An exploration of the substitutions of British pub consumers during the COVID-19 crisis

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Abstract

This research draws on substitution theory to understand how British pub consumers describe their substitutions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. A two-stage research method design is adopted, with an exploratory netnography stage followed by 13 semi-structured interviews to gain a deeper insight. Five themes emerge that are either direct substitutions for the physical closing of the pub venues (online social drinking and pub-dating alternatives), or they were indirect effects of the substituting venues (in-the-home drinking, different drinks in the home and no work-related substitutions). The findings show that drinking in pubs is a functional as well as a symbolic act. Key stakeholders are recommended to remain in contact with customers through blended online and offline activities to help keep the pubs relevant to them. This will benefit the pub sector long after the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102998
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Volume96
Early online date29 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Crisis
  • Pub consumer
  • Pub sector
  • Substitution theory

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