Home Forums Chat Forum No-shows? Is this now standard?

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  • No-shows? Is this now standard?
  • 4
    binners
    Full Member

    I’ve heard it repeatedly from friends who work in hospitality, that its just regular for people to book restaurant tables then just not turn up. Obviously this causes massive issues with the business and having empty tables when bookings have been turned away because they were apparently fully booked. It drives them mad!

    I had my own experience of it over the weekend and am quite taken aback by the extent of it. I was part of a local arts festival and to encourage engagement, local artists were offering classes for people to come on and try for free. At the venue I was exhibiting at they had two well known local artists offering watercolour classes on Saturday morning and charcoal drawing class on Sunday. They offered 12 places on each, but booking on was required as places were limited. The classes got filled up really quickly and then any further enquiries had to be turned down

    On Saturday morning, with all the materials set out waiting for people, of the 12 people booked on, only 2 of them bothered to turn up. On Sunday, again with all the materials out waiting for people, of the 12 people booked on, not one of them turned up.

    Not only had materials been brought in for people to use, the 2 artists had obviously put a lot of time and effort into preparing the classes.

    Is this just what people do nowadays? What are other peoples experienes on this type of thing?

    I wouldn’t dream of booking a table or booking onto a course then just not bothering to turn up. In this day and age, where communication is so easy, I can’t believe how many people don’t  even send a quick call/email/text message to say they can’t make it

    Is this just now standard behavior?

    5
    5lab
    Full Member

    pretty standard behavior, which is why a lot of restaurants ask for a deposit to be paid if you’ve got a booking these days. Encourages you to show up or cancel

    5
    leffeboy
    Full Member

    Think it’s a bit like people ordering 3 sizes of something from Amazon and sending 2 back knowing they will probably be binned.  People are focused on the impact on themselves now :(.

    2
    kelvin
    Full Member

    Any event needs to take paid for bookings now really, plenty of web/app services to facilitate this. Even a token £5 deposit or fee can stop people booking “just in case” and filling up slots they’re unlikely to use.

    3
    soundninjauk
    Full Member

    Is this just now standard behavior?

    Yes apparently.

    I’m sure there are many reasons why that a smart person could tell you, related to a breakdown in the societal contract exacerbated by increasing political divisions/covid or increased isolation and a consumerist ‘me’ driven mindset encouraged by advertising and online shopping etc. etc.

    But what it comes down to is that for some reason, people seem to think that it’s ok to be a dick and/or aren’t even considering the impact of their actions on other people. Which is also being a dick.

    4
    poly
    Free Member

    I wouldn’t dream of booking a table or booking onto a course then just not bothering to turn up.

    likewise – but your free art class is particularly vulnerable as if it’s free nobody values it.  If it had been £5 – you’d have 8/12 places filled!  The others would be “well I’ve paid the fiver it’s my choice to bail out”.  If it have been £50 you might have had 12/12 places filled with someone phoning the day before to cancel and you filling from a reservation list – it’s all about perceived value.

    In this day and age, where communication is so easy, I can’t believe how many people don’t  even send a quick call/email/text message to say they can’t make it

    Bear in mind not every hospitality business is actually that approachable!  They work odd hours, don’t like answering the phone during service.  SOMETIMES they are their own worst enemy.

    Is this just now standard behavior?

    I last worked in hospitality in ‘98 and it was standard behaviour then – perhaps not to the extent it is now but tables for 12 not appearing or the odd table for 2/4 not showing was not unusual.  By the way, employers being **** with zero hours contracts wasn’t unusual then either – if a table for 12 didn’t show up after 30 mins the manager would probably send a staff member home!

    I was often the person with the task of phoning them to see if late or not coming – this was pre mobile days, sometimes the phone rang out – were they on the way? Sometimes they answered – they were never apologetic.

    and book for 10 people but turn up with 6 or 12 was not a classic Friday/Sat evening thing.

    4
    convert
    Full Member

    Yes, sadly. Me first culture is rife. A free event is often seen as having no value; forgetting it’s only free because someone else is going out of their way to make it free for you.

