September 14, 2020

Well over a third of pub goers miss the buzz of the crowd in pubs

Nearly 2 thirds (62.6%) of people find atmosphere less sociable than pre-lockdown.

The pub sector is well on top of its game if the latest research from KAM Media’s Customer Sentiment Tracker is anything to go by. Net Promoter Scores have bounced back to record levels, hitting 63 (+50 is considered excellent) - a level even higher than pre-lockdown levels.

Certainly encouraging, but where is there possible room for improvement? Startle’s research into the pub going experience reveals that the majority of pub goers don't think the current post-lockdown pub experience would be worse with the sound of a crowd, with well over a third (36.6%) of them explicitly stating they think the post lockdown pub atmosphere would be better with the clink of glasses and hum of people (see graph 1). This is completely understandable, given the series of government measures designed to keep voices down in combatting the spread.

How can the buzz of the pub crowd be improved?

Mission Impossible? Not quite, but it’s not as simple as cranking up the music volume to compensate. While loud music is proven to have the handy benefit of making customers drink more in less time**, the current legislation rules that out. 

Yet if customers are hearing songs more in tune with their tastes, that could certainly compensate for any perceived lack of buzz. Pubs could allow customers to choose tracks through interactive functionality; either integrating with their brand app or through a branded touchscreen jukebox, while data gathered through a Wi-Fi network profiles music to suit the customers present at different times.

And although a lot of entertainment is still off limits, there are a number of app-based alternatives (such as the Startle-powered game, Rock and Roll Bingo) that can gee up a (socially-distanced) crowd without the need for a host.

Graph 1

It is certainly something that can be overcome, and is important to do so, as nearly 2 thirds (62.6%) of people find the atmosphere less sociable than pre-lockdown.

Meanwhile, the majority of those who think the sound of people would improve the pub atmosphere are male (60.6%), see graph 2.

Graph 2

Thoughts from our CEO, Adam Castleton:

"Restrictions imposed for keeping customers safe have no doubt created a gap in the customer experience for pubs. The good news is that there are a range of technical solutions on the market that allow pub operators to control the atmosphere and entertain guests safely, and it's arguably more important than ever to invest in these technologies to ensure customers have a great experience that keeps them coming back."

This hub is going to be the place to be for consumer research in retail and hospitality, so make sure to bookmark it, follow us on social, write it on a post-it note or whatever it is that you do. You could also sign up and subscribe to our mailing list, which is easy like Sunday morning.

Surveys carried out July and August 2020. Sample sizes (n) >1000 people, UK Nat. Rep. with 95% confidence level & margin of error of +/- 5%.

*KAM Media: The Customer Sentiment Tracker. 7th September 2020.

Well over a third of pub goers miss the buzz of the crowd in pubs
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Startle Music Ltd
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