More than half of consumers are in support of paying a deposit for a restaurant table and a no-show fee if they fail to turn up for their booking, according to new research.
The findings, from a survey of 5,000 consumers conducted by hospitality tech firm Zonal and research consultancy CGA, form part of Zonal's campaign #ShowUpForHospitality, which aims to highlight the damaging impact of customer no-shows. The hospitality sector is believed to lose £17.6b a year as a result of customers who do not honour restaurant bookings.
Consumers are more likely to be in favour of deposits for special occasions such as Valentine's Day, with 65% happy to pay a deposit for a such events. Only 41% of guests are inclined to pay a deposit for casual occasions, although it increases to 59% if it is for a larger booking of six or more people.
Younger consumers are more reluctant to pay to secure a booking, with only 28% of 18- to 24-year-olds prepared to put down a deposit, while just 24% said they would be happy to pay a no-show fee.
Olivia FitzGerald, chief sales and marketing officer at Zonal, said that there has traditionally been "a scepticism and nervousness" around the use of deposits and no-show fees in hospitality.
She said: "These latest insights show that, while a blanket approach may not be the optimum way forward for operators, consumers are far more inclined to accept them than we previously thought – and for a wider range of occasions.
"As part of our #ShowUpForHospitality campaign we want to spotlight this issue and change consumer behaviours as well as start an industry discussion as to how best to combat this longstanding problem. We've seen phenomenal support across the sector from CGA, UKHospitality, Bums on Seats and Think Hospitality, plus many more."
Further details of the campaign can be found at www.showupforhospitality.org