pubs are great venues for business meetings

The morning announcerattended Discovery Forum 2022, held at Farmhouse Redcoats in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, to find out why pubs are great meeting places and how the industry can make the most of this revenue stream.

MeetingsInn managing director Andrew Winterburn said: “The way pub groups view opportunity has changed over the last couple of years because if they are successful it is a big opportunity to capitalize on.

“The pub group community needs to work together to build momentum around this and not see each other as competitors, but as a meeting community.”

However, Winterburn, who estimated that the UK spends around £17billion a year on meetings, added that pubs need to take into account corporate customers booking venues for meetings have different needs and requirements very different from those of everyday consumers.

Fast WIFI, access to stationery, flip charts, adaptive furniture and technological equipment such as projectors with hot drinks and water readily available were among the top priorities for participants to consider. license holders, as well as the possibility of a buffet lunch.

Having “quiet zones” for walk-in meetings with booths and tables near power outlets for solo workers as hybrid working continues post-pandemic was also crucial to making the most of the office market. businesses.

Additionally, ensuring brand fit and consistent quality of service was of the utmost importance to Top Banana founder and CEO Richard Bridge, who added that offering meetings was a “no-brainer” for ads to generate additional revenue pressure.

Bring people together

He said: “Pubs are great for communities across the country to draw a destination to bring people together.

“Guests are looking for something different and pubs can be more approachable, when you go to a hotel it’s quite formal, it’s quite corporate, it might not fit the purpose of that meeting.

“When you try to select a venue, the criteria will be ‘do they have the space?’, ‘do they have the facilities available?’, whether it’s a hotel or a pub.

“Brand match is important, if you are a lawyer the brand match may not be the right one, but one of our biggest customers is Bacardi, wouldn’t it be better to get meet where the clientele is, where you can chat and a cocktail at the end.

According to Bridge, attitudes surrounding the industry are changing, and with the growing popularity of low and no-service, pubs are no longer seen as a place just to have an alcoholic drink, but as a place where people can be together.

The CEO has also advised pubs to charge a daily delegate rate of between £25 and £50 to host meetings, rising to around £70 in London, depending on the food, drink and facilities offered.

Another benefit discussed at the forum was staffing issues, with meetings providing the opportunity to use staff more effectively during quieter times.

Additionally, Winterburn said the meetings also allow employees to do something different and learn a new skill, which could lead to better employment and retention rates in the industry.

Commit to it

Additionally, Anglian Inns regional manager John Cox said pubs need to really commit and invest in making meeting spaces attractive to the business market and not see the opportunity as a sideline.

He added, “Meeting rooms give people a reason to come to your room when they might not otherwise and you can generate more revenue from that.

“You see people huddled together in a pub, so they are already coming to us, and if we make it more convenient more people will come to us.

“If you’re going to do this, don’t treat it as a secondary line and hope for the best, commit.”

However, speakers at the event explained, although they will take a commission, booking agents are a key tool in guiding pubs and connecting them with a wider range of customers.

Inntel’s Director of Business Partnerships, People and Projects, Sian Sayward, explained the benefits of booking agents, such as Meetings Inn, Inntel or Opentable, including saving time, potentially increasing revenue business, assistance and guidance, payment solutions and dispute mediation.

Winterburn added: “We don’t just see our role as a booking platform, we see it as a catalyst to bring meetings and pubs together.”

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