The road to nowhere

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The road to nowhere

[Credit: Urlaubstracker on Unsplash]

Whilst some hotels have already reported strong summer occupancies, the delay in England’s roadmap to recovery by four weeks is but another blow for the industry. The spread of the Delta variant is causing concern, and yesterday’s announcement from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could result in billions of lost sales.

Fortunately, hotels can continue to stay open albeit at a reduced capacity. The anticipation for a busy wedding season could still play out given that limitations on attendee numbers will be scrapped, and there’s also great opportunity to attract those travellers unable to holiday abroad. The lack of green travel corridors will nevertheless hurt city centre hotels, of whom rely heavily on international visitors. This dent in summer bookings as a result of the delay will likely roll into the autumn, and I suspect there’ll be some creative marketing campaigns in the second half of this year. 

A real pain point for hoteliers is the impact of sustained restrictions on the workforce, coupled with the looming prospect of furlough ending in September. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics shows that the jobs market is slowly recovering. However, the strongest quarterly increase in the number of vacancies falls within accommodation and food services – two sectors that are reportedly facing a “recruitment crisis”.

Optimistically speaking, the postponement of lifting all social and travel restrictions will give hoteliers extra time to prepare and rebuild their teams ahead of a full reopening. 

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