Obstacles and opportunities in hospitality – the challenges for hotels post-Covid

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Abstract style illustration depicting printed circuit board components with a challenge concept.

Despite restrictions being lifted since the 19th of July in the UK, the industry continues to face new challenges as we continue to work alongside Covid-19.

Not being able to operate efficiently has definitely been the hardest hit. Out of it developed a chain of obstacles complicating a smooth return back to business.

We caught up with Sally Beck, Royal Lancaster London to look at some of their challenges:

Staff shortage

Staffing is one of the clearest problems. During Covid-19, many employees left to find work in other sectors. Additionally, Brexit lead to a loss of a third of the non-UK workforce in the sector. Now, that events, conventions and meetings are happening again, a gap has to be filled. According to the Venue Insight Research Report published by the Meetings Industry Association, 9 out of 10 businesses are actively recruiting. This is mainly waiting staff and receptionists. To solve this problem as soon as possible, businesses have decided to increase wages. This is suggested by nearly three-quarters of businesses.

Supply chains have suffered

As events started to happen again, it turned out that the supply chains would create another challenge. Again, 9 in 10 businesses have experienced difficulties concerning their supply chains and additionally, increasing costs. hotels are having to limit banquet options and food menus it seems rather difficult to come back confident after Covid. Despite people being double vaccinated, hotels sticking to sanitation, separation and frequent checks to keep everyone safe.

Sally Beck of the Royal Lancaster London Hotel said out that “efficient communication within the supply chain is more important than ever and decisions about menu choices have to be made early.” Additionally, they have purchased freezers and are able to switch menu choices for meat on short notice.

Starting successfully

Social distancing measures as “Plan B” seems to discomfort some clients, but are necessary and assure nervous clients safety. To tackle this issue, the MIA offers a package of reopening assistance including the “We’re Good To Go” initiative in cooperation with VisitEngland. The standard which can be acquired demonstrates that the business confines with public health guidelines and therefore can establish a basis of trust. Yet, confidence in hosting events comes back more and more. The Royal Lancaster London enquiries rose up to 80-90 per week, compared to 50-60 before. Sally says, “trusted relationships seem to be key to businesses coming back on their feet.”  

Upcoming events for 2022 like the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Festival UK raise the industry’s hopes for recovery. Despite (international) travel numbers being lower than in pre-Covid times, there is hope in so-called hybrid solutions, “our future”, as Sally describes it. Offering more locally planned events with virtual attendance options for those not travelling.

Upcoming events for 2022 like the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Festival UK raise the industry’s hopes for recovery. Despite (international) travel numbers being lower than in pre-Covid times, there is hope in so-called hybrid solutions, “our future”, as Sally describes it. Offering more locally planned events with virtual attendance options for those not travelling. “To support the future of virtual and hybrid events, our virtual studio has been moved from the Westbourne Suite to the 19th floor and is now a permanent part of toolkit. Sally finishes with “Clients are really pleased with our offering. Really pleased with our diverse offering. For those that can or can’t travel we are equipped for any eventuality.”

Brexit

Brexit can be seen as an opportunity by forcing foreign companies to rely on local event planners to reduce costs for events in the UK. The positive forecasts set a positive and energized mood after the daunting months of Covid, exactly what the industry needs.