    NHS is ‘free’ in some people’s eyes too and the no show rates to GPs, dentists and hospitals is shameful from a society that loves to slag it off but does not do it’s bit too.

    A lot of free events like you describe will take a refundable deposit that state the deposit will be given to charity if the place is not taken up. And if cancelled at the last minute you only get the money back if someone else is able to take your place. It’s tricky – you need the value to be high enough to make people think twice before being a no show but not so big that it’s a barrier to committing in the first place.

    In situations like that I’d be sending a B’cced email to all people who signed up with a photo of a set up but empty studio, explaining all the hard work that went into making it happen and the time committed, explaining how disappointing it was and how many people who wanted to be there missed out with a link to an arts based charity if they felt a donation might make amends. It will undoubtedly make little difference but might just make them think twice. I’d then put their contact details on a black list for future events unless they came back with a profuse apology.

    Restaurants – I’ve been asked for a deposit a couple of times and it’s easy to take it as a personal slight, but when you look at it from the business perspective it’s totally understandable.

    Edit to add – bookable events be that GP appointments, MOTs, classes or restaurants can make a significant difference to no show rates by sending reminders beforehand. One far enough away that you might have time to fill it and another just before the event. Even sending and iCal link to push it onto someone’s smartphone calendar.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    Levying some sort of charge might help reduce the number of no-shows but my experience of sportives and the like is that it’s not unusual for 25-30% of entrants to pay their entry fees and still not turn up on the day. That could be £50-80 each.

    2
    J-R
    Full Member

    if it’s free nobody values it

    This.

    binners
    Full Member

    I suppose I’m just amazed by the extent of it really. Of 24 people booked on, only 2 turned up.

    Of the 22 who didn’t turn up, not one of them saw fit to let anyone know that they wouldn’t make it

    hightensionline
    Full Member

    Yeah, depressingly common from my experience; taster sessions, one-off experiences to try something before committing, etc, seem to be very vulnerable to those choosing to ignore rule #1.
    Ultimately, it’s a service offered to enable as many folk as possible to experience things that are beneficial to them. Someone foots the bill somewhere, be it financially, or timewise. Much like STW, I suppose, with free membership.

    1
    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    It seems ‘normal’ among a good group of people now. We’ve a family member who I had a tiff with over them booking two or more restaurants on holiday, only intending to make use of one, but wanted ‘options open’ as ‘no one decides what they want for tea the day before’…. It’s horrid and selfish.

    We now charge for any event at work to increase attendance.

    1
    dmorts
    Full Member

    It will be because they were free. Had similar with trying to give items away, lots of interest but no one actually turns up or just ghosts the conversation. Readvetise for a low cost instead and people are at the door in hours, or even minutes

    Kramer
    Free Member

    On the flip side of this, apparently it’s worth trying in all sorts of exclusive places to see if you may be able to fill a no-show.

    fossy
    Full Member

    When we had a ‘caravan’ the site would put on free entertainment and food for Halloween and the end of season Party.  The level of waste was obscene from the no shows – i.e. catered for everyone. We suggested they then charge a £5 refundable deposit for each person. That seemed to work.

    1
    ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    In this day and age, where communication is so easy, I can’t believe how many people don’t  even send a quick call/email/text message to say they can’t make it

    just playing devils advocate, is it actually easy to do this? or did they book on an online form with no obvious way of actually call/email/messaging them.

    That aside, I’m in the camp of people are stupid – guarantee that of the 22 that didnt show up only a few or none actually thought that there’s a person who has expended time and money to put on this free event for them.

    1
    thisisnotaspoon
    Free Member

    Same with gym classes, the popular ones get booked out 14 days in advance, the only way to really get a space is to put yourself on the waiting list and just assume that people will cancel on the day, or more usually I just turn up and assume ~20% of people will have been a no-show.

    It will be because they were free. Had similar with trying to give items away, lots of interest but no one actually turns up or just ghosts the conversation. Readvetise for a low cost instead and people are at the door in hours, or even minutes

    +1, unless it’s something that I’m actually going to leave at the roadside for the scrap man I list it for £1/£2/£5 on marketplace and then just refuse payment unless I happen to have a Guide Dogs tin in the house for fundraising.

