I've been thinking a lot about students recently, probably because it is now exactly 20 years since I became one myself - I know, I know, hard to believe...

Back then we generally rode a positive wave of energy fuelled by Brit Pop, Stella and Marlboro Lights.

The internet was in its infancy, digital technology had not taken over our lives and only show offs had mobile phones.

Most of us left after three years of fun with, yes a little debt, but a feeling of confidence about landing a job of some sort and a generally bright future.

How times have changed.

Students these days have grown up with technology all around them but also to a backdrop of terrorism, recession and people living on the breadline.

It's no wonder that the millennials, as that generation is known, are more careful and considered with how they spend their money and their time.

So with that in mind I was encouraged by research from Epos Now that shows students have been boosting their local economies during freshers week this year.




Its data suggests that students in Cambridge have made the biggest impact, swelling pub and bar revenues by an impressive 16 per cent. Other cities (below) also enjoyed the benefit of students acquainting themselves with one another at local pubs and bars:


Freshers' week rise in pub and bar revenues

Cambridge      16%
Bristol             13%
Nottingham      11%
Oxford             9%
Newcastle        9%
Liverpool         8%
Cardiff            7%
Glasgow          6%
Leeds              6%
Manchester      2%

Epos Now


So despite the changes in the world over the last 20 years, people still need that leisure time.

The key for the hospitality sector is to keep those same people coming back during the rest of the term.

It might prove to be a challenge, for it is not just that tricky millennial generation but the newcomers on the block, known by marketing types as Generation Z.

These are people born somewhere between 1994 to 2010 and, as that timeframe indicates, have known nothing much beyond worldwide recession, terror and general unrest.

They are the ones starting out on adult life and they do so with even greater concerns about debt, employment and the income gap.

Despite that they still need to eat, drink, be merry and meet the people who will stay with them for the best and worst parts of their lives.

That is where pubs come in.

You just have to be more creative than ever to ensure the bumper week that pubs in Cambridge just had is repeated time and time again.

On the flip side, they should make great employees.