Monday, 22 November 2010

The Quite Good Pub Guide

Last week we were notified by letter that the Good Pub Guide are to introduce a  charge for all pubs listed in the guide.
The charge is £199.
To quote the letter:
 'We have recently changed our business model and are now asking for a contribution from publicans for inclusion in the Guide.The selection of the pubs remains at our discretion and only pubs we contact have a chance to be part of the book.'

Whilst in the grand scheme of things £199 is not a huge amount of money,its left us feeling a tad disillusioned.In effect,the charge totally alters the dynamic of the book.From next year being recommended as one of the best will for the first time no longer guarantee recognition in the guide,only the entry charge will ensure that.The Good Pub Guide is regarded as a National institution(the letter actually highlights this fact as a benefit to inclusion).As such its unique selling point has always been its reputation for impartiality.Its now approaching its 30th edition.As the web site says:

'The Good Pub Guide remains Britain’s bestselling travel guide. The only truly independent guide of its kind, its comprehensive updates, meticulous attention to detail and countless reader reports ensure that only the very best of the nation’s watering holes make the cut.'

Whilst you still have to be invited to be included(you cant ring them up and say here's my £199 can
I have a listing please?) it now in practice becomes a guide of the best of those willing to pay.So, if we decide not to pay will an alternative pub which otherwise would not have been included now gain entry?Thus diluting the quality?Or will they cut down on the number of entries?

I subsequently spoke to a chap on the telephone from the Good Pub Guide and had a brief discussion on these points.I wasn't given a definitive answer, though when I posed the question what would happen if we decided not to pay the 'contribution' I was  informed that unfortunately we would not be included in next years guide.Therein lies the rub.
He explained that various added value features were to be  introduced including  an smart phone application which would guide prospective customers to the nearest Good Pub Guide entry.I got the impression that this was going to be a free application,its not you have to pay for it. In addition the GPG website was to be upgraded with improved interactive features.

Chef wondered if the Good Beer Guide would follow suit.I was verbally informed that the charge for inclusion in this publication will be £95 (though we havent been informed in writing as yet).This could have a  more far reaching impact for example on the trade generated for niche real ale pubs that dont perhaps have an advertising budget,or make shedloads of cash.

The sensible thing for us to do would be to keep schtum,pay up and continue to enjoy the benefits of being in the Guide, secure in the knowledge that the majority of the readership will have no idea of the significant change in direction.
I'm torn and just feel a bit sad that perhaps this the end of an era.
What do you think we should do?

The Good Beer Guide is published by CAMRA they have in fact confirmed that they have no plans to introduce a charge for inclusion.


Wally B said...

I'd be tempted to tell them to shove it. However, if the inclusion helps generate custom, I'd have to bite my tongue and pay up. It smacks of blackmail to me, a great Northern Riever tradition.

kitchen princess said...

I think the last Good Pub guide we bought is years old, since getting an internet connection at home all those moons ago all research is done online. I'd wonde what kind of volume they shift now.

Grazing Kate said...

hmmm, they are online and they have an iphone app. Might generate many customers, especially non-locals. I want to say, out of principle,to not pay, but then again as a customer I've always assumed that pubs paid to be in the guide anyway. So the customers aren't going to think any the worse of you.


  You know what I’m unexpectedly missing in this weirdest of all runs up to Christmas? The drop ins from friends ,family, suppliers, custom...

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