After a year of business closure due to UK lockdown rules, Buzz Bingo will reopen its +100 to the public on Monday 27 May. Chief Commercial Officer Stevie Shaves tells SBC why all industry stakeholders should pay close attention to Buzz Bingo's reactivation responsibilities as a critical indicator of the sector's future retailing against future unknowns ...
SBC: A mix of leisure and hospitality and entertainment, will bingo face the most difficult comeback due to national isolation?
Stevie Shaves (CCO @Buzz Bingo): Unfortunately yes. In the retail and leisure space, the pandemic has undoubtedly been difficult for bingo clubs.
However, we hope to see a big return to bingo from our customers. and have high hopes for the future. Our clients really want to get out of the house and resume life as long as possible. We want to make sure we offer a safe place for those who really want to return to their local clubs - and for those who might want to visit them for the first time.
SBC: What special measures and considerations have Buzz Bingo management and operations teams taken to ensure the safe return of players to event venues?
SS: We have used this time to reinforce our already robust health and safety measures so that all of our clients and colleagues are protected when we open up again. Young or old, all Buzz Bingo customers will feel confident in their health and safety procedures.
These measures include new maximum capacity in clubs to allow social distancing, markers that have been placed on the floor (both inside and outside clubs) where customers may have to queue. We have also implemented separate entrances and exits and one-way traffic in the club to ensure a safer traffic flow, and have installed Perspex screens at the front desk, bar and bingo sales area to protect colleagues and customers.
Moreover, partitions are installed between the slot machines and stationary gaming terminals. Some cars have been disabled to prevent players from communicating with each other, and some locations have been marked as unused. In addition, disinfection points are available in all clubs and we have introduced more frequent cleaning rotation.
We have increased contactless card payments to £ 57 and changes to the food menu and how it is served to ensure social distancing in the kitchen. Finally, we have highlighted places where members of the same family can sit together.
SBC: Catering to an older audience, should bingo operators regain the trust of their customer base? (marketing, customer service, payment terms, etc.)
SS: Although the bingo clubs have been closed for most of the year, we know how important the clubs are to the communities, so we have tried to maintain interaction with the local club communities. ... For example, we adopted a new scheme called Buzz Buddies. A number of general managers have been trained to communicate with their elderly clients to make sure they have adequate access to food and health care, and have someone to talk to to help combat loneliness.
Buzz Bingo is the hub of a community across the country, and our peers maintain strong relationships with customers. Some employees have used their free time to volunteer in their communities or throw big street birthday parties for their clients while continuing to provide vital support to those in need.
SBC: Does Buzz Bingo support further government-funded schemes like summer dinners to help establishments help hospitality businesses get back into business?
SS: We took part in Eat to Help Scheme »Summer 2020 and offer discounted food at select Buzz Bingo Clubs. Depending on the scheme, and if applicable to our clubs, we might consider using additional government-funded schemes to assist the hospitality industry.
SBC: Reflecting broader industry trends, Buzz Bingo has recorded a shift to its digital platforms. If so, how do you plan to balance the customer experience between land-based and digital games?
SS: Although our clubs have been closed, we have naturally seen an increase in the popularity of our online site, which is great. Even before the pandemic, we were actively working on multi-channel interactions with our customers. With this in mind, we will not actively try to bring players back.
We're just glad that our customers have decided to play with us and I'm sure the thrill of being among friends again will be enough to make our players want to come out after May 17th.
SBC: Buzz Bingo will host "National Bingo Day" with market rival Mecca on June 35. Is there a new-found unity between bingo operators after the horrific 2020?
SS: Absolutely. After such a challenging year for the bingo industry and our clients, we thought it was time to join forces with UK bingo operators and the Bingo Association to celebrate bingo UK National Bingo Day ... Earlier this year, we officially registered 2 7 th June as National Bingo Day - it's very exciting.
We will be hosting great events for our clients on this day, so watch your eyes.
SBC: What factors do you consider unknown when bingo and other land-based establishments return from blocking mode?
SS : I'm sure there are a lot of them, but we hope and are confident that we have covered all the bases. However, I think the biggest unknown is how the interruption in communication with other people affects people.
Before the pandemic, there were obvious seasonal events. peaks and valleys of trading - I think that now all this can be reset! We hope to find out about this soon.
Stevie Shaves - Commercial Director - Buzz Bingo