Nearly one in six people have failed to keep a reservation since lockdown, CGA’s latest Consumer Pulse survey shows—emphasising the need to understand the reasons behind cancellations and no-shows.

CGA’s bi-weekly poll of 2,000 nationally representative consumers found that 8% of consumers admitted to not turning up for a reservation without warning in the six weeks after restaurants, pubs and bars reopened from 4 July. The same number (8%) said they had cancelled a booking before it was due.

The increase in no-shows, highlighted by CGA soon after lockdown eased, has gathered media attention lately. The Consumer Pulse survey uncovers the causes of no-shows, with one in five (21%) failing to turn up because a member of their group had fallen ill with COVID-19-related symptoms (21%), while 16% forgot about the booking.

But the results also highlight consumers’ deep anxiety at the moment. Nearly one in six (16%) of those who didn’t show for a booking said it was because of nerves in advance. The same number (16%) backed out at the last minute, arriving at a venue for a booking but then deciding they didn’t feel comfortable enough to go in. Among those who cancelled, nearly a quarter (23%) did so because a venue wasn’t sufficiently able to reassure them about safety.

Men, city centre residents and people who eat out often all over-index on failure to keep reservations. But there are signs that the media outcry and #NoMoreNoShows campaign may be easing the problem, with the number of no-show consumers dropping since the first Consumer Pulse survey.

No-shows and cancellations have always been a problem, but the issue has really come to the fore since lockdown,” says Rachel Weller, CGA’s Head of Consumer Research and Marketing. “Safety fears clearly lie behind many of the failures to fulfil bookings, which is a reminder of the need to reassure guests about precautions even before they set foot in a venue. Good communication will reduce the risk of no-shows, and it has to start with a deep understanding of consumers’ concerns and priorities at this difficult time.”

To help respond to the rise in no-shows, CPL Learning have released a free learning activity for teams. Developed with recruitment consultancy Sixty Eight People and supplier Kinship Hospitality, it helps to educate people about no-shows and find solutions to the problem. It aims to:

  • Explain what no-shows are and what drives them
  • Set out different approaches that can affect levels of no-shows
  • Assess the risk and loss to a business and find the best approach
  • Show how to best communicate with guests throughout the booking process to reduce losses.

You can find out more about the free ‘No More No Shows’ learning activity on the CPL Learning website.


Enter details

Please fill in all fields and enter valid email address.
Your details
Contact info
Additional info
What best describes your company?


Yes! Sign me up to CGA’s weekly ezine.


By clicking download, you agree to CGA’s privacy policy and consent to allow CGA to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you with the service or content requested.