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Future trends for the night-time economy

Future trends for the night-time economy

Manchester is paving the way

Whether it is because the summit was in Manchester or because the region truly has an outstanding night-time culture scene, the work in the city is being held as a positive example of how every town or city in the country should be. This panned down to Andy Burnham allowing Sacha Lord to closely work with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The Mayor can take swift action when suggestions are made to improve the sector.

This model is something the sector is craving for and one that London has taken too. Amy Lamé is the Night Czar for the capital and has close links with Saqid Khan when championing the night-time economy. It is this model that Manchester and London have trailblazed, that has been called for by Philip Kolvin in his ‘Darkest Before the Dawn’ manifesto. Implementing a national strategy board, similar to New York, is essential to ensuring the sector receives support.

This will be the summit where Greater Manchester has brought night buses. It was initially meant to be announced in March, but Andy Burnham revealed the new plans on the first day of the summit. This is something that advisors from Tokyo and Bristol have stated they wanted to implement, whilst praising how good it is for the region.

Data is key

Whether that is providing statistics to gain change or to assess the current landscape of the sector, the importance that data can play is unparalleled. This was something the 2024 Night-Time Economy Report echoed when it outlined that spending was up 12% in 2022 from 2019. But whilst sales are greater than before the pandemic, everything else has gone up and disillusioned the data. This makes the challenges and solutions easily identifiable.

One anecdote from The Music Data Revolution came from James Hughes, whose pre-conceptions of what brought people into Ibiza Eden were altered by data. Initially thinking household-name DJs brought in the most people, it was changes in BPM, lesser-known artists and artists playing more niche genres that kept people on the dancefloor.

The night-time economy has the right people in the right place

Call it rhetoric, but I truly believe we have the right people in the right place to lobby for progression and change in our industry. And Emma McClarkin, the CEO of BBPA couldn’t have summarised it better. “When we don’t get a decision our way, it can be frustrating at times because we are so passionate.” But across the panels, it was clear the issues that needed to be changed and those who speak on our behalf know how to create the right noise to ensure change is made.

With these people lobbying decision-makers, it feels as if we are moving in a positive direction, especially after the bleak few years hospitality has endured. In the last budget alone, duty rates on alcohol were frozen, and an increase in the national living wage was seen. With the next budget less than a month away, all eyes will be on VAT and if enough pressure has been applied to reduce the 20%.

Alcohol-free is the way to go

Times are changing in the industry, and as Julie Tippins from the DHP Family said: “COVID-19 made business owners get creative and show their initiative to ensure their business stayed open which, we have taken through to this point.” Now a third of 16-24 year-olds don’t drink at all, and the non-alcoholic market has grown. Love.From is an alcohol-free bar in Manchester, and shows the incredible initiative of business owners with the business's success. They were also congratulated by Andy Burnham.

Innovation is essential to keeping a successful business in these testing times. That initiative can come in the form of new experiences, VR or operating your bar to specifically stock alcohol-free drinks. Ben Newby said: “The hard times make us more creative and more innovative. We have got to be innovative. Work fucking hard and get people into your venue. It isn’t going to be easy, but it never was entering the sector.”