As such we are pledging a number of commitments;
COMMITMENT ONE – TO HELP OUR BAR PARTNERS GET BACK ON THEIR FEET
A majority of the bars we work with are small owner-operated businesses hard hit by the pandemic and although things are starting to reopen – restrictions and low footfall mean that many are struggling to survuve. This is coupled with problems with landlords and the forthcoming reduction of governmental support in paying staff and alleviating business rates. Some bars will not be able to operate under these financial conditions.
We will work closely with brands to divert any experiential budget directly into the bars. For the first time ever, London Cocktail Week will be offering support to brands in signing up bar venues, and this will extend to using bars for pop up activations and events. Use of ‘white’ spaces will be prohibited so any brand spend is retained within the industry. We will be curating a bespoke list of ‘black’ spaces – bars, PDRs or areas within bars that are available for private hire and branded take overs for the month of the festival. We already have an enviable list of spaces and will be partnering bars and brands individually – once we understand all requirements.
This new addition to the festival may be the only way some venues survive the first few months of reopening and so we ask brands to consider how they support key accounts carefully and considerately.
COMMITMENT TWO – TO STAND BY OUR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND THE SAFETY OF OUR GUESTS
The safety of our guests is paramount and we are aware that corporate social responsibility will be under direct scrutiny. This is relevant specifically around any messaging encouraging irresponsible behaviour.
We have made the sad decision to cancel The Cocktail Village, which would certainly be deemed a mass gathering and as such very difficult to police physical distancing. We certainly hope to bring The Cocktail Village back in 2021 so if this was your preferred way of showing up at London Cocktail Week – we’re sorry.
By extending the festival to a full month, we are ensuring a slow and steady footfall to our partner bars, rather than driving 100% of traffic within one week.
We will be stipulating specific safety standards for our partner venues to adhere to and will be working with the Mayor’s Office at City Hall to ensure that we are well versed on all safety procedures. All London Cocktail Week venues will need to show proof that they are sticking to these standards.
There may be a second wave.
We will be working on the basis of London Cocktail Week continuing to take place in October (extended to the whole month to maximise foot traffic and to fall in line with our social responsibility). Based on predictions, this should be realistic. HOWEVER, without the need for event hire space for The Cocktail Village, the festival dates can be fluid, and can take place whenever the bar scene is ready for it. Therefore, whilst committing that the festival will definitely go ahead, we will be remaining flexible on the dates. Our contracts will reflect this and we will keep all partners up to date every step of the way.
COMMITMENT THREE - MAXIMISE THE REACH OF THE FESTIVAL
The end of lockdown and reopening of bars saw an immediate surge in footfall, especially from the younger less risk averse demographic, but already this has died down, and without the security of the regular, older crowd with more disposable income, bars may struggle to get people through the door.
We will use the authoritative, trusted voice of London Cocktail Week to create one message to assure consumers that it is indeed ok to go out again, a message that must be used across the whole industry. We ask that drinks brands, bars and individuals alike come together to echo this message so that we may gain some real traction.
We will ensure that all venues participating in London Cocktail Week have gone through the necessary safety precautions, which will then be very clear throughout our comms.
We have extended the festival to one month, offering consumers more time to build confidence to go out again as well as spread out the footfall to ensure the festival supports government restrictions on physical distancing
By cancelling The Cocktail Village in 2020 this means the only way to get involved in London Cocktail Week will be by visiting the bars, maximising footfall and PR messaging around these venues.
Some people cannot or do not want to go out and socialise in bars and restaurants.
London Cocktail Week will be adding a digital element to all festival activities, so that people can get involved from the comfort and safety of their own homes. This will include working with third parties to facilitate at-home delivery for the £6 cocktails, and ensuring that the majority of events listed within the festival can be live streamed or enjoyed at home in some way.
We are on the brink on what will probably be the biggest global recession in history, and consumers may be wary of spending money.
The £6 price point offers consumers a great value for money night out in London’s best bars. With the help of stock support, venues are happy to use this price point to drive footfall for the full month, and data shows that a good proportion of customers usually go on to buy full priced drinks after they have tried the festival serve, and we expect that once people are within the environment this will still happen.
COMMITMENT FOUR – PROVE THAT LONDON HAS THE BEST BAR INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD
It’s been a terrible year, and some may have forgotten how bloody brilliant our industry is to be part of.
London Cocktail Week will bring the London bar family together to celebrate the start of better times, and remind everyone why London has the best cocktail scene on the planet!
We believe that London can act as a blueprint to show other major cities around the world what can be achieved when an industry shows a united front in the face of adversity.