The hospitality industry celebrates Eat Out to Help Out success

After being forced to follow strict lockdown guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of the hospitality industry looked uncertain. Even as lockdown measures began to ease around the UK and restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars were encouraged to re-open, the British public at first seemed hesitant to begin dining and drinking in public once again. Luckily, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme which began on the 3rd of August has proven to be a huge success and has breathed new energy into the UK hospitality industry.

It is estimated that in the first two weeks of the scheme alone, 35 million discount meals were served. In fact, restaurant bookings for Monday – Wednesday in August were significantly higher than restaurants bookings for weekends in July,

The scheme, which runs throughout August, was introduced to encourage consumers to dine out once again after months of being told to stay home. The scheme is open to chain and independent restaurants alike and gives food outlets the opportunity to offer 50% off food and soft drinks from Monday – Wednesday, to a maximum limit of £10 per person. The government has pledged to subsidise the 50% discount and has so far received over 48,000 claims from businesses.

Over 85,000 restaurants are taking part in the scheme, which was introduced in addition to the government’s plan to cut value-added tax for the hospitality industry from 20% to 5% until mid-January. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is estimated to cost taxpayers around £500 million, though it was arguably needed to save the hospitality industry after months of lockdown.

Rishi Sunak has been delighted with the success of the scheme so far and released the following statement: “Today’s figures show that Britain is eating out to help out — with at least 35m meals served up in the first two weeks alone, that is equivalent to over half of the UK taking part and supporting local jobs in the hospitality sector.”

Businesses which were hesitant to take part in the scheme raised concerns about operating with low cash flow due to the wait time to receive reimbursement. Sunak has eased any such concerns, however, by promising food outlets they will be reimbursed for the discount within 5 days of claiming.

As the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has proven, there is still a lot of life in the UK’s hospitality industry and there are plenty of opportunities available. If you would like to work within hospitality or progress your hospitality career, contact expert recruiters JWR today.

Why some hotels are thriving despite coronavirus

The recent coronavirus pandemic has meant that some hotels have been seriously struggling. With all hotels closed for months, many have lost significant profits. However, now that hotels are fully reopened, some establishments are seeing a great influx of guests. To learn more about how these hotels are thriving despite the pandemic, continue reading.

Rise of staycations

Restricted travel to foreign countries has meant that many Brits are looking for a ‘staycation.’ This essentially involves enjoying a holiday in your own country. While this isn’t great news for airlines, it is fantastic for British hotels looking to bring back customers. Hotels who have done particularly well have emphasised how fun and enjoyable a staycation can be, while enticing customers to stay with them. Hotels with great locations, such as by the sea, in the countryside or in city centres have highlighted the benefits of their local area, showing guests that they can still feel like they’re on holiday in this country.

Great marketing

Hotels who are now thriving once more have put a lot of effort into their marketing campaigns to tempt customers to book with them. Many have uploaded videos on to social media showing the changes that they have made to their establishments, or highlighting the one-way system they have in place. Furthermore, some hotels have created competitions on social media sites to allow guests to win a free stay. Not only does this offer one lucky guest a fantastic experience, but it also generates a buzz around the hotel, encouraging other social media users to view the page.

Increased safety precautions

Those hotels which have shown a serious attitude to safety precautions have also seen a rise in guests. Many hotels have announced more stringent cleaning measures, with hand sanitising stations dotted around the premises. Hotels with eating facilities have also changed to table service only, removing the risk of infection that buffets can pose. Some hotels have taken safety measures to the next level by installing thermal cameras in the building. These can spot if someone has a high temperature and therefore could be possibly ill. This gives great peace of mind to both customers and staff, meaning that hotels can attract more customers to stay. Unfortunately, the hotel industry has been affected by the pandemic, but it is possible for hotels to bounce back and be profitable once again.

For regular industry updates and advice on hospitality recruitment, contact us at JW Recruitment today.

£14m Hotel Recovery Programme welcomed in Scotland, but warnings from experts remain

A £14m hotel recovery programme has been announced by the Scottish government in a bid to help support the tourism industry until next summer.

The package has been designed to secure up to 3,000 jobs in large hotels throughout the winter season, with eligible businesses being able to apply for individual grants of up to £250,000.

VisitScotland has also announced it will provide £1m in grants to self-catering businesses which are unable to receive any other government support. Companies which meet the criteria will be eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said of the hotel recovery programme: “Its core purpose will be to protect larger hotels, which have been badly affected by the events of the recent months.

“This is also about looking forward and successful applicants will be offered wraparound support to help strengthen their companies for the future.”

Concerns for the hotel industry remain

While news of the programme was warmly received, experts have warned that it won’t be enough in the long term. There are still fears that without other forms of longer-term support in the future, many hotels in Scotland will remain at risk of being forced to shut their doors permanently, resulting in thousands of people losing their jobs.

Current industry figures suggest the hotel sector supports around 46,000 jobs in Scotland.

Willie Macleod, UKHospitality’s executive director for Scotland, said: “The reality is that any programme of recovery intended to keep hotels in Scotland open and staff in jobs, will need to be much bigger and much more wide-ranging.

“It must be hoped that this is an initial step in supporting these businesses and that further resources will be made available in the likely event that the programme is over-subscribed.”

Only 5% of hotels will be supported

UKHospitality estimates that approximately 950 large hotels in Scotland did not qualify for grants which were made available to smaller businesses during the COVID-19 lockdown. As such, they had to meet their average monthly expenses themselves – which in some cases totals £60,000 – despite being shut for the majority of the spring season.

The group has also warned that a budget of £14m will only cover 50 businesses, just 5% of the large hotels in Scotland. Macleod added: “This is not enough to avert the crisis facing the sector.”

For regular industry updates and advice on hospitality recruitment, contact us at JW Recruitment today.