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One in three plan to drink out more post-pandemic

More than a third of consumers intend to drink out more often when lockdown restrictions are eased in England, according to a new study.

One in three consumers in England plans to drink out more once lockdown restrictions ease

Last month, UK prime minister Boris Johnson revealed bars and pubs in England could reopen on 12 April for outdoor service if tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants are met. From 17 May, indoor hospitality could also be allowed to reopen.

Ahead of the on-trade’s reopening, academics from UK university Sheffield Hallam carried out consumer research to determine demand to visit hospitality venues in England. This was done in partnership with hospitality CRM provider Airship and hospitality gift card platform Toggle.

According to the research, 39% of people plan to eat and drink out more often when the lockdown restrictions are lifted, compared with before the pandemic.

The figure rises to 66% among 18-24-year-olds and 55% in those aged between 25 and 34.

The researchers found demand to visit hospitality venues was strongest in the north east region, with 55% of residents intending to eat and drink out more frequently, followed by Yorkshire (45%) and London (44%).

According to the data, 30% of people were also more inclined to join a loyalty scheme with a hospitality operator compared with before the pandemic. This rises to 52% among 18-24-year-olds.

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.”

Researchers polled 2,000 adults to explore their attitudes towards hospitality in the post-Covid environment.

Dan Brookman, CEO at Airship and Toggle, added: “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.”

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