Matthew Neville

UK nightlife staple Bongo’s Bingo returns with optimism for the industry in 2022

Since its first show in April 2015 in Liverpool, Bongo’s Bingo has become a mainstay nightlife attraction in many cities, now taking place in 40 locations, and rising, across the UK.

Bongo’s Bingo is part of the UK’s experience economy, focused on experiential and immersive nights out which usually involve participation, otherwise known as competitive socialising. Pre-pandemic, this was a “huge growth sector” and now is bouncing back as the pandemic eases.

Since its inception, millions of Bongo’s Bingo tickets have been sold both in the UK and internationally in locations including Australia, Dubai, and Ibiza.

After enduring many challenges during the pandemic, the company is seeing significant ticket growth again with January’s sales over 90 per cent of capacity and January and February combined at 78 per cent.

Co-founder Joshua Burke explained: “The pandemic has been awful for many parts of the economy and the nightlife industry has been badly damaged. The essence of our shows is hundreds or thousands of people immersed in playing bingo, dancing to music and winning crazy prizes.

“So navigating our way through lockdowns, different restrictions and endless challenges has been incredibly tough on our business, from adapting to outdoor shows to social distancing. Now though we can see customer confidence is coming back quickly which is brilliant.

“We are a very ambitious company and have got big plans for 2022. We are already investing in new staff, a bigger office, and expansion of our shows in the UK and abroad.”

Co-founder Jonny Bongo added: “Right now I can feel the confidence coming back, but it’s not been easy. From Freedom Day last summer and into the winter we recovered well and found some stability until Omicron hit hard and through December demand fell. There were a lot of customer no shows and I was approaching the new year with big concern.

“People are seeking out our kind of escapism at our shows and I think we are reaching the moment where we really have to live with this now, we can get on with the things we enjoy again. Nightlife and events have struggled for consistency for so long now and it feels stability is finally coming back again in terms of bookings, planning and strategy.”

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