Bowling with Friends

The Secret to Your Success – Understanding The Needs of 18-34 Year Olds

Hospitality research and insight agency, KAM, recently released a report, at the Competitive Socialising conference, into what customers are wanting from venues.

Surely, once you know exactly what the customers want, you’re onto a winner!

Large towns and cities are home to 18-34 year olds who have money to spend but they want to spend it in a way which is going to bring them maximum joy, community and connection.

Experience is King

Over the last 10 years there has been a rapid increase in the number of concepts and venues tapping into our appetite for sharing experiences with friends.

According to the KAM report 69% of 18-24 year olds would rather spend money on experiences compared with physical goods. Experiences bring joy which remains a fond memory over time, whereas goods lose their appeal as time passes. Furthermore, the importance of Instagrammable content is essential to Gen Z* and Millennial* consumers.

Vibrant images and fast paced reels of fun times and party vibes at active, entertainment venues increases the deep rooted FOMO – the millennial adage: Fear of Missing Out.

The Power of Competitive Socialising Venues

Data from Wireless Social, confirms that as venues strive to entice consumers out of their homes, post-lockdowns, it’s the experiential leisure venues which are recovering the quickest.

The data indicates that hospitality venues are 10% down on average footfall when comparing December 2021 with February 2020. Whereas competitive socialising venues are only 2% down.

Furthermore, data from Bums of Seats, shows an incredible 408% increase in enquiries for competitive socialising venues – which is higher than any other hospitality sector!

Social Playlist is working alongside competitive socialising venues to promote the sector and raise the profile of experiential leisure. Spreading news of exciting new concepts and the opening of venues across the country, hoping to show consumers that the experiences they crave are available and could be not too far from their door step.

Quality Experience is Everything

Competition in the competitive socialising scene is fierce. Every week Social Playlist are reporting on new concepts emerging and new venues opening. Juggernauts of fun, like Boom Battle Bar, Lane7, Flight Club and Roxy Leisure, are bringing competitive socialising out of London and sharing the enjoyment with other cities and large towns.

However, the discerning consumer isn’t settling for poor customer service, crappy toilets and lukewarm back-alley diner food. And, as choice of venue increases, they don’t have to settle for the ancient bowling alley, with the sticky floor and balls which shred your fingers.

Data from the KAM research supports, what you probably already know, the basics are essential.

Source: KAM - Competitive Socialising Report 2022

Data from Feed It Back suggest that, when it comes to customer satisfaction, competitive socialising venues are scoring below other hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants. Expectations on competitive socialising venues are high; much higher than going out for a family meal at lunch time.

The greatest issues for customers at experiential leisure venues is speed of service (34% of complaints), with value for money the second strongest gripe (28%). So, even if you’ve created a gorgeous venue, with the latest cutting-edge technology driving your activities, that will fade into insignificance if your guests have to wait to get their drinks or you set your price point too high.

Providing for all my guests

The report from KAM contains a host of other insights which relate to wider demographics, not just 18-34 year olds. They have made the report available for free, you can access it via their website.

Key Points

In summary …

  • It is your responsibility to provide a memorable experience
  • Consumers want to be entertained; they want to have something to do
  • Competitive socialising is for all venues – it drives footfall, dwell time, repeat visits & loyalty
  • The basics are essential – impressive customer engagement, speedy service, quality food
  • Create Instagrammable experiences they can share

Strategic and Operational Support

You don’t have to navigate this alone. We have a team, experienced in the hospitality and leisure industry, who can assist you. We will work with you to assess your business, identify your opportunities, source your activities and support you with ongoing operational practices.  Whether you just want someone independent of your business to review your plans or more in-depth analysis and engagement, our team will be delighted to work alongside you.

Tell us what you’re after and we’ll get in touch, meet you on site and see how we can help.

* Gen Z – people born between 1997 and 2012. Millennials – people born between1981 and 1996

When competition is fierce experience is everything

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