Wake up and smell the data - what will really save the great British pub

12/06/2017 - 14:13
From the rise of coffee shops to the increasing number of consumers choosing to go teetotal, there’s a lot of finger pointing when it comes to what’s causing the demise of the great British pub. Julian Ross, managing director of Wireless Social - the wi-fi hotspot specialist, takes a look at why people should really be focusing on how it can be saved.

Although the number of people visiting ‘the local’ has risen year on year, more than half of consumers (52%) are now more worried about the cost of living, specifically cost of day to day items, than they were this time last year. And, 6 in 10 of us are expected to make changes to how and where we spend our money in the near future.

Pubs play an important role in the communities in which they serve, yet if the community is more mindful of where they spend their money how can we encourage them to enjoy a drink or a meal out of the home? 

Julian Ross, managing director of Wireless Social

For me it’s about knowing your customer better than anyone else. Don’t get me wrong, the landlord or lady may well know their customer’s favourite drink, their chosen stool at the bar, or who will pop in for early doors after work. But do they know how their customers are making decisions?

Word of mouth recommendation is decreasing across the hospitality sector as customers turn to social media when looking for inspiration to eat or drink out of the home. If a pub was tuned into how their customers are making recommendations through Facebook, it could open up a world of possibilities when it comes to targeting their customer with information that’s relevant to them.

It would move the pub away from concentrating efforts on ineffective and often expensive marketing initiatives that quite often, are stuck in the past. Forget sending out emails in the hope that they’ll land in someone’s inbox and they’ll be interested; focus on targeting your communications based on how customers interact on social media. If you had a tool that told you what your punters are liking, loathing and sharing on Facebook, then why wouldn’t you base your external communications around it to encourage social media recommendations?

One pub company leading the way on this front is Wadworth - the Devizes-based pub operator and family brewer. The technology brought to them through Wireless Social encourages guests to follow the pub’s social media accounts without being intrusive, builds brand loyalty by triggering customer-specific notifications and informs other marketing initiatives through to the data provided. Because of the manner which they can identify customers - through age, gender, social likes – promotions are targeted to the right people at the right time to turn customers into advocates.

So why can’t the rest of the industry follow suit? If I’m honest, there’s a lot of talk about doing the right thing for our pubs. Now, it’s time to start putting words into action. It’s about the decision makers recognising the potential in social media data and filtering the tools and skills down to the teams on the ground. Social media hasn’t and isn’t going anywhere, so why wait?

Find out more about Wireless Social here.

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