    3
    TiRed
    Full Member

    Refundable deposit adds to the perceived value. Even if only £10. Plenty of no shows in time trials. But they’ve paid already. It is expected that an apology is sent prior to the event. And that is marked on the results sheet as a DNS(A)

    4
    avdave2
    Full Member

    They offered 12 places on each, but booking on was required as places were limited.

    Notice was given of a bat walk in Royden Park, Frankby on Friday evening. Ranger-led, the event was free although booking was essential.

    1
    binners
    Full Member

    @avdave2 – My response to that, was this….

    When that album was released, Mrs Binners was working for an environmental charity that did have someone in the office who organised batwalks. It pretty soon became the office anthem :D

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    Just playing devils advocate a bit, but folk also see many of these “taster” events as a form of marketing and so any cost is subsequently covered by class fees etc.

    1
    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    From the other side, I go to a lot of gigs and I’ve had quite a few over the years where I turn up to the venue and the performer has just cancelled on the day. Just last week, supposed to have a comedy show for Canada Day. Bobby Mair, who isn’t an unknown… and a few others. Get to the venue “Oh sorry its been cancelled”. **** annoying

    hightensionline
    Full Member

    At a free gig? Fair enough.

    4
    poly
    Free Member

    I suppose I’m just amazed by the extent of it really. Of 24 people booked on, only 2 turned up.

    Of the 22 who didn’t turn up, not one of them saw fit to let anyone know that they wouldn’t make it

    That does sound exceptional.  I don’t think that can be purely down to a cultural issue of book and don’t go.  So I’d be investigating:

    1. Did the booking system work as expected (e.g. sent a confirmation email).

    2. Did the booking or follow up comms provide all the detail required (I’ve booked stuff where to find the start time / location you need to look somewhere totally different).

    3. Was the booking so far in advance people would forget?

    4. Was there any kid of reminder / follow up near the time?  Did it include contact details for cancellations or mention of a waiting list?  Or was it sent from a “no-reply@” address

    5. What contact details did you get – are these even real people or spam bots?

    intheborders
    Free Member

    I suppose I’m just amazed by the extent of it really. Of 24 people booked on, only 2 turned up.

    Of the 22 who didn’t turn up, not one of them saw fit to let anyone know that they wouldn’t make it

    Send each of the non-attendees an email/text telling them, and how much time/money they’d wasted.

    They’ll all have an ‘excuse’, bet the majority often break Rule #1.

    thisisnotaspoon
    Free Member

    Just playing devils advocate a bit, but folk also see many of these “taster” events as a form of marketing and so any cost is subsequently covered by class fees etc.

    Devils Advocate^2 , so now the person running the business is down the cost of all their time and materials and doesn’t have an income stream to show for it.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    No different from stuffing flyers through folks doors, putting up posters etc. None of that is free and all comes under “marketing”.

    In the OPs example, if both of the attendees were genuinely interested in following up the free class then that might be more worthwhile than having 22 others who weren’t. I guess you’d have to know what the usual conversion rate was.

    2
    Bunnyhop
    Full Member

    In my line of work I go out to measure for curtains and blinds. This is free. In the last decade the number of people who don’t get back to me (it would be helpful if they gave a reason) to follow through with the job, has more than trebled.

    People don’t realise that I’ve done a full day’s work and then have to go out in the evenings and measure up their windows (often travelling a certain distance).

    The worst person actually wasn’t there when I turned up to measure her house.

    After the Covid lockdowns I was so fed up with this that I no longer go out and measure. They can do it themselves with help from me over the phone or with diagrams.

    I have to stress though that there are still some lovely people who are my regular customers and would never take my time for granted.

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    hightensionline
    At a free gig? Fair enough.

