Planning, pre-booking and pre-orders: how brands can achieve sales before consumers leave the house

With consumers’ high tempo occasions changing fast, CGA by NIQ explores the opportunity for brands to partner with operators to not only drive footfall for venues, but to activate brands and grow awareness and consideration of drinks brands at the planning stage. The report also reveals the profitability of influencing spontaneous decisions and consumers’ desire to premiumise.
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The Evolving High Tempo Occasion Report indicates the growing role of planning in high tempo occasions. Two in five (39%) consumers say they pre-book a table or table with drinks beforehand—rising to 46% of females. Nearly half (47%) of these pre-bookers—and 60% of students—reserve their tables at least a week in advance. 


Planning takes place throughout other stages of high tempo journeys. Three quarters (75%) schedule their start time, and large majorities also plan elements like the group they’re visiting with (87%), pre-drinks (82%) and venues to visit (64%). There is an even balance of planning and spontaneity in whether to have food and where to have food—which is an increasingly important part of these experiences. 


The Evolving High Tempo Occasion Report also flags the types of drinks that high tempo planners want. Nearly a third say they would pre-order bottles of sparkling wine / champagne (31%) or sharing jugs (31%), while single-serves (31%), buckets of packaged drinks (27%), bottles of spirit with mixers (25%) and trays of shots / energy bombs (17%) are all in demand too. Two in five (41%) say it’s important that their drinks are served cold—a much more important factor than high alcohol content (22%) or serve size (19%). 


Jonny Jones, CGA by NIQ managing director UK and Ireland, says: “High tempo visits to the On Premise involve an interesting mix of advance thought and in-the-moment decision-making. More planning goes into these occasions than some realise—which creates some great opportunities for suppliers and venues to sell drinks in advance and alongside food, and to plan strategies to maximise dwell time and spend. But behaviours are evolving fast, and success here requires an expert understanding of the new-look balance of planning and spontaneity.” 


Influencing spontaneous decisions maximises spend 

There is still a lot of spontaneity in other aspects of high tempo visits. Over half say their drinks category choices (54%), number of serves (62%) and end time (57%) are spontaneous rather than planned.  


High tempo visitors are ready to spend freely on drinks. Three in five say they either don’t set a budget (47%) or probably won’t stick to the amount they budgeted (13%). This opens the door to trade-ups, and more than half (53%) agree they are likely to pay more for a better quality drink on a high tempo occasion—14 percentage points more than the average when going out for relaxed or quiet drinks.  


Jonny Jones says: “While a lot of planning goes into the basics of a high tempo occasion, many consumers are keen to stay spontaneous in their drinks choices and are keen to premiumise—especially later on in a visit. But they will only do so if they are satisfied that the experience they are getting is good enough. Brand positioning and ranging are key to influencing decisions in the spontaneous stages of visits, and our report delivers the market intelligence that all suppliers need to intervene and influence people here.” 


CGA’s Evolving High Tempo Occasion Report provides much more analysis of this crucial area of the market, including deep dives into big nights out, ticketed events, bottomless brunches and pub or bar crawls, plus insights from more occasions like competitive socialising and themed events. It helps suppliers understand consumers’ reasons for visit and need states and pinpoint the role of different drink categories along the occasion journey. Consumer intercepts in city centres and suburban areas add in-the-moment insights into behaviours. Download more information here or contact Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ managing director UK and Ireland, here 

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