With more businesses offering alcohol free or low alcohol options the culture surrounding social drinking is seeing a positive shift. In August 2021, hotel chain Hyatt trialled a ‘zero proof, zero judgement’ alcohol free menu alongside their existing alcohol offering, and it has recently expanded this to more of its hotels. With the changing attitudes towards drinking alcohol and concern about personal health and wellbeing, tourism businesses are looking at alternative products to attract non-drinkers.

Attitudes to social drinking are changing

There has been a shift in sentiment surrounding alcohol consumption, particularly in Western culture. The mental and physical wellbeing of tourists is something that has become a hot topic in recent years, with wellness and mindfulness becoming the focus of many tourists while on holiday. According to a GlobalData 2021 Q3 Global Consumer Survey asked, “How concerned are you about your physical fitness and health?” 25% responded “extremely concerned”, and 29% responded “quite concerned”. This shows that consumers are increasingly thinking about their health and wellbeing, and the option of non-alcoholic drinks is a strong reflection of this sentiment.

The wider variety of mocktails, alongside the more traditional alcoholic options, means that more travellers will be able to enjoy the experience of social drinking. The GlobalData 2021 Q3 Global Consumer Survey shows that an average of 22% of consumers don’t drink, and 19% rarely drink. This is an untapped market of consumers, but with more alcohol-free alternatives being provided, this will change. Whereas before, many non-drinkers would have not socialised in this manner, they can now drink socially with their peers without feeling the need to consume alcohol.

Concerns with health and wellbeing is changing consumer behaviour

Historically, holidays have been a good excuse to go on a night out, however, this has led to an unwelcome culture of rowdy behaviour and public intoxication being common in certain tourist destinations such as Benidorm and Magaluf. The World Health Organisation shows that, on average, per capita alcohol consumption is 6.1 litres of pure alcohol each year. As per GlobalData’s research, consumers are influenced by how a product impacts their health and wellbeing. Consumers are looking towards more casual leisure and social occasions, and are looking to recreate the same feeling and experience of “nights out on the town” without negative implications such as hangovers and loss of inhibitions, so this means that non-alcohol alternatives can expect a positive response, as they provide solutions to both these points. More low alcohol and non-alcoholic options in public spaces means there is potential for a shift towards a safer way of indulging.

The financial angle must be considered too. Products such as the low alcohol alternatives and mocktails typically cost more than the traditional alternative of a soft drink such as sodas or juices. Hyatt must have seen success in its menu update for it to be expanding the list of their hotels that offers the initiative. This shift into new innovative drinking alternatives marks a turning point, with consumers looking to make more informed and healthier choices while travelling.