    To me? Who mentioned free? Spend out £66 on tickets, and got £60 refunded. Nothing for the fuel/inconvenience

    2
    fossy
    Full Member

    On a personal note, we had a family gathering for my daughter’s 21st last weekend.  Food was bought for all the confirmed attendees at some expense.  Out of 26 people, 10 cancelled last minute – some just didn’t turn up with no notice. I wasn’t best pleased as I’d spend £300 on food.

    hooli
    Free Member

    I agree with @poly and harsh as it sounds, if 22 out of 24 didn’t show then I’d be looking at what I could have done differently. You expect a few no shows but not that many without something else going on.

    1
    thecaptain
    Free Member

    I’ve no-showed for races a few times, I don’t set out to do so but if pre-entry is required (or significantly discounted) then I’m sometimes happy to take the risk of losing the entry fee – I view it as a donation to help keep the event running in future.

    Of course I’m not taking anyone’s spot as these events are not booked out (at least, I don’t recall ever no-showing in that situation). There could possibly be a small wastage in food etc but by the time I’ve made the decision that ship has probably sailed anyway.

    Charging a fee or refundable deposit seems an obvious solution when it’s too big a problem to ignore. I’ve seen plenty of restaurants do that, and I can’t blame them.

    Drac
    Full Member

    Yeah it is very much a thing, popular restaurants will often take a deposit now to help discourage it.

    mrbadger
    Free Member

    Tbh 22/24 not turning up is dickish behaviour in the extreme. I’d be raging. Next time charge a refundable deposit to stop such antics

    hightensionline
    Full Member

    To me? Who mentioned free?

    I was comparing the free local arts event against the one you mentioned. I don’t think they’re in any way similar to say ‘from the other side’, is all.

    Spend out £66 on tickets, and got £60 refunded. Nothing for the fuel/inconvenience

    Depends on the option of a rescheduled gig, so no loss of booking fee on the overall ticket cost. It costs to refund, is the answer. Twitter/X and the interweb have changed things immeasurably for booking and then checking the details of a gig right up to the start time, but as with sporting events, they get cancelled – sometimes at the last minute.  You’ve entered a contract, to that effect. It’s not nice, but life is uncertain, hence live music being so much about the moment; it’s transience is why it matters to us, and it can be subject to life getting in the way, even an hour or a minute before the gig for the performer(s).

    kerley
    Free Member

    Not surprised as a lot of people don’t give a shit about impact to others but as above something sounds wrong with 22 from 24 not giving a shit.

    1
    avdave2
    Full Member

    My partner organised a family event a few weeks ago, 43 people invited, 43 accepted, 43 showed up even the ones who really would have been wanting to watch the fa cup final.

    Have to say though I think that is incredibly rare these days. It feels to me as if everyone is always waiting for a better offer, or they simply think only they will be thinking of not turning up

    1
    poly
    Free Member

    Depends on the option of a rescheduled gig, so no loss of booking fee on the overall ticket cost. It costs to refund, is the answer.

    Personally I’d expect 100% refund.  I’ve run events that have been cancelled due to weather and we refund all of the cost – not just the bit we got from the payment provider / processing platform.  That’s OUR risk as the organiser.

    Twitter/X and the interweb have changed things immeasurably for booking and then checking the details of a gig right up to the start time, but as with sporting events, they get cancelled – sometimes at the last minute.  You’ve entered a contract, to that effect. It’s not nice, but life is uncertain, hence live music being so much about the moment; it’s transience is why it matters to us, and it can be subject to life getting in the way, even an hour or a minute before the gig for the performer(s).

    Most likely they ask for at least an email address and probably a phone number during the checkout process.  You would expect these are used to contact people in all be the most extenuating circumstances.  There are platforms that will send mass texts out to thousands of people for pennies a test.  Again its a cost, but thats the cost of being in customer service business.

    However, none of that explains why people who wanted to go to free arts event would just not turn up.

    tthew
    Full Member

    … And that is marked on the results sheet as a DNS(A)

    I noticed this for the first time when I was marshalling a TT this weekend. There were quite a plan old DNS too though.

    1
    clubby
    Full Member

    I blame online booking. In the old days you’d to make an effort to phone up and speak to an actual person. Booking online is so easy and impersonal, you have no sense of connection to the place.

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