Written by Rebecca Brennan-Brown
With the opening day for pubs approaching closer and closer, we can almost taste the excitement felt by many to go back to beer gardens with their friends. In my experience of events and hospitality, we will see some people flood back, craving to get their summer Aperol spritz, but others will be more cautious. But if sufficient social distancing measures are in place and safety is prioritised, how can we encourage those more cautious customers to return?
Holding an outdoor function creates an incentive for customers to attend and spend. Having outside space is an enormous advantage right now, as we know the infection rates significantly reduce outside. So how can you safely use your outdoor space for social events over the next few months?
Providing you have the right contacts to obtain traders, a beer festival is a great way to draw in customers.The weather need not be an issue; gazebos will solve that problem.A socially distanced beer festival will look different from usual, a reoccurring theme across all areas of hospitality. Consider asking customers to order from their tables rather than queuing for a drink to manage social distancing.
It’s been months since anyone has seen music live. Many people are absolutely gutted that all of their festivals, gigs and open nights have been cancelled or rescheduled. Creating a mini socially distanced festival using your outdoor space could be a great way to entice music fans. Plus, it’s been so long since musicians have had any live jobs, they’ll jump at the change to play again.
Outdoor Film Nights
Projector screens, blankets, warm drinks and food. Doesn’t that sound cosy? An abundance of outdoor cinemas are opening, but some people are concerned about being in such large groups of people. Smaller films nights will make those people feel more comfortable.The equipment is easy to come by, so tells guests to bring blankets, and make sure you have the hot chocolates ready.
Bingo is no longer just for pensioners. Since lockdown began, we’ve seen all ages suddenly take up bingo.With the addition of drag queen callers and attractive prizes, bingo can be an entertaining event. Again, the equipment isn’t difficult to come by; there are many callers online. Plus, as this is an activity which takes place seated, it’s easier to keep people apart.
Clubs and bars will be closed for some time, so why not bring a safe version of this to your outdoor space? If you can find a suitable way of sectioning off your space so customers can be socially distanced, this is a great option. Silent disco kits are easy to come by and can be hired for a small cost.
Many couples have cancelled weddings due to COVID, and are there- for getting married with fewer family and friends around. It isn’t currently legal to get married outside in the UK, but you can offer your outside space as a place to celebrate a couple’s wedding with their family and friends safely.
Again focussing on the elements people have lacked over the past few months, many are craving restaurant meals.With smart but straightforward technology such as QR codes, ordering food from a variety of different vendors while remaining safe is easy. Consider theming your food fest to a particular cuisine, maybe you have an Asian food-themed day and invite street food vendors from your local area.
Owners and managers have the difficult task of managing alcohol intake, knowing that social distancing and safety measures are likely to slip as people have more to drink.Tokens or limits should be considered, with managers using their discretion on safe contact.
With all of these suggestions, it’s paramount that the marketing of such events is right.The hospitality industry has a huge challenge ahead to shift the attitudes of customers, as many people will still be concerned about safety. By addressing those concerns from the forefront, we can make customers feel comfortable in the knowledge that social distancing has been adhered to, and their safety is the paramount concern.