November 5, 2021

Track and Trace is BACK

Track and Trace is BACK

So it appears that track and trace will be part of the government guidance for re-opening. I'm very disappointed, hospitality poured their collective heart into reopening in July 2020, complying with UK government requests and guidance to create some of the safest spaces in the UK. Little good it did with some of the stupid rules that were then brought into play; remember the scenes as everyone turfed out for the 10pm curfew?

The requirement for customers to record their details was adhered to everywhere, through paper and pen, WiFi, Booking and QR solutions. Our own solution ( ended up live in 11,000 locations, checking in 23m guests.

It COULD have been amazing, the ability to quickly ask people to isolate based on where you had recently visited. However, it was not, barely any requests were made for data, I chatted to the Guardian & The Times back in October about the waste of customer and operator effort.

Anyhow. It's back and it'll be announced on 5th April in the Government guidance for reopening. So my suggestion is to embrace it and take it as the opportunity it is.

What the guidance says

From the conference call with DHSC & NHS Test & Trace Policy Team on Friday 26th March, the guidance is as follows:

  • Hospitality venues are legally required to ask ALL visitors and staff to provide their contact details OR to check in with the NHS COVID app. [This is a big change as previously it was only required to be the lead booker or one guest in a party]
  • Hospitality venues should verify that each individual (16+) has checked in using the QR code by reviewing the individual's phone screen.
  • If visitors supply their contact details in advance (eg, through a booking system) they don’t need to sign in again at the venue however they can scan the QR code again if they wish.
  • All members of the group who did  not provide contact details online still need to provide them at the venue or scan the QR code.
  • Hospitality venues MUST take responsible steps to refuse entry to a customer or visitor who does not provide their name and contact details or who has not scanned the QR code.
  • All staff must know and understand the rules, otherwise the business risks being fined for non compliance.


  • This will be for indoors & outdoors including beer gardens and pavements
  • Not necessary for takeaway/click and collect (as before)
  • Data collected as previously: contact information, arrival time and if possible leaving time OR approximate dwell time
  • If requested, data will need to be uploaded as per a template which will be provided in due course
  • Any notification of outbreak would NOT include the business details. Customers will be advised to look out for symptoms.

The official NHS COVID app is getting a refresh and the public again will be asked to download it and scan the NHS QR as they move around businesses. There is a PR campaign imminent to re-engage pre 12th April.

The guidance again requests that the NHS App QR is displayed prominently on entry.

The Opportunity

There is nothing stopping you including an opt-in as the customer checks-in. As per the GDPR this needs to be an affirmative consent (so can't be pre-ticked). We saw last time that the average opt-in rate overall was 26%, this increased significantly for casual dining and pubs.

Our good friend Vic Searl, the head hawk at DataHawk, did a pile of analysis on one of our clients and found that a staggering 41% of customer data were recorded against a normal of around 1.5% of available customers actually making it onto a database. You can read the case study here

Your databases are likely to be decimated from the last 12 months as there's been little opportunity to engage with customers.

Immediate Engagement is the key

We'd recommend that you've absolutely nailed down your engagement campaign to make the most of this period. The guidance is set to last until September and although we expect the summer to be an absolute blinder for trade, there may be a dip to come when it will be necessary to lean on your database.

Airship is ready for action. It's quick and easy to activate and will manage GDPR as well as make it easy for you to submit data to the NHS Test and Trace team on request.

If you have any questions, I can be contacted on 07966796581 or