Your latest instalment of articles and opinions from across the hospitality sector.
Predictions are never easy, especially about the future, and COVID has shown you can never rule anything out. As we move into 2021, we wanted to make our Annual Predictions as to what the Hotels, Hospitality and Leisure sectors can expect to see in the coming year:
- Recovery – this will be the single biggest theme for one of the hardest hit sectors as we slowly emerge from our homes, duly vaccinated, to survey the wreckage COVID has wreaked. Whilst a lot of businesses will sadly not have survived, for those that do the short term will be dictated by operational restrictions as lockdown and social distancing measures are relaxed and then (hopefully) disappear.
- Change – many, many shops and retail units, offices, hotels and hospitality businesses will need to be re-purposed / converted to alternate use as a result of the pandemic and new consumer and working habits. The world has changed in what it wants and bricks and mortar are going to need to adapt or be demolished.
- ESG – expect to see these three letters appear everywhere. They will become part of the day-to-day of every investment decision, procurement process, supply chain and resilience review, customer expectation, guest offering and brand marketing. The growing theme of "build back better" as a result of COVID has super-charged the importance of Environmental, Social and Governance factors.
- Wellbeing – hot on the heels of ESG, and after one of the most stressful years on record, mental and physical wellbeing is a top priority for many people. Luxury and high-end lifestyle hotels seem likely candidates to benefit. Watch out for lots of "digital detox" promotions.
- Bleisure – at the other end of the spectrum, the blurring of work and home, the expectation of being constantly available whilst location ceases to be so relevant will result in a lot more trips where work and leisure are combined – whether that's a few days of R&R tagged on to a work trip or a "working holiday" combining the beach and logging in and out of work.
- Deals – last year we predicted a mega merger was imminent and it looked like we were right when rumours of a merger between Accor and IHG circulated. Instead, we saw Accor's lifestyle business combine with Ennismore. We expect the market to undergo great change in 2021 with the Big 5 of IHG, Hilton, Accor, Marriott and Hyatt becoming 4 or swallowing up lots of smaller players. More hotels will change hands than usual due to the strain of the pandemic.
- Travel Boom – a boom in leisure travel in H2 2021 is coming as the pandemic dies out around the world and people want to get away. Baby boomers, who are in the first wave of the vaccination programs, are already booking their holidays and as more people are vaccinated the demand will only increase.
- TravelTech – we predicted last year that TravelTech will continue to boom and we still believe this. Those B2B and SaaS businesses with a clear and easy to use mobile app which bring together fragmented components of the industry stand to benefit from the increased travel.
- Brexit Impact – the impact of Brexit restrictions on the availability of EU labour and points-based UK visa requirements will be felt profoundly by the Hotels, Hospitality and Leisure sector in the UK throughout 2021 (and for years to come).
- Space travel – although still cost-prohibitive to most, 2021 will be the year that space tourism finally takes off for the wealthy few.
- Tax breaks – in July 2020, the UK Chancellor introduced a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT for certain supplies in the hospitality sector. This is due to expire at the end of March 2021 but we predict further measures, possibly including lower business rates, will be introduced to encourage overseas visitors.
Did you know?
Michelin has just awarded a French vegan restaurant a Michelin star for the first time…
Emirates launches vaccine passport app to collate flyer data on pre-flight testing and COVID-19 jab
Eurostar could be bankrupt before summer
Is Norwegian Air's cutback the end of low-cost international flights?
TUI sees a bookings surge by baby boomers confident about the vaccines
Delta, United permanently eliminate international change fees
(Travel and Leisure)
Luxury hotels set to benefit from Vacayz
First space tourism rocket of the year launched by Blue Origin
Prime Minister urged to intervene over delay in hospitality grant payments