Setting the scene

Novus Leisure is the largest private operator of bars, clubs, restaurants and late night venues in London. It manages several brands, and a relatively diverse estate – with more than 40 sites in the West End and City alone.

The context

The business needed to understand how it could more effectively cater to the demands of the market by ascertaining how its offer mapped against the needs and motivations of people enjoying a night out in London with the fundamental question “If the clock was stopped in Central London on any given night, what would be the needs, motivations and priorities of the young men and women within the bars and clubs?”.

This was the challenge considering the breadth of brands and bar types, coupled with the fact that people’s needs and motivations would differ greatly depending on the “type” of night out they had planned on any given day, at any given time.

The approach

We collaborated with customer experience alignment specialists Brand Vista to deliver a market segmentation. Qualitative research and stakeholder depth interviews identified the roles currently being played by each venue, and the broad range of needs, motivations, attitudes and behaviours presented.

This informed the design of a questionnaire that was completed by over 1,200 young people that had been on a night out in the previous weeks. Within the survey we captured a significant volume of data about their most recent night out – as well as how this compared with other “types” of night out.

We used statistical analysis techniques (including factor and cluster analysis) to identify five distinct motivations for a night out in London. These segments were profiled by demographics, behaviours and attitudes, and developed further at client workshops at which point qualitative insight and sales / operational intelligence was overlaid.

bridge gap

The results

We used this survey to ascertain triggers and decision influencers, understanding what occasions existed and how the bars / clubs of London are ‘segmented’ by capturing spend data as well as frequency we were able to present back not only the size (volume and incidence) of each segment – but also the value (in terms of how much they would be likely to spend at given venues). It provided deep insight into behaviour – what they do, when and why. It provided insight into the impact of branding and allowed our partners to recommend an aligned customer journey and experience for each segment in each venue (accounting for product / service preferences – food, drinks, music, table service, opening hours, etc.).

It allowed Novus to understand (relative to competitor venues) on which segments / occasions it over/under indexed, and identified gaps in the market. It informed acquisition strategy (whilst minimising cannibalisation). Shortly after the project was delivered Novus bought Ball Brothers in 2011, and subsequently sold to new investors in 2012 for £100m.