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Pubs And Restaurants Opening, Can Tech Help?

“We better go to the pub then dad!” said my seven-year-old on 19th March as the imminent shutting of pubs was reported on the news. At the time few believed we would not be back until July, never mind what the restrictions would look like when we did.

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The Centre of Economic Business Research (CEBR) estimates Britons will spend £210m (1) in the re-opening of pubs this weekend, but is it entirely good news or is there some bad? The Good: The hospitality sector will start to recover, people will be able to socialise again, the (home) microwave can have a rest and we can have a proper pint! The Bad: Older and vulnerable people are expected to stay away, profits are predicted to drop to 46% of the pre-crisis level due to lower capacity and increase costs, and of course the prospect of a second spike in C-19 cases. 

One comment from regulars in our local, and no doubt mirrored across the country, will be similar to the question from church goers at Christmas “I can’t get a seat, where are you lot the rest of the year?!” Clearly the hospitality industry wants to maximise the opportunity to increase their footfall and also keep their regulars happy. What better way to do that than to build a digital trust relationship with customers and cement loyalty at the same time? Pubs have a unique opportunity, that may not present itself again. Collecting contact tracing data will likely be necessary to satisfy the government track and trace requirement but at the same time, a marketing consent can be requested to stay in touch with those customers in the future. The Consentric service by MyLife Digital can be used for this purpose by integrating into customer registration pages and storing preference & consent data compliantly. 

This presents a win-win scenario for consumers and businesses where the inconvenience customers face of having to share their details is offset by the prospect of receiving offers and relevant communications (be that “Isolate for 14 days”, or “Get a free pint with your next burger!”). Unsurprisingly the privacy and personal data community are asking the question of what data should be collected, and how it should be shared and stored. The ICO has issued guidelines (2) which correctly advise against storing data that isn’t required (Privacy 101 – you can’t lose or misuse data you don’t have) but if there is a reason to collect customer data that can be used to benefit businesses and customers then take the opportunity to do so. 

Over the weekend the Telegraph highlighted the warning from UKHospitality about opportunistic tech companies “ambulance-chasing” and overcharging pubs for the development of apps (3). Of course, there are unscrupulous organisations that don’t miss an opportunity to make money unethically but that doesn’t mean technology companies can’t help ease the process and make changes for the greater good.  That’s the ethos of MyLife Digital – to empower individuals and organisations to work in partnership to understand, control and gain mutual value from that data for positive outcomes. In keeping with that ethos our Consentric Preference & Consent platform is available free of charge to small businesses for up to 10,000 citizen records.

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Luke Smalley

Luke Smalley

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