TV and Film can improve footfall and sales in Hospitality venues. But are we missing something more meaningful?

Just under 5,000 hospitality venues closed between March 2022 and March 2023 and it is no doubt that the industry is having an extremely difficult year. However, a new study by Motion Picture Licensing Company has found that introducing TV and film can improve two of the most essential goals: footfall and sales. This survey also found 87% say TV and film has increased sales and 82% said it had improved footfall. Another finding was that 70% of customers stated they have specifically chosen to attend a venue because it displayed film or TV. This may be a simple way to increase sales, but do we need to think about creating something more meaningful simultaneously? The Hospitality industry has always played a pivotal role in communities; but have we lost sight of this in recent years?

When thinking in more detail on the research survey, we must question whether these stats are sport related or whether there is a move toward uniting communities through a film night in other Hospitality venues. Are these statistics off the back of the recent Rugby World Cup, or is there a desire for specialist film nights that can also bring communities together? Is it worth considering whether there is more depth to this data than the relationship between pubs and expected sporting tournaments, and whether for example hotels can put on specialist film nights on a Sunday?

One question that springs to mind when thinking about this survey, is whether film plays as much as a role in footfall and sales increase, as TV? The past two months have seen the Rugby World Cup in France, with no doubt that people would go to the pub with friends and family to watch the game. Understandably, it brings an atmosphere that you cannot get when watching in the comfort of your own home. However, is this over simplifying something that runs much deeper than this? A pub experience isn’t defined by the drinks or food on offer; we are missing the depth of feeling and connection it can bring people. Pubs have gone from being in the era of the coach houses, where they simply were a place to rehydrate and a place to take a break to nowadays, being a haven – where we all stand on equal footing and social status is left at the door. Camaraderie blooms, and you can relax and connect with those around you. Pubs are at the heart of communities and neighbourhoods; they are multifaceted in nature, and we should remember the affect pubs can have over the people who walk through the door. If we focus on creating something more meaningful, harnessing connections with people, there is no doubt that pubs will maintain their supremacy because there is nothing else that comes close to the unique experience they provide. The question is whether society is shifting, and TV and film is used as the foundation for socialising and sharing experiences with others? Another perspective to query is whether having TV and film in pubs goes against what they are all about? If we are fixed, staring at a TV screen, are we really forming deeper connections with one another?

Understandably, pubs showing main sporting events on TV will lure in people, increasing sales and footfall. Perhaps these figures have come specifically off the back of the Rugby World Cup, and it is a simple way to get people through the door and keeping sales up through a tumultuous year. There are an abundance of sports and tournaments that get televised that can then have a positive impact

on sales, but what about days when there is no sport? Harnessing and focusing on the community element of a pub is pivotal in this regard. There is still a place for pubs and Hospitality venues in general, to be the backbone of communities, and a neutral space of coming together. The question is whether Hospitality and pubs have become focused on sales and profit and forgotten to focus on building a sanctuary and community? By focusing on creating something more meaningful, there is a potential for the two most essential goals in business, to take care of itself.

Written by Izzy McHattie, EP Business in Hospitality