Research Reveals Reasons For No-Shows

A recent survey has told us what we all know, no-shows are a big issue, however the reasons given make for more interesting reading.

The research was conducted by technology provider Zonal and consultancy firm CGA and consisted of surveying 5,000 people nationally.

The headline results will be no surprise to anyone reading this article, unless you think it should be higher. Across the country 1 in 7 people (14%) admitted to not showing up for a hospitality booking between April and June this year, and not telling the venue in advance. These numbers do alter dependent on age and location.

For example 18-34 year olds were the worst age group (and as bars core age range is probably a more realistic number) with 28% no-showing since April, compared to just 1% of over 55 year olds. Location wise London is by far the worst with 24% of those interviewed admitting to the offence, if you want to see where your area sits here is the full breakdown.

  • London 24%
  • West Midlands 17%
  • East Midlands 16%
  • North West 15%
  • North East 13%
  • Yorkshire / Humber 12%
  • East of England 12%
  • Wales 11%
  • Scotland 10%
  • South West 10%
  • South East 10%

All of this is just proof of what we already knew, and arguably the figures are actually higher as some may not have admitted to doing so when questioned. But what is interesting is the reasons for the cancellations which, at time of writing, Zonal estimate have cost the UK hospitality industry £2.5M since July 19th 2021.

Of the top ten reasons given for no-shows four of them are something the venue can have a direct influence on to some degree (highlighted below) The other six are just fucking infuriating especially when you hear that 70% of people ‘recognise the impact no shows have on hospitality’.

I had a change of plans (19%)
Someone else in the group cancelled (19%)
Someone fell ill with Covid-related symptoms (18%)
The venue was unable to reassure me (17%)
I forgot about my booking (16%)
I decided it was too expensive (15%)
The weather put me off (14%)
The venue didn’t contact me to remind me (13%)
I booked a few venues for the same time (13%)
I arrived at the venue and didn’t feel comfortable (12%)

The ‘didn’t feel comfortable’ and ‘unable to reassure me’ reasons are trickier to combat as there is a lot of personal preference going on there, but it does suggest that information on your Covid protocols both online and at the venue entrance are worth doing.

‘I forgot about my booking’ and ‘the venue didn’t remind me’ are basically the same answer just blaming either themselves or you. Thankfully the research team dug a bit deeper into these answers.

Of those that answered ‘they forgot’ 36% said they would be more likely to show if the venue had reminded them (which does suggest the other 64% didn’t forget they just thought that was a more acceptable answer than ‘I’m a complete cunt’). As for the timing of the reminder the most popular answer was a ‘few days before the booking’, followed by ‘on the day’. 17% don’t want to be contacted again by the venue but you can’t please everyone….

Deposits are something that a lot of venues are being forced into due to this problem and they looked into that as well. 55% said they would be happy to pay a no-show fee if they didn’t turn up and 51% said they would be willing to pay a deposit for a booking. Both those numbers drop to around 25% in 18 – 24 year olds.

For those that do have the decency to cancel, the ability to do so digitally is important with 58% preferring to cancel digitally (website 21%, text 19%, apps 10% and email 7%). There are still 39% of the population who prefer to cancel with a phone call, unsurprisingly these are mainly from the older generation.

In conclusion there are a lot of fuck buzzards out there still, and a large majority of them will continue to glide on the thermal winds of fuckery no matter what you do. However, there are some around who can be influenced, and it seems keeping in touch is the best way to bring the numbers up and making cancelling something that is easy to do digitally is the best way to get people to cancel in advance.

There is plenty more data on the survey which you can get hold of here and they have also launched a #showupforhospitality campaign if you are someone who enjoys a hashtag.