Leisure and hospitality venues set for a bumper summer

Wednesday 24th May 2017

Simon Mydlowski, leisure and hospitality partner at Gordons, looks at how venues and operators can take advantage of the bumper summer ahead.


The weakened pound has created uncertainty for many businesses and sectors in the UK, but at the same time it has created significant opportunities.

A devalued currency is generally one reason for overseas travellers to visit a country, particularly one with an established tourism base, and the UK looks set to benefit from this in the months ahead.

The latest Barclays Corporate Banking report, entitled Destination UK, shows that the UK remains an attractive tourist destination for both domestic holidaymakers and international visitors alike.


Rules of attraction

On the global front, the weaker pound, combined with the popularity of TV shows about British history and culture, have resulted in a wave of enthusiasm, with 97 per cent of respondents surveyed for the report saying they are interested in visiting the UK or may be interested in the near future.

Considering the average holiday budget is £3,443, inbound tourists are set to provide a strong source of income for the UK hospitality and leisure industry.

Among those in the UK, the increased convenience and value for money of UK holidays is driving more people to explore staycations.

More than half of the British adults surveyed say they intend to choose short breaks in the UK in addition to their main international holidays.

Furthermore, British holidaymakers also have increased budgets for their domestic trips this year, with 30 per cent intending to spend more on leisure activities than they previously have done.


Taking advantage

For the leisure and hospitality industry, there are therefore multiple opportunities to take advantage of the surge in both domestic and international tourism.

Key to this will be considering the wide ranging and varied tastes of all customers, and assessing current service and products offerings.

Accommodation, eating out and shopping remain the big three sources of tourism spending, with the average British visitor spending around £309 on hotels and £152 on food and drink while on a staycation.

For international visitors, exploring the UK’s diverse range of bars, restaurants and cafes remains a major allure, with inbound tourists spending an average of £340 on eating and drinking out.

A consistent source of attraction among both types of tourists is the need for something experience-led from their holiday, with many respondents citing food-led hotels. For operators, it is an opportunity to forge new partnerships where high-quality, locally sourced food can be given centre stage on the menu.

However, food and drink is not the only thing attracting tourists and subsequently not the only thing that requires careful consideration from venue management.

Everything from free Wi-Fi, to transportation, to catering for religious or cultural requirements can help to satisfy the changing preferences among international travellers. For the domestic market, elements and touches that truly showcase the region and location can help to set venues apart from the crowd and enable them to take advantage of the staycation craze.


Evolving tastes

Differences in demographics are also notably contributing to evolving tastes, with younger UK consumers more interested in innovations in the leisure sector. More than a third of 18 to 34-year-olds say they would be more likely to use a bar that has automated drinks dispensing, compared to just six per cent of 55 and overs.

Similarly, younger consumers are also more comfortable with automated ordering in restaurants, with 43 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds saying they would be more likely to use such a restaurant, compared with 14 per cent of over 55s.

As ever, adaptation and evolution are required to take advantage of what looks like a summer boom period in the UK. Offering guests tailored experiences will be key to success for operators in the UK hospitality and leisure sector in 2017 and beyond, and those reluctant to rest on their laurels are set to be the ones who benefit.


If you need legal advice on commercial property matters, including the licensed premises sector, please contact Simon on 01274 202514 or simon.mydlowski@gordonsllp.com. For more information about us please visit www.gordonsllp.com/sectors/leisure-and-hospitality.