Australians are still opting for local venues, and despite declining Covid concerns, pre-planned visits remain high, according to the latest consumer research.

The latest monthly On Premise Consumer Pulse from CGA found that consumers have been opting to stay closer to home as they return to venues.

“As consumers return to the On Premise within the context of quite different travelling and working patterns, the majority are opting for venues within 30-minutes of their home, with venues most likely to be in suburban locations (60 per cent),” CGA said.

While two in five consumers have visited city centre locations, 48 per cent of them said they are visiting these venues less frequently than before Covid.

Scott Elliott, CGA managing director – Americas & Asia Pacific, said, “Over the next four issues of our Australian On Premise Consumer Pulses, we’ll continue to delve into the how the On Premise is being affected by a changed consumer path to purchase.

“With many consumers shifting their preference towards local/suburban venues, suppliers will need to ensure that resources are appropriately employed to provide consumers with the kinds of experiences they are used to experiencing in the city.

“This is especially relevant for suppliers of premium brands, exploration categories and trade-up options such as cocktails, premium wine and champagne.”

As restrictions begin to ease, at 59 per cent, planned visits are still commanding a greater share of occasions than spontaneous visits (41 per cent), CGA also found.

“The research and pre-planning process represents an opportunity for suppliers to promote and engage consumers prior to visit,” the research suggested, with supplier promotion and interaction during the booking process proving to be a significant opportunity for ‘first-drink choice’ in other global markets.

“Some suppliers in Europe have seen great success in winning the first-drink order via this method,” CGA said.

Looking ahead, only a quarter of consumers have already fully planned when and where they’ll go out in the next month, meaning the vast majority of on premise visits in the next month are still available to be influenced in some way, according to CGA.

“Of those who are pre-booking in advance, there is a continued shift towards digital, with 53 per cent opting to book online or via an app. 86 per cent of consumers pre-book within just a week of the actual visit so local marketing, event promotion and other footfall-driving tactics need to be fast turnaround and on point.”

In another finding, drink-led visits have seen an increase of three percentage points compared to March, stealing share from food-led occasions which have dropped off slightly, according to CGA.

“Whilst visitation overall has barely shifted, there is a slight change in occasionality with drink-led occasions gaining some momentum over the past month,” the researcher said. “Correspondingly, food-led occasions have reduced to a similar degree over the same period.”

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