say with certainty that these unavoidable pressures we have huge, business-defining impacts on our hospitality sector.’

The NTIA (Night Time Industries Association) has called for an extension to current VAT reduction to try and mitigate the impact of economic instability. More than 250 business owners have signed a letter urging the chancellor to extend these measures – this was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is pushing up the prices of wheat, gas, and oil.

Everywhere you go, it feels as though prices are increasing and our pay packets at the end of every month are shrinking. You may be feeling worried about the impact this will have on your business – if you are feeling like this, we can assure you you’re not alone. These figures and statements to the press are all a bit daunting, and the question remains; what does this mean for you? Well, in lieu of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement next week, it is difficult to tell the full extent of support that will be available to you. However, research suggests that the hospitality industry will be key in the economy’s recovery over the next few years.

Statistics show that, with extra support from the government, the hospitality industry could be at the forefront of economic growth. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality. said: “With positive action from the government, however, such as keeping VAT at 12.5%, the sector can be part of the solution to the cost-of-living crisis.” This is an optimistic sentiment, and we can only hope that the government is listening to industry experts as the Spring Statement approaches.

Some companies have even offered to help Ukrainian refugees by giving them employment in this country within the leisure, hospitality, and retail sectors. This would go some way to helping the influx of vacancies that our industry is seeing, which is yet another factor in these rising costs. If you feel your business would benefit from this initiative, and would be able to benefit the lives of others, this would be a good way to helping you to manage both rising costs and staff shortages.

Words by Rebecca Clayton