Why Innovation and Flexibility are the Key to Catering For Changing Leisure Demand Following the General Election

Monday 31st July 2017

Political uncertainty inevitably results in a degree of uncertainty among consumers and we need look no further than the recent General Election for evidence of this.

The snap election called by Theresa May resulted in one of the biggest voting turn-outs for decades, which highlights just how invested the public was in political developments.

Like the Brexit vote last year, much was made of the effect on the general public, with speculation about how it would affect the spending of disposable income – something that is of particular interest to the leisure and hospitality sector.


Spending patterns

Last year, we saw how pubs fared better than predicted following the decision to leave the EU, which allowed them to move ahead and more effectively plan and refine business models with increased certainty.

We now find ourselves in the same situation, with a result that surprised many people and left organisations in all industries unsure of their next steps.

As before, it will be up to operators to forge a path of certainty and adapt to cater for consumer demand. Leisure and hospitality spending generally remains firm even in the mist of political uncertainty – as was evidenced by a rise in spending in pubs and restaurants last July, despite post-Brexit warnings.


History repeating?

Time will tell whether we see the same pattern in 2017, but a similar strategy will need to be employed by leisure operators to take advantage of any shift in behaviour or continuation of existing trends.

The UK is a genuine world leader in leisure and hospitality and operators have consistently proven themselves to be adaptable, agile and resilient in the face of change.

On the other side of the counter, we have continually seen how the habitual and prioritised nature of spending on eating and drinking continues to prevail.

For many months now, a trend towards experiences has been witnessed, with consumers increasing their spending on eating and drinking out over the ownership of shop-bought products.

As such, operators need to remain innovative and flexible to cater for changing demand patterns as economic uncertainty takes its toll on discretionary spending.

With the Brexit process still very much on course, much will be made of the effect on both consumer pockets and operator margins.

While the air of certainty prevails, those who act fast to innovative and – most importantly – be flexible will be the ones to benefit in the months ahead.


Paul Newman is a Partner and Head of Leisure and Hospitality at RSM, the global audit, tax and consulting services provider. To contact Paul, call 02032018637 or email him here. For more information on RSM and its range of services and sectors, visit www.rsmuk.com.


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