Consumer Survey Results

Britons ready to return to pubs and pub accommodation: 80% of public pretty comfortable to return to pubs post-lockdown, new survey reveals

• 80% of public ‘pretty comfortable’ to return to pubs post-lockdown
• 44% of over 65s completely comfortable with visiting a pub for a meal or drink post-lockdown
• Appeal of pub accommodation remains firm, with 41% willing to stay overnight
• Covid-19 safe accreditation fundamental to ensure public confidence

Stay In A Pub, the largest promoter of pub accommodation in the UK, reveals that it is not last orders for pubs and pub accommodation amongst UK consumers, as almost half of its customers would be ‘completely comfortable’ to stay overnight in pub accommodation after COVID-19 restrictions are eased, according to a new survey carried out.

Stay In A Pub, has commissioned a survey of its 12,000 registered customers to track sentiment on how confident they would be to visit and stay overnight in pub accommodation – and how they feel that the sector might be able to deal with re-opening pubs with rooms post-lockdown.

When asked on a scale of 0-10 how comfortable they would be to visit a pub for a meal or drink once lockdown had been eased and with appropriate public health and social distancing measures in place, 40% of respondents said that they would be ‘completely comfortable’ (a score of 10) and 79% ‘pretty comfortable’ (a score of more than 7). Just 8% scored 5 or less i.e. ‘uncomfortable’.

These figures varied somewhat with age: 44% of customers over 65 years of age were ‘completely comfortable’ whilst only 28% of those aged between 36-45 shared the same opinion.

When asked how comfortable they would feel about staying overnight in a pub, the confidence is higher at 41% ‘completely comfortable’ and 80% ‘pretty comfortable’, which is optimistic for pubs with rooms. This was particularly amongst older guests with 45% of those aged 65+ being ‘completely comfortable’ and 84% of 46-55-year olds ‘pretty comfortable’ if they felt that the public health and social distancing measures were adequate.

Respondents, 95% of whom live in the UK, were also asked what sort of measures they felt would be needed to provide reassurance and the message was loud and clear that they would expect very high standards of hygiene and social distancing measures but most importantly they would need evidence of this through a nationally recognised COVID-19 Safe kite mark or accreditation. There was an expectation that hand sanitisers would be provided both in rooms and public spaces but also that rooms would have ‘cleaning stations’ with antibacterial wipes and other cleaning products for guests to use. A significant number would expect staff to where masks and gloves and that there would be at least 24 hours between stays to allow for a period of time after guest departure and for deep cleaning. Other suggestions included bed linen packs at check in so that guests made up their own rooms, room service meals and only rooms with en-suite facilities being available.

There are 7897 pubs with rooms in the UK and according to the most recent Pub Accommodation Report (conducted by online future hospitality site openings database RPBi Openings) 13% of pubs added more rooms in 2019 as an additional source of revenue alongside food and drink leading to an overall 56% growth of revenue in the sector. The report, which also surveyed customers, discovered that 53% of people would prefer to stay in a pub rather than a branded hotel with business travellers choosing pubs for their relaxing and friendly atmosphere and leisure travellers to enjoy meeting locals and the traditional British experience. Further evidence of this ‘love for the pub’ was the average 30,000 monthly visitors to the Stay in a Pub website (prior to pubs shutting their doors) looking specifically for pubs with accommodation, 16% of whom were from abroad.

Paul Nunny, Founding Director of Stay in a Pub, said “Support for pubs continues with 69% of respondents saying that they would be willing to book and pay now to secure future stays if these included totally flexible cancellations, date changes and refund policies. With the general feeling of uncertainty around when lock-down will ease and the likelihood of a ‘ultra-last minute’ demand this consumer confidence and commitment to future stays presents an opportunity for pubs to promote now through online booking offers and listings on accommodation sites.

In the past two weeks we have seen a 39% increase in visitors to the Stay in a Pub website as interest and demand for domestic travel starts to increase. The hospitality sector is working hard together with the government to determine guidelines and COVID-19 safe accreditation for re-opening and I believe there is reason to be optimistic about welcoming guests back this summer.”