Digital platform forging cross-industry partnerships
useyourlocal.com is targeting a new phase in its expansion. As well as growing membership amongst consumers who use the site, the UK’s leading digital pub and bar platform is extending its partnerships with both operators and brand owners.
As the business gears up for growth, useyourlocal.com has strengthened its senior team with the appointment of John Botia. With a track record including stints with Heineken, Carlsberg and Scottish & Newcastle (S&N), Botia joins as a director to work alongside managing director Stuart Mills, who founded the business in 2009, and Willie Crawshay, who joined useyourlocal.com as chairman at the start of 2016.
Mills said, “John has joined us at a key point in the growth of useyourlocal.com. There is a huge opportunity to persuade more people to use the pub more often by creating the ‘one stop shop’ online pub portal that consumers tell us they want.
“We have a business model that works – every month, 400,000 visitors search our database of over 75,000 pubs, bars and clubs for news, events, activities and ideas for their perfect night out, and we have only scratched the surface of our potential. Many operators also rely on useyourlocal.com to provide a bespoke website to promote their business.”
While Heineken UK retains a stake in the business, the priority for the senior team is to forge partnerships with operators and brand owners right across the licensed trade. Mills adds, “Heineken UK’s support for useyourlocal.com continues to be invaluable. However, to maximise our appeal across the sector, it’s essential that our independence is transparent.
“Our aim is to grow the useyourlocal.com brand to have the same recognition status in our sector that Just Eat and Rightmove have in theirs. The operational experience of our senior team means that we are calling on groups of all sizes, as well as individual licensees, to work with us to realise the huge potential of online and digital marketing.
“Equally, for brand owners who want to reach pubs and bars, as well as the customers who use them, useyourlocal.com provides a compelling platform for both online advertising and carefully targeted promotions.”
useyourlocal.com was founded in 2009, celebrating the role of local pubs and bars in our communities, and actively encouraging people to visit their local more often by connecting pubs and brands with consumers. It lists 75,000 pubs, bars and clubs. Every month, 400,000 consumers search its database to find out about events, food and drink menus and promotional offers to help them plan their pub visit. Of these, 20,000 members have registered to follow one or more local pubs and receive regular emails from them.
The useyourlocal.com senior team:
- Stuart Mills, founder and managing director: Stuart began his career in media sales, before a change of tack saw him join Newcastle Breweries, the Northern trading arm of Scottish & Newcastle plc, in 2001. After several roles in sales, marketing & finance he secured the support of S&N to launch useyourlocal.com in 2009.
- Willie Crawshay, chairman: After a stint in the army, Willie joined Scottish & Newcastle Breweries as an area manager in 1985. His career at S&N included marketing roles with brands including such as McEwan’s Export, Tartan Special and Newcastle Brown Ale, and 18 months in Hereford leading the HP Bulmer cider business after its purchase by S&N in 2003. He was later managing director of S&N’s on-trade division and then MD of Heineken UK’s pub division, now Star Pubs and Bars. Since leaving Heineken UK he has retrained as an executive coach as well as joining useyourlocal.com.
- John Botia, director: John joined Unilever as a marketing graduate before moving to Scottish & Newcastle as brand manager for Beck’s. He became marketing director after Heineken acquired the UK business, and also worked for Heineken in Mexico, leading the integration of Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma. In 2013 he was appointed managing director of Carlsberg Singapore. He returned to Edinburgh in June 2015, becoming involved in a variety of start-up businesses as well as joining useyourlocal.com.
Notes to editors
- useyourlocal.com was founded in 2009 after founder Stuart Mills won a Dragon’s Den-style competition organised by his then-employer, Scottish & Newcastle. Initially set up as an online hub to allow customers to arrange parcel deliveries to pubs for later collection, the model has evolved into a web-based business that celebrates the role and importance of local pubs and bars in our communities, and encourages people to visit the pub more often.
- With Stuart Mills as managing director, the useyourlocal.com senior management team also includes chairman Willie Crawshay and director John Botia.
- The useyourlocal.com website lists 75,000 pubs, bars and clubs across the UK. Every month, 400,000 consumers search its database to find out about events, food and drink menus and promotional offers to help them plan their pub visit. Pubs can add details of entertainment such as live sport, music or quiz nights, and special offers on food or drink.
- 20,000 useyourlocal.com subscribers have opted to follow one or more local pubs and receive regular notifications when new events, menus or offers are added.
- useyourlocal.com has worked with some of the biggest players in the drinks industry, delivering pub finders and pushing events to its members for pub groups such as Star Pubs & Bars and Wetherspoon, and brands such as Heineken, Coca-Cola and Smirnoff. It also supports charitable industry causes such as PubAid’s World’s Biggest Quiz.