Make sure your venue is the place for the Euros
The 2016 Euros are here but how can you make sure to turn those Euros into pounds? We’ve pulled together some of the best practical advice from the UK’s top sports bars and venues and collated it here.
Only a couple of weeks into the summer and there’s only word on everybody’s lips — Europe. That’s right, the big show in town over the next month is Euro 2016. Closely followed by the EU Referendum and all that Brexit or Bremain malarkey.
So, while the political classes are getting their knickers in a twist over the EU Hokey Cokey, we’re more interested in shaking it all about for Euro 2016’s month-long festival of football.
Make no mistake, this is a real opportunity to transform the buzz surrounding Euro 2016 into financial gain for your bar or pub. Or more to the point, turn those Euros into pounds.
With 50 per cent* of people watching live sport outside their home (most of these in the pub), and with this figure set to rise during the tournament as casual sports fans get wrapped up in the football fever, just a few small adjustments made now can ensure your venue is the place to watch Euro 2016. And with the opportunity to make new regulars over the next month you can establish your pub as the destination to watch all the best sporting action into the new Premier League season and beyond.
So, how can you turn those Euros into pounds? We’ve pulled together some of the best practical advice from the UK’s top sports bars and venues and collated it here.
1. Get on social media
Every pub we spoke to agreed that bars which aren’t on social media (in particular Facebook and Twitter) are missing a trick as it’s free advertising.
“We plug the games we’re showing. I tweet what games we’re showing and when. If we get responses, I’ll respond and answer any questions. It’s social media — you have to be social.”- The Tollington
2. Get creative on chalkboards
Crazy as it might sound, not everyone is on social media. Some customers (and potential customers) get their information from traditional media. That’s why many pubs have become reacquainted with the multi-faceted charms of the chalkboard. For starters, it lets people know that you are open for business. But chalkboards are not only a way to display information – you can get clever with it. Some football knowledge and a little humour can go a long way, like this Luis Suarez-themed gag. It’s cheap too — especially for direct marketing.
3. Get online
A connected pub or bar with an informative website and an entertaining and instructive social media presence helps you stand out. Nearly half a million conversations about pubs & bars happen on Twitter and Facebook every month.
4. Get the set up right
“The lighting and the audio are incredibly important in delivering sport effectively. Take some time before the game kicks off walking around to ensure that the lighting is right, to ensure that the sound is right, making sure that every TV is on the right game. You have to get it absolutely right, because when you do that people keep coming back. If you get it wrong, and you only have to get it wrong once, then you can lose customers.”- Soar Point
“We ensured our TVs are in areas that don’t affect the flow of the pub. We’ve got one screen in the back section where we have a lot of seating, and another in the corner of the bar that most of the pub can see and a slightly smaller screen near the front. There isn’t a part of the pub that you can’t see a screen from.” – The King’s Arms
5. Pump up the volume
“We put a lot of emphasis on audio — we lose the music when there’s live sport on and turn the sound up because it helps create an immersive experience for the fans.”- Hotel Football
6. Everyone likes a game with atmosphere
“There isn’t any need to discount if the atmosphere is right, the sound is good and your staff are genuinely excited by the football and adding to the experience. The offer is the atmosphere and the entertainment itself.” –Soar Point
7. Zone the football when necessary
“We can have one game at one end of the pub and a different one at the other end and the sound doesn’t mix. We can also have the audio on selected speakers.”- The Tollington
“We don’t want to alienate anyone so we often do specials on wine for instance as we often have groups of women in. We can switch to a slide show to advertise promotions, like specials for drinks or food. It’s easy to change the channel over from sport to a slide show.” – The Raven
8. Think crafty
Get some craft beer in. The popularity of this trend shows no sign of waning.
“Craft beer accounts for a much larger share of our draught offer than it did. We give people a taste – ‘If you like Stella or if you like Estrella you might like this’. Or, ‘have you tried this, it’s a bit different?’ We find that when people do try it they will often switch. And it’s a great way of upselling.”- Soar Point
9. Go with a theme
Euro 2016 offers a wealth of football themes you can attach to drinks and/or food promotions. These can be low-cost and low hassle promotions too — like getting in beers from participating countries, for example. So no Dutch beers this month!
“When Scotland play we have our special Scottie Dog on. It’s a hot dog covered in haggis. When Scotland played Germany we had that on and the Kaiser dog — a hot dog covered in sauerkraut.”- The Raven
10. Food, food, food
From proper gastropub fare to snack-sized portions perfect for eating with your hands, laying on food gives your pub an added dimension. Food and football (and alcohol) are a magic combination. The Black Dog NWS hand out free slices of pizza at half time, while The Sandon in Liverpool (situated next to Anfield) dole out free sarnies and chips. Back in Manchester, Mary D’s, next to Man City’s Etihad stadium, allows customers to bring in food from the local chippy. If you’re looking for some menu inspiration here are some ideas from further afield. However you cut it, food works.
“We’ve got passionate chefs who like to come up with new dishes every week so we’ll take pictures of those beautiful dishes and then put them up on social media. Pretty soon after people will come in asking for those dishes.”- Dovedale Towers
“We’re looking at two menus. Something quick and easy for match days — food you can hold in your hand without having to sit down.” – The Antwerp Arms
11. Offer free Wi-Fi
Those pubs that offer free Wi-fi have become real work and community hubs. As coffee shops have begun offering alcohol, pubs that offer Wi-Fi and decent coffee have added an extra dimension to their business. Football fans can catch up on work during the afternoon while watching Spain take on the Czech Republic.
“Free Wi-Fi is important – it’s just another box ticked. We want people to come in and take advantage of that.” – The Antwerp Arms
12. Breeding loyalty
Offering loyalty cards is one method of actively retaining customers. Enrolling in local discount card schemes is another option and many independent pubs have embraced this.
“We have a More card — which is a loyalty card. It gives you the equivalent of 10 per cent back of what you spend. It’s like a Nectar card – but our rate is 10 per cent. That benefit is available to everybody. It’s really popular with the students who might be more price conscious, but it’s also got a great following with the Leicester City fans. The regulars who come in every matchday will use their More card and then they save up their points over the year. Come the last few games of the season they can have a free day out. The card just costs a pound. But when you register it online you get £2 worth of points immediately so it pays for itself.” – Soar Point
*Mintel Pub Visiting report May 2015