March 23, 2022

It’s getting better all the time

Hospitality spearheads all sectors returning to growth in early 2022

We spoke about reasons to be cheerful for retail last week, and as Instagram becomes awash with photos of Japanese cherry blossom, things are looking rosier for hospitality too.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated recently that all sectors of the economy returned to growth, helping to lift gross domestic product by 0.8% in January compared to the previous month, driven by a rise in consumer-facing services and people getting back to eating and drinking out in pubs and restaurants.1

Activity in the food and drink sector rose by 6.8%, after a fall of 8.1% in December when Omicron led to loads of cancelled bookings for Christmas parties and gatherings.

There’s no doubt that the British pub remains integral to the continued bounce back of hospitality, and keep your eye out for a new report released this week, entitled ‘The Return of the Pub 2022’ and published by our friends at KAM Media.

They have released a sneak preview of some of the results via their newsletter, but we can share them with you here:

  • As food and drink costs rise in 2022, it's reassuring that 3-in-4 pub-goers expect prices to increase this year, particularly in the 55+ age group.
  • It's also good news that, across all ages, the public now feel much safer regarding COVID-19, most significantly with the 55+ again, with only 5% of the pub-goers we spoke to not feeling safe at all, down from 22% in 2020.
  • 9 in 10 people feel pubs are good for your mental health but more than half of the people we spoke to feel pubs could be doing more.2

Our own recent Mind The Gap research into retail & hospitality customer behaviour also revealed some interesting findings, more specifically into what hospitality customers are missing and what they think will make the experience better. 

Well over half (55.6%) of regular, frequent pub goers, (effectively your loyal pub-goer), believe the experience would have been better with the sound of music (see graph 1). Only 20.15% disagreed.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how the pub of the future shapes up, with competitive socialising poised to play a prominent role (we’ll tell you more about this in a future blog, so stay tuned).


So what is a great hospitality customer experience?

Yes, music is important, but it takes more than just music. We call it Music+.

For us at Startle, it is something customers tell friends about. It elevates a brand to distinction, with all sites harmonising in unison. Ultimately it improves your bottom line.

What do we mean exactly? For your own brand and business, imagine an atmosphere that’s built to run itself, optmising moment to moment the music, displays and lighting to make sure the experience is always it’s best. Couple that with bespoke entertainment or competitive socialising that integrates seamlessly into your atmosphere and we’re suddenly talking about the pub of the future which we're already building.

It’s all possible with Startle.

Why not download for free (and with very little effort) our hospitality brochure? There is one for pubs and restaurants, as well as bars, hotels and cafes.

And if you think we can help, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on +44 (0)203 397 7676 or drop us an email at

Research Methodology:

MTG surveys carried out in September 2021. Sample size (n) >1000 people, UK Nat. Rep with 95% confidence level & margin of error +/1 5%.


1The Guardian, ‘UK economy bounces back from Omicron as more people dine out’. 11th March 2022:

2KAM Media, ‘KAMera; An Eye On Hospitality’ newsletter. 18th March 2022. Sign up for it here:

It’s getting better all the time
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Startle Music Ltd
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