Since the pandemic canceled various opportunities for us to go out to party - including occasions like Coachella, Burning Man, Eurovision Song Contest, weddings, Mimosa brunches, karaoke parties, and nights out at House of Yes, the concept of the roaring twenties has been thrown out in the air to describe the post-COVID nightlife era. In short, this means that once the economy and nightlife eventually reopens, we'll go out like never before - and it's gonna be the times of our lives.
Are we back to bouncing against each other on packed dance floors, sharing karaoke mics and kissing strangers?
On the other hand, it has been forecasted that the pandemic that shook the world will permanently change our habits and restructure some of our everyday foundations. We might want to sanitize our hands (and microphones), keep a 6-feet distance, avoid large crowds and prefer outdoor seating in the future as well.
Whereas in many European countries the nightlife restrictions are still in place, the US seems to be a few steps ahead, as the vaccine rollout is going forward and the society is reopening fast post COVID-19.
So, what is it looking like now that we see the nightlife reopens? Are we back to bouncing against each other on packed dance floors, sharing drinks, and kissing strangers? Are karaoke parties gonna be back? (Something we at Singa obviously care about a lot!) We asked a UK's industry research expert as well as some locals in the US how the vibe around the post-pandemic nightlife is.
UK hospitality's reopening to changed customer base
For the United Kingdom, it isn't much of an aggregation to state that the pandemic caused a year-long nightmare. Since March 2020, the country has been experiencing strict lockdowns, closing of schools and businesses, and serious limitations in socializing. However, in the UK by far as many as 72% of the adult population has received the first shot, and many restrictions are being lifted. Hooray!
We asked a top hospitality industry expert Katy Moses, Managing Director at KAM Media, what she is foreseeing about the post-pandemic hospitality industry.
"Hospitality is certainly entering a new era, we are operating in a new landscape with a changed customer base. Like it or not, the industry is going to have to work harder than ever to provide the right experience to keep customers coming back, so every little detail counts", Katy explains.
Summer of socializing - surrounded by insecurity
According to KAM Media, many consumers have had a tough time over the last 15 months with feelings of fear, frustration, stress, and boredom. The good news is that people are feeling a lot less fearful coming out of this lockdown than previously, and the crowd is reported to be planning to visit pubs and meet friends during the summer.
60% of UK adults say they will visit a pub, bar or restaurant this summer, with local neighbourhood venues likely to win back footfall first.
"However, research KAM carried out in partnership with Zonal found that customers do think they will visit hospitality venues less frequently, at least in the short term, with drink-led occasions most likely to suffer. We're all hopeful that vertical drinking will be allowed again come July, which will help drive these drink-led occasions again", Katy continues.
Demand for high hygiene levels continues
"Over a third of consumers say that they are still feeling insecure about socialising again after so many months at home, so operators will, of course, still have to keep safety and hygiene at the front of mind. There is a risk that as the weeks tick by, staff may take their eye off the ball with regards to this. Customer perception is reality and we expect customers to be hyper-aware of hygiene levels certainly for the foreseeable future", Katy explains.
We expect customers to be hyper-aware of hygiene levels certainly for the foreseeable future.
"That said, it's certainly set to be a summer of socialising. 36% say they will be socialising more with friends and family compared with pre-pandemic times. A large proportion of this socialising will be happening at home however with 28% planning to have dinner parties, 39% saying they'll have friends and family over for BBQs and 68% saying they'll have gatherings of 10+ people in their homes this summer," Katy explains.
Are parties back in the USA?
The US, as well, suffered from the pandemic severely, and according to BBC has currently the highest number of reported cases and deaths since the start of the pandemic. However according The New York Times, currently around 50% of the US has received at least one shot of the vaccine, and states are swiftly reopening.
We asked some locals how the nightlife vibe is currently at their cities, and how they personally feel about going out.
Brooklyn, New York
New York City, being famous for its lively urban culture, was naturally hit hard by COVID. "New York was under a long lockdown and I had never seen the city so quiet and empty", a Brooklyn local, Lina says. However, in April, the state has allowed restaurants and bars to be open until midnight with limited capacity, and for May several - even most - restrictions are expected to end.
"I, for once, can't wait to be in crowded places again - but preferably outdoors," Lina adds.
"New York is back and so is karaoke!"
A Brooklyn-based creative Christine has an even more positive attitude towards the freshly reopened nightlife. "Karaoke bars are accepting private room reservations again and I'll definitely be booking one with friends soon. Everyone I know is fully vaccinated and mask mandates are easing up so it feels like nightlife is an option again", she tells, and continues sharing about a makeshift karaoke night at a houseparty she attended last weekend.
"New York is back and so is karaoke!" Christine concludes.
San Francisco, California
"Lots of Californians are either extremely cautious, or if they are going out, don’t post pictures about it," says Morgan, a Californian-born Silicon Valley tech professional who recently relocated to Austin, Texas.
"Texans, on the other hand, seem to have no rules anymore - bars are packed and masks are only needed to enter buildings.” Morgan continues.
What does it all mean for karaoke?
Like stated in FiveThirtyEight - karaoke is a "microcosm" of everything we haven’t been able to do since COVID. For some countries, it's been a full year without karaoke. Entertainment in pubs and bars has been under strict regulation, and singing is one of the many activities (along with live music, dancing, wandering around, mingling with other tables, etc.) that has been forbidden during the pandemic.
However, there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel for karaoke singers and business owners. As the safety and hygiene demands remain high, accordingly the way we do karaoke needs to adapt and evolve to meet the changing hospitality environment. As Katy Moses explained - the industry needs to work hard to provide the right experience, so every little detail counts. For karaoke venues, this can mean for example careful cleaning of the microphones, offering mobile and contactless solutions for karaoke songbooks and song requesting, and providing opportunities for some social distancing at the venues. Karaoke rooms are gaining a big momentum, and trendy cities like Copenhagen are getting their first karaoke room venues in 2021. Besides karaoke rooms, we are seeing a huge trend of outdoor karaoke and for example festival karaoke for the summer 2021.
Unsurprisingly - it requires much more than a global pandemic to stop people from singing.
If you need help with the karaoke or entertainment solutions for your venue, chat with us on our website www.singa.com/business or contact us at email@example.com - we're happy to help you!
UK re-opening guidelines for safe karaoke entertainment
Post-COVID entertainment guidelines for bars and nightlife venues in the USA
How Copenhagen got its first karaoke box venue - A success story called City Pop
KAM Media are research and insight experts providing tools to help businesses understand their customer's journeys. Using consumer and operator research and insights, KAM Media helps identify the ways in which businesses can improve. Read more here.