The following article is brought to you by Coors Brewers.
Having the right range of products to cater for the key occasions is vitally important to drive sales.
In our industry, occasionality is often referred to as one of the key drivers to get customers through your doors. But what is it? In simple terms, it is the reasons that drinkers have for going to a pub or bar.
Recent studies suggest that six major on-trade occasions exist:
- Social get together: 27% of market volume
- Quiet drink: 22% of market volume
- Active socialising - meeting friends: 6% of market volume
- Eating: 7% of market volume
- Upbeat event - big night out: 26% of market volume
- Social clubs: 12% of market volume
Source: RSL Brandtrak 2002
We also talk about the importance of having the right range of products to cater to those occasions and whether your particular outlet can cater to those consumers. But is that all there is to occasionality? Yes and no. As explained, occasionality is the decision making process that consumers go through, prior to having a drink.
It is influencing this decision which is difficult, but once mastered can give you great returns.
What motivates consumers to have a quiet drink or attend an upbeat event? More importantly what can you, as a retailer, do to influence those occasions? To get to that answer, you first have to do a bit of homework to analyse which occasions your pub or bar is best suited for. You will first have to determine what your customer base and demographics are:
- Is it mostly male or female?
- Old or young?
- Singles or couples?
- What time of day is your heaviest trade?
- When is trade at its peak, Friday, Tuesday?
These all sound like very common sense type questions, but it is imperative that you know exactly who is trading in your location before you even consider the type of occasion your establishment naturally links to.
The main reason for doing this exercise is so that you can narrow down the type of occasions that your location would be suitable for.
Remember who your customer is and appeal to their likes and dislikes. It is also extremely important to keep in mind what your main objective for hosting a particular occasion is. Do you want to attract more people, or do you want to get current customers to buy more or buy differently?
Once you have decided the outcome you want, it is essential you plan your activity accordingly.
The next challenge is to decide what occasions to use to drive traffic into your outlet. There are a variety of options available in terms of what you can take advantage of. There is the diary route, where you look to tie into main Bank Holidays and major events (ie, St Patrick's Day, St George's Day, FA Cup Final).
There is also the idea of having a theme per night (ie, Monday is football night, Wednesday is student night, Saturday is the big night out). Or if you really want to be unique, you can make up your own occasion! Perhaps a family day centred on the next bank holiday or an all-ladies pool night.
Which brings us to the most important reason to take advantage of occasionality - increased revenue. In an article published on this site in February on the benefits of promoting St George's Day, a specially-commissioned report by Charles Wells states that licensees are missing out on a whopping £14m in lost revenue by not promoting it.
As the marketplace becomes more and more competitive and on-trade sales move to the off-trade, it seems almost imperative that every opportunity is taken when it comes to attracting more customers into your pub. Once you have decided what you would like to do, the most important thing you can do to ensure success is to have a well laid out plan:
- Think of every detail that needs looking after and decide who is responsible for it.
- Make sure you have enough stock and the right stock in.
- Plan on having more staff on if needed.
- Where do you plan to advertise?
- All these details will need to be thought of well in advance and executed properly for the big event.
With the summer fast approaching it is the perfect opportunity to gear up your range of offerings and plan some really impactful activity around some of the key summer events and add extra profit to your bottom line.
Occasionality is what you make it. It's not just about Hallowe'en or St Patrick's Day. We've put together some important (or just plain daft) dates coming up over the next few months - be creative and tailor-make occasions to suit your own customers.
MAY1st British Naturist Day5th May Day Bank Holiday6th Tony Blair's 50th Birthday8th VE Day20th/29th Indy 50026th Bank Holiday
JUNE 15th Fathers Day21st World Toe Wrestling Championships - Staffordshire21st Summer Solstice (Longest Day)23rd Start of Wimbledon27th Go Mad Sports Day
JULY 4th American Independence Day5th/6th Wimbledon Finals9th National Donor Day14th Bastille Day26th Mick Jagger's 60th Birthday
AUGUST8th National Hot Dog Day9th Start of Elvis Week13th International Left-Handers Day21st International Beatles Festival 22nd to 24th Carling Weekend