Money makers: event and promotional ideas for your pub

By Jo Bruce

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sloe gin Marketing Bury st edmunds

The ski lodge has seen 32 private events
The ski lodge has seen 32 private events
Seasonal marquee events space

Where:​ ETM Group's Gun, Docklands, London

The idea​: The pub transformed an outside terrace into a marquee events space, themed on an alpine ski lodge.

How it works​: Fully heated and with its own private bar, ‘Off-Piste at The Gun’ is available to hire exclusively for private parties of between 40 and 120 guests, between November and March 2015. Seasonal canapé and bowl food menus are available to pre-order. The space is licensed until 11pm for drinks and until 10pm for music.

Marketing​: A launch party was held for key contacts on the opening night of the lodge, with complimentary canapés and cocktails courtesy of Jagermeister. A mail shot to The Gun’s 15,000 strong database was issued, alongside a press release which generated 14 pieces of online and print coverage. Social media was also used to promote the space, with a sponsored campaign on Facebook generating 60% more likes than a standard post and directly resulting in five event bookings.

Be prepared​: The concept, purchasing and set up of the space was conceived and delivered by the ETM Group’s internal marketing and events team at a total cost in the region of £15,000. Themed with armchairs, fur rugs, vintage skis and sledges and mountain-scaped walls, the walled marquee structure effectively becomes an extension of the pub’s indoor space.

Pay-off​: Builds on the success of last year’s hunting lodge themed events space; continues to be relevant as an events venue until the end of the skiing season in March; utilises an otherwise redundant space.

Best outcome​:Widespread publicity boosted profile, generating many festive party bookings.

Key benefits​: Allows the space to bring in significant revenue for the pub throughout the winter months; helps to give the pub a competitive edge.

Advice:​ Group marketing manager for ETM, Jessica Dahlin, says: "The success of an event space is entirely measurable by the revenue it drives and therefore the way it is promoted is vital in achieving return on investment. Make use of the free tools you have to promote the space - promoted posts on Facebook are inexpensive but target your messages to the people you want to read about them."

Best outcome​: 32 private events booked by the beginning of December

World Sloe Gin Championships

Where:​ The George Inn, Frant, East Sussex

The idea:​Promoting the George’s focus on quality dining and tapping into popularity of foraging through annual contest to find the World Sloe Gin Champion.

How it works​: Individual and commercial producers were invited to enter separate categories. Promoter Moon Down received 26 entries. Winner of the home-made sloe gin category, Grace Winey, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was presented with her award by this year’s judge and 2013 winner, David Bennet. Commercial winner was "liquid deli" company Demijohn, which has outlets in Edinburgh, Glasgow, York and Oxford and online.

Marketing​:Event promotion by local foraging and craft company Moon Down and local PR firm Avocado Media. Local radio stations and magazines picked up the winners’ story, also publicised by Demijohn.

Be prepared​: Numbers vary considerably in December depending on weather, date and time of contest.

Pay-off​: Boosts loyalty and interest among regular and new customers.

Key benefits​: Funds raised for MS Society from entry fees amounted to £234. Good media coverage for pub and its events.

Advice​: Be confident in power of marketing for a rural pub

Best outcome​:Widespread publicity boosted profile, generating many festive party bookings.


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