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19 March 2021

Research shows one-in-three will eat and drink out more frequently than before pandemic

New consumer research co-led by Sheffield Hallam University has revealed that over a third of people are intending to eat and drink out more often when the lockdown restrictions are lifted, compared to before the pandemic

Press contact: Greg Mattocks-Evans | g.mattocks-evans@shu.ac.uk

A pizza restaurant on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield

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 led by academics from the Sheffield Business School, in partnership with Sheffield-based hospitality CRM provider Airship.co.uk and hospitality gift card platform Toggle.

Drawing on 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 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 hospitality experiences after Covid-19.

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, whilst 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).

James Ellerby, senior lecturer in hospitality 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.”

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.”

Press contact

Greg Mattocks-Evans

Contact us

For help with a story or to find an expert

Email: pressoffice@shu.ac.uk
Phone: 01142 252811

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