It’s official. The days of pub entertainment consisting only of dominoes, bingo and darts are long gone. Now, there are more ways for pubs to entertain their regulars and pull in new customers (of all ages) in summer than ever before:
- Funk up the Food – Barbecues, pizza nights, fish and chips nights, Theme nights ( Italian Wednesdays ‘a glass of red wine and all the spaghetti you can eat for a fiver’)
- Mini-Beer Festivals – yes, you can hold one, if you sell real ale, that is!
- Live Music – how about a Battle of the Bands night? Or a Reggae Night, with a Jamaican dish being the ‘dish of the day’? Or you could even have a theme night by booking a tribute band and inviting the punters to dress up for the evening as The Bee Gees, The Beatles or Lady Gaga.
- Pool Competitions – with three months’ free use of the pool table as a prize for the winner.
- Karaoke – With Classic summer hits like: Summer Loving, Seasons in the Sun, Summertime, Cruel Summer, In the Summertime… the list is endless.
- Giant Games Evenings – remember Connect 4? Jenga? Chess? Everyone likes reminiscing and so buying or renting gigantic versions of childhood favourites is always a hit if you have the space to play outside. A bouncy castle is a winner for both adults and kids.
- Nostalgia – don’t want to fork out for the large games or don’t have enough room? Then why not buy a selection of board games and host a monthly competition of Guess Who? Operation? Risk?
- Children’s Days – appeal to the parents who have at least 6 weeks of children being at home during the holidays and think about child-friendly activities such as bouncy castles, Punch & Judy or how about turning the beer garden in to an urban beach with buckets and spades?
- Nintendo Wii/Xbox Competitions – to give your pub a more contemporary vibe, all you need is a large television screen and a games console.
Here’s how to Get Started!
Having the ideas can actually be the easy bit; the hard part is marketing those ideas powerfully and persuasively. The answer is to design, have printed and then put up eye-catching posters, and to distribute and display attention-grabbing, must-read flyers.
- Design (colours, fonts, sizes, shapes…)
- Timing (think ahead; don’t wait until July to start mulling over your summer entertainment options, get cracking on it all in Spring or even earlier, if possible
Assign just one person to the job: Delegate one person to be in charge of summer entertainment marketing; too many chiefs can result in friction, and even in nothing ultimately being decided or getting done, so just entrust one staff member with the task of putting together your posters and flyers.
Be original, offer something different: To increase trade and forge a reputation as THE pub to head for this summer, you need to offer something different; that means checking out what your competitors are up to has to be your first step. Do your homework. Discreetly, glean as much info as you can, and then strive to offer something more original: pub entertainment that will have other pub landlords and landladies kicking themselves, thinking if only I’d thought of that…
Check, check and double-check: There is nothing worse than waiting with bated breath for your flyers to arrive from the printers, only for them to turn up littered with spelling mistakes, or with the wrong date on, etc. This is why it’s a good idea to mock-up your posters and flyers on a PC, print and then proofread. Always leave a couple of days between printing and proofing, so that you can scrutinise every word and date with a fresh pair of eyes. Getting someone else to check them can also be wise, as it is amazing what the eye misses if you have written something and so are maybe ‘too close to it’.
Canvas opinion: Now is the time to see what other staff members (and maybe a handful of regulars) think of your posters and flyers. Based on their feedback, tweak as you need to.
Distribute and display: Don’t wait for your posters and flyers to arrive from the printers before formulating your display strategy. While you wait, decide where you will display your posters in your pub, for maximum exposure. Near the exits? Behind the bar? In the toilets? Beside the fruit machine? All these places? Somewhere else?
As well as handing out your flyers in your local area, leave them on your pub tables, on the bar, on your pub window for passersby to see.
Advertise all your forthcoming summer entertainment events, underneath a vinyl banner saying WHAT’S ON? This can be extremely effective, because, in just one display, it ‘captures’ just how much of an effort you are making this summer to give your regulars and newcomers to your pub a great time.
Have them spoilt for choice and desperate to be there! Get those pub lovers telling family, friends and workmates that your pub is the only place to be this summer for pub entertainment that rocks!