July 4 is a date firmly fixed in the minds of everyone involved with the licensed trade.
Whilst it might not quite be the independence day we are all hoping for, it will be the first step to the hospitality trade getting back on its feet.
All being well, businesses will start to re-open, and customers will return for the first time since mid-March.
Nobody can predict exactly how things will look for pubs and clubs in those early weeks but we do know that it’s vital for everyone to be prepared for that post lockdown opening.
That’s why we are running a series of free online webinars, videos and one-to-one sessions to help licensees and their staff.
Our BT Sport Sprint team will deliver sessions covering how you can connect with your customers and let the world know that you are back and ready for business.
The sessions get underway later this month but to keep ahead of the game, here are some tips to help you get started on the journey ahead.
- Embrace Technology
If there’s one thing we have learnt in lockdown it’s that everyone is capable of using the likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and House Party to stay in touch. With more people now tech savvy and just a few weeks until opening it’s the perfect time to brush up on your skills, be it for your website, social media or Google listing.
- Tell your Covid-19 story
How has your business responded to Covid-19? Maybe you’ve continued making meals for takeaway, or you’ve started a beer delivery service. Whatever it is, let your customers know via all of your digital channels. Our sessions will help you grow that reach.
- Look to the future
More than ever before, your customers will want to know they are coming to a safe environment. So don’t just tell them, show them. Use imagery across your digital channels to show the space available in your garden, how you’ve moved tables to accommodate social distancing and how you have invested in sanitiser and other products to stop the spread of coronavirus.
- Review your reviews
In the past you may have got five stars for the incredible atmosphere your pub generates on big game days, or for making table space for a late arrival when the kitchen was already under the cosh. For now, that’s going to change and customers are more likely to comment on your table cleaning, sanitiser dispense and management of the toilets. Respond to reviews and detail the measures you are taking to be post lockdown ready.
- Get ahead of the game
Don’t just wait for the reviews. Ensure your website and social channels make your Covid-19 policies clear. Explain how you cater for social distancing for customers and staff and how you have invested in products and tech to deliver drinks and food in the safest way possible.
- Talking of games…
Just like pubs, live sport is also coming back. The way you are able to screen this will also be subject to social distancing rules. More details are likely to be released ahead of July 4. Keep on top of this and communicate it to your customers. A friendly reminder that you can access all of our social assets to download and share on your social media pages here.
- Be mobile friendly
Is your website responsive? That means it adapts to fit neatly on any device, be it laptop, tablet or mobile. According to the Office for National Statistics, 84% of adults used ‘internet on the go’ in 2019, and smartphones (79%) were the most popular devices to do this. To capture the crowds that are looking for ‘a pub near’ them, your website must function effectively on all formats.
- Claim your business
Another way to ensure you are seen is to use tools such as Google My Business. Our sessions will help you claim your listing, update and add details and improve your SEO (search engine optimisation).
- Back to reality
Perhaps lockdown has already encouraged you to make more of digital by running virtual pub quizzes or gigs. Do not let this stop when doors re-open. Yes, people will be keen to join you for real but there will be others who will want to keep their social distance and carry on connecting via technology. Keep those live feeds open.
- Update, update, update
The coronavirus situation is changing on a daily basis. Keep on top of government guidelines and communicate relevant changes to your customers. The likes of BII, UK Hospitality, British Beer & Pub Association, Hospitality Ulster and Club Mirror have regular updates on their websites.
For more tips on getting back to business, catch up with the sessions on our website here, where you will find even more videos and information about getting back to business.
For any social updates, please follow the BT Sport Business team here @BTSportBars