News of the Week: Leisure & Hospitality special

With clients in the leisure and hospitality sector, the Lightbulb Leadership Solutions team always keep an eye out for interesting news, analysis and opinion pieces from the industry. The past month has seen various developments cause a stir, such as the decision to expand London Heathrow Airport and, of course, Brexit. 

We’ve selected some of the top stories, analysis and reports that have sparked conversation and debate in our offices. 

Hospitality welcomes Government decision on Heathrow

Big Hospitality

Let’s start with some good news for the hospitality sector. After years of uncertainty, it was yesterday announced that the Government has approved plans for a third runway at Heathrow. Reports have suggested that should all plans go ahead, the runway would open in 2025 and welcome up to 260,000 more flights a year, up from the current 480,000 to a total of 740,000 annually. Hospitality associations have welcomed the decision, saying it proves Britain is open to visitors and tourism, and would help drive up the country’s growth, especially in light of uncertainty over the future of Brexit. However, before our friends in the hospitality and leisure industry get too excited, the decision on the runway is not final as the plans still need legal approval and there will certainly be challenges from several groups and surrounding councils. We’ll be keeping a close eye on any developments.

Premier Inn tops consumer hotel chain survey

The Caterer

A huge congratulations goes out to all of the staff at Premier Inn following news the hotel has topped a survey of hotel chains for cleanliness, comfort and the standards of the bedroom and bathroom. In the survey of 4,000 Which? members, Premier Inn was recognised for offering a “first class experience” at “very competitive prices”. On the flipside, Which? members found Britannia to be the hotel chain that performs the worst, describing it as “very basic” and “in need of updating”. The survey found other high performing chains were Best Western, Holiday Inn, Ibis and Travelodge, whereas Ramada and Copthorne languished at the bottom with Britannia with a 55% and 60% score respectively. While these surveys can be disappointing for the chains deemed as underperforming, it provides an excellent opportunity for them to review their operations and make the necessary improvements that will position them closer to the top of the list next time. 

Debate on impact of UK leaving the EU on UK tourism

British Hospitality Association

This month saw a lively and incredibly interesting debate discussing the impact of leaving the EU on tourism take place in Parliament. Nigel Huddleston MP, co-chair of the APPG for the visitor economy, called the debate at the request of the British Hospitality Association and the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT. In the debate, Huddleston stated it was wrong to assume Brexit and the weak pound would work to bolster both domestic and inbound tourism sectors, especially when you consider more than 60% of overseas holiday visitors and in excess of 70% of business visitors to the UK last year are from the EU. Other themes discussed in the debate was the prospect of cutting VAT on tourism, which was raised by multiple MPs, as well as migration and the vital contribution of EU workers to the tourism industry. As is the case with a number of industries, there is great concern about the effects Brexit will have on business and we’ll be watching to see what incentives, if any, the government offers to bolster our tourism industry. 

How travel & hospitality brands can compete in an age of digital reviews

IT Pro Portal

Arguably one of the biggest changes for travel and hospitality brands over the past decade is the rise of review and comparison websites. Not only that, vast numbers of people now take to social media to talk about their holidays or hotel stays, meaning that a positive customer service experience can often make or break businesses. According to Deloitte, 81% of travel business shopping baskets are being abandoned versus 68% across other types of retail. The reason is likely to be that customers have shopped around and found a better deal, but it’s also down to the brands lacking customer loyalty. This insightful article provides tips for hospitality businesses to become part of the conversation and establish strong customer connections. By taking control of the quality of customer experiences, businesses can differentiate from competitors and win the hearts of people. 

And finally…

Hotel workers reveal the shocking industry secrets that will make you think twice about checking in

Daily Mail

As much as we take anonymous online contributions with a pinch of salt, we were (morbidly) intrigued by some of the answers provided on Quora to the question: “What are some things hotel staff won’t tell you?” At the time of publication, there had been more than 50 responses on the thread with hotel workers coming forward to reveal some of the shocking things they’ve encountered and the insider knowledge they keep from guests. Some ‘highlights’ include encountering dead bodies, questionable cleaning practices and the ugly truth about throw pillows. Whether you consider this insider knowledge a blessing or a curse, one thing is for sure, you won’t forget it the next time you check-in.  

Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for our regular news updates covering a wide range of industries. If you have any questions or want to find out more about us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Lightbulb Leadership Solutions team today. 

Fiona McKay