New research reveals top reasons for no-shows

Recent insights from hospitality technology partner Zonal and CGA by NIQ shine a light on the main reasons guests don't turn up for restaurant reservations. 

According to the study, the top five reasons cited are:

  1. Having a change of plans (7%)
  2. Others in the group cancelling (21%)
  3. People booking multiple venues to ensure they would get in somewhere (20%)
  4. One member of the group falling ill (20%)
  5. Forgetting about a booking (15%)

The survey of more than 1,000 UK adults highlights the ongoing issue of no-shows and the importance of educating customers on the impact this has on hospitality businesses.

The findings also show that Sunday is the day when no-shows are most likely to occur and that, on average, Autumn (September to November) tends to be the worst season when it comes to people not honouring bookings.

Figures from a recent GO Technology report from Zonal and CGA by NIQ also found that 77% of people find not being able to amend or cancel bookings online a key frustration in the pre-visit customer journey. A further 34% stated that if they experience frustrations pre-visit, such as being unable to amend or cancel bookings online, they would find somewhere else to go.

This all underlines the need for operators to tackle no-shows, which cost the industry £17.59bn per year in lost revenue. 

"People not honouring their reservations continues to be a challenge for the industry," says Tim Chapman, chief commercial officer at Zonal. "Plans change and that cannot be helped, however in order to reduce the risk of no-shows, we need to continue finding ways to educate consumers on what impact this has on their favourite pubs, bars and restaurants.

"The figures also highlight a correlation between people not honouring their reservations and the ability for customers to change or amend bookings. Operators that have digital systems in place, enabling customers to manage bookings online will be able to reduce no-shows from happening, as well as remove any potential customer frustrations during the pre-visit journey, improving the overall customer experience."


In response to the ongoing issue of no-shows and in support of the industry, Zonal launched their #ShowUpForHospitality campaign in September 2021, to help operators try mitigate the risk of no-shows, as well as to raise awareness of the importance of consumers turning up to a booking or informing a venue if they can no longer make it.

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