Industry joins forces to highlight the impact of no shows

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Financial impact: no shows cost the sector more than £17bn a year (image: Getty/South_agency)
Financial impact: no shows cost the sector more than £17bn a year (image: Getty/South_agency)

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Leading hospitality companies and leaders are joining forces to highlight the issue of no-shows, which cost sector £17.6bn each year.

The new initiative is aimed at educating customers on the impact of not turning up for bookings, as well as to provide insight, tools and tips to operators to help mitigate the impact.

Zonal, CGA, UKHospitality, Bums On Seats and Wireless Social are just a few of the industry leaders supporting the campaign called #ShowUpForHospitality. 

Data from hospitality technology expert Zonal and industry insight firm CGA, has revealed the damaging impact which costs the sector £17.6bn each year.

Since the sector reopened one in seven (14%) people have not turned up to their reservation, with one in eight (12%) people saying they are more likely to no-show than they were before the pandemic.

The report identifies a strong correlation between no-shows and age, with 18–34-year-olds the worst offenders when it comes to no-shows. Over a quarter (28%) of 18-34-year-olds have not honoured their bookings, compared to just 1% of those aged 55 or over. 

This is partly explained by the fact that younger adults are more frequent bookers in comparison to other age demographics, the statistics reveal. Nearly three quarters (73%) of 18- to 34-year-olds say they have made a reservation since April — well above the national average of 60% and older age groups like 65+ (52%).

Mitigate no shows

There are ways operators can help mitigate no shows. According to the report, over half of consumers (55%) are willing to pay a no-show fee if they didn’t turn up whilst nearly as many (51%) would be happy to pay a deposit to secure a booking. Some 36% said they would be more likely to show up if the venue simply reminded them by phone, SMS, email or app.

Olivia FitzGerald, chief sales and marketing officer, Zonal said: “We have launched the #ShowUpForHospitality campaign to highlight the impact no-shows have on our industry as well as to showcase how important it is to support hospitality businesses as they begin to rebuild. The knock-on effects caused by no shows are considerable. Staffing and stock levels are left seriously compromised in addition to the lost revenue for a table that could’ve been taken up by other willing guests, and all this comes with a significant cost to hospitality businesses.”

UKHospitality is one of the supporters of #ShowUpForHospitality. 

Blight on industry

Chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “No shows have been a blight on the industry for many, many years, but with tens of thousands of hospitality businesses in such a fragile state following prolonged periods of closure and heavily-restricted trading, they are currently deeply damaging to venues."

She added: “Our pubs, bars and restaurants deserve our support and it’s encouraging that this research shows there is a growing realisation among customers of the need to honour their booking or let the venue know they can’t make it. But it also highlights the fact that no shows still happen far too often, with younger customers particularly responsible, and that really can’t go on.” 

Karl Chessell, CGA business unit director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA, added: ​Consumers are embracing reservations like never before, because they want certainty about their eating and drinking out experiences—and bookings can be positive for operators too if they help them to plan better. But the flip side of no-shows has come into sharp focus since the pandemic: they’ve been a bugbear for years, and the sales and cost implications are especially painful now.” 

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