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No-shows cost sector £17.6bn

Published:  01 September, 2021

Customers not turning up for their bookings are costing the hospitality sector £17.6bn each year, according to a new CGA and Zonal report.

Since the sector reopened one in seven (14%) people have not turned up for their reservation, with one in eight (12%) people saying they are more likely to no-show than they were before the pandemic, the research found.

In light of the report, leading hospitality companies and leaders have joined forces to highlight the issue via a new #ShowUpForHospitality initiative aimed at educating customers on the impact of not turning up for bookings, as well as to provide insight, tools and tips to operators to help mitigate the impact.

“No shows have been a blight on the industry for many, many years, but with tens of thousands of hospitality businesses in such a fragile state following prolonged periods of closure and heavily-restricted trading, they are currently deeply damaging to venues,” said Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality (UKH) — one of the supporters of the initiative.

The report also identifies a strong correlation between no-shows and age, with 18–34-year-olds the worst offenders — over a quarter (28%) of this age group have not honoured their bookings, compared to just 1% of those aged 55 or over.

This was partly explained by the fact that younger adults are more frequent bookers in comparison to other age demographics, according to the report, which found that nearly three quarters (73%) of 18-to 34-year-olds had made a reservation since April — well above the national average of 60% and older age groups like 65+ (52%).

On a more positive note, over half of consumers (55%) said they were willing to pay a no-show fee if they didn’t turn up while nearly as many (51%) would be happy to pay a deposit to secure a booking.

Moreover, some 36% said they would be more likely to show up if the venue simply reminded them by phone, SMS, email or app.

“Our pubs, bars and restaurants deserve our support and it’s encouraging that this research shows there is a growing realisation among customers of the need to honour their booking or let the venue know they can’t make it,” said Nicholls.

But, she added, it also highlighted that no-shows still happened far too often, with younger customers particularly responsible, and “that really can’t go on". 

“We need a revitalised relationship between venues and their customers – and for people to be supportive and respectful of these businesses as they rebuild from the pandemic.”

To support the #ShowUpForHospitality initiative, which is already backed by Zonal, CGA, Bums On Seats and Wireless Social in addition to UKH, click here