Modern pub companies are already seeking ways of stepping up their offerings beyond the traditional fare in a bid to pull in the punters, including next-level themed events and gaming.
By ramping up activity around big events, such as the Super Bowl, pubs can capture more revenue, according to three panellists speaking about the positives of creating experiences.
ETM Group marketing director Sam Bourke said: “For the past 12 months, it’s been all about staging experiences to create memorable moments because it’s no longer good enough to just have an amazing venue and a good offering – you’ve got to go above and beyond because there’s so much competition.
“People want you to create an event or a party, something they will remember,” she added.
“We opened a site in Victoria last year as a sports bar and lounge and for the Super Bowl, this year, we brought in cheerleaders and had the staff dress up and ticketed the event – we took about £35,000.”
Pubs must shift things up a gear if they are to attract younger drinkers, who typically consume less alcohol than their parents, according to Laine Pub Company sales and marketing director Dan Hills.
“We’ve always been experienced-led with live theatre, music and performance. In recent years, we’ve been looking at other reasons to come to the pub such as gaming,” said Hill.
“We’ve got some sites with enormous spaces where people can book online, to have an experience with friends. Experience is important when you walk into the pub.
“Young people aren’t drinking as much as they used to, so we’re giving them a reason to go out to the pub where they can just have a soft drink and some food, but still have a good time with their friends.”
Update to gaming equipment
Laine specialises in virtual reality experiences in some of its sites, playing on the fact the general population are unable to, due to cost, update their gaming equipment as soon as they become out date.
Yet, experiences don’t have to be so out of the ordinary, according to Beds & Bars operations director Richard Bradford.
“Our main sports venue is in London Bridge – the Dugout – it’s got little caves and snugs with settees. We invested heavily in picture and sound,” said Bradford.
“We’ve spent a lot of money making sure our picture quality is perfect. If you look at a game of football, it looks like 3D and we have a lot of feedback about picture quality.
“People want to come for that immersive experience, but it’s not always about reinventing the wheel.”