The Access Group

The challenge

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the UK into lockdown, hospitality venues were amongst the first to close and the last to reopen, requiring operators to react quickly to the change in circumstances. Some repurposed their offer, some took advantage of the closure to upgrade the venue and others stayed closed for the duration.

At the same time, many of the usual communication channels fell silent and several trade titles moved online or were paused indefinitely.

But Access Hospitality, part of The Access Group wanted to support the industry and took a proactive stance to offer help and advice for operators to take stock of their business and prepare for reopening, whatever that looked like and whenever it was.

The solution

Access Hospitality created a series of support mechanisms, specifically targeted at the unusual trading circumstances hospitality found itself in and helped operators prepare for the future.

Kate worked closely with the in-house marketing team to create copy for the guides, materials and thought leadership pieces and led the process for communication across the industry, targeting specific sectors with the information most relevant to them.

With several regular information channels furloughed, it was important to keep informed as to what sources hospitality personnel were using and make sure that Access Hospitality’s activity was an integral part of their support structure.

The range of materials produced and promoted through PR included:

  • Website content on managing a remote workforce
  • Take-away and delivery software promotional offer
  • Top Tips for handling the restrictions imposed
  • Preparing for a bounce-back
  • Launch of delivery night website
  • Getting operational guide
  • Transforming the guide into a checklist
  • Social Distancing e-book
  • Employee wellbeing guide
  • Webinar on using booking features for safe reopening
  • Consumer research on attitudes towards Christmas planning

The results

  • From mid-March to the end of June 2020, more than 70 pieces of coverage were received
  • Over 1.25m people were reached through planned PR activity
  • This equated to a value of at least £150,000
  • Downloads of information guides rose by up to 500% on anticipated levels based on previous responses
  • An opportunity was identified for a supplier interview featuring the Access Hospitality Managing Director
  • New trade audiences were reached through newsletters of Member organisations and associations raising awareness of ‘good news’ stories throughout the pandemic

There is a long way to go before the hospitality industry fully recovers, but an active Marketing and PR campaign helped ensure that Access Hospitality was at the forefront of encouraging and supporting operators through this exceptional four-month period.