WALES is the second most considerate area in the UK with only 11 percent of customers not honouring their pub and restaurant reservations.

It is estimated that the hospitality sector collectively loses £17.6bn a year due to no shows.

New industry research reveals the damaging and costly impact caused by customers not turning up for their bookings.

With many businesses trying to make up ground after lockdown, no shows can impact on pubs and restaurants of all sizes.

The issue was highlighted earlier this year, when Mark Jarvis, managing director of The Chester Fields in Bridge Trafford, near Chester, revealed that 120 diners – equating to 30% of his bookings – failed to turn up on one Sunday.

He called it “another knife in the heart” of an industry suffering from the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Then, the Leader spoke to village pubs in Wrexham and Flintshire who said the impact of no shows can be frustrating.

Under the current circumstances, a table of seven, or even four people, failing to turn up has a significant impact on their takings for that day.

Paul Slater, of the Trotting Mare in Overton-on-Dee, said: “They just need to let us know, we understand that things happen. If someone rings at twelve and says they can’t make it at four, it’s no problem because we can fill the table. Not letting us know is the problem. And people don’t want to pay deposits and be tied to it.”

Janet and Tim Costidell, who run the Cross Foxes in Nannerch, have also experienced the problem.

Janet said: “We are quite a small operation, we don’t start serving until 6pm and finish up at 9pm. So if a table of seven doesn’t show up - that was three tables out of action while we were waiting for them. It does have quite an impact.”

However, new research from hospitality technology expert Zonal and industry insight firm CGA shows that since reopening in April 2021, only 11% of those living in Wales have admitted to not showing up to their bookings, much lower than the worst offenders in London at 24% and lower than the UK average of 14%.

The impact this has on hospitality businesses across the UK, both big and small is a costly one, equating to £17.6bn in lost sales, particularly coming as it does after an extended period of enforced closures and onerous trading restrictions which has pushed many hospitality venues to the brink.

Of the 51% of consumers in Wales who have reserved spaces to eat or drink out since hospitality re-opened in April 2021, 7% of those who didn’t honour a reservation, did so due to a change of plans, whilst 7% of people didn’t show up because they forgot about it. These figures are significantly lower than in the capital where over a quarter (26%) didn’t show due to a change of plans and 18% forgot about their booking.

The top 10 reasons those in Wales gave for no-shows include:

  1. I decided it was too expensive (29%)
  2. I booked a few venues for the same time to be sure I would get in (21%)
  3. I arrived at the venue and decided I was not comfortable visiting yet (21%)
  4. The venue was unable to reassure me beforehand so I had to cancel (21%)
  5. I decided against visiting because I was too nervous (14%)
  6. I had a change of plans (7%)
  7. I forgot about my booking (7%)
  8. Someone else in the group cancelled (7%)
  9. One of the group fell ill with COVID-19 related symptoms (7%)
  10. The venue didn’t contact me to remind me about my booking (7%)

The impact this has on hospitality businesses both big and small is a costly one and many operators feel that no-shows occur more frequently than they did previously.

In response to these findings, Zonal have joined forces with leading hospitality businesses and leaders across the industry to launch a nationwide campaign #ShowUpForHospitality, aimed at encouraging people to always honour their bookings or inform the venue of cancellations.

Olivia FitzGerald, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Zonal said: “We have launched the #ShowUpForHospitality campaign to highlight the impact no-shows have on our industry as well as to showcase how important it is to support hospitality businesses as they begin to rebuild. The knock-on effects caused by no shows are considerable, staffing and stock levels are left seriously compromised as well as lost revenue for a table that could’ve been taken up by other willing guests and all this comes with a significant cost to hospitality businesses.

“Pubs, bars and restaurants play a vital role in our communities and it’s important we continue to support them after this challenging time. While the pandemic has prompted a new-found appreciation and understanding of hospitality among many consumers, there is still more to be done in encouraging them to always honour their booking or tell the venue in advance.”

Regions in the UK ranked from least likely to no-show to most-likely to no-show:

  • Scotland (10%)
  • South East (10%)
  • South West (10%)
  • Wales (11%)
  • Yorkshire & Humber (12%)
  • East of England (12%)
  • North East (13%)
  • North West (15%)
  • East Midlands (16%)
  • West Midlands (17%)
  • London (24%)