Hotels and hospitality industry – uncertainty or opportunity?
8th October 2018 by Fiona Hotston Moore
Suddenly we find ourselves in October and whilst we enjoy the autumnal colours we are also facing a time of economic uncertainty with, as yet, no deal reached on Brexit, a backdrop of increasing inflation and an unexpected hike in the budget deficit.
So, what are the key challenges and opportunities facing our local hospitality sector? (Bearing in mind that many of the opportunities are also a threat to the complacent business owner).
Selling the story and not just a bed
Customers are looking for a unique experience and not just a bed to sleep on. Visitors to East Anglia want to experience local sights and attractions and the canny hotelier will ensure their hotel is part of the local cultural experience.
Home sharing has entered the sector with Airbnb having a significant impact on the hotel and holiday lettings market and even the larger hotel chains looking to join the home sharing market. Independent hotels will need to compete in terms of both the guest experience and price.
A continuing appetite by customers for slick and innovative technology
Guests are looking for time effective solutions from virtual tours, booking online, through to check ins and keyless room entry. Social media is a key tool in attracting guests but a poor review can have disastrous consequences. Businesses must actively manage their online presence.
Over the last year the industry has felt the impact of food and beverage price inflations as well as increasing wage costs. Unfortunately, it is anticipated whether a deal is achieved or not, Brexit will drive up the costs of food and labour significantly. The planned changes to immigration will mean that EU migrants no longer receive preferential treatment. Skilled migrants are expected to be preferred over the less skilled labour which is key to the hospitality industry. The resultant shortage of labour is likely to fuel the increase in wage costs.
Unfortunately, no business can influence the British weather. However, the exceptional summer in 2018 will have boosted the UK hotel and leisure industry both this year and is likely to boost advance bookings for 2019.
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