British Hospitality Association chief executive Bob Cotton is urging businesses in the industry to invest in staff and their products now to take advantage of the predicted rise in domestic tourism.
With the pound at an all time low against the euro, and issues such as climate change and travel safety forcing people to change their travel habits, the BHA says the industry should be preparing itself now for an increase in custom, not making drastic cuts to save money.
Cotton said: “I have never seen business change so dramatically in the 40 years I’ve been in the industry which is why it is so important to respond to it.
“The only way you’ll benefit from those changes is by continuing to invest in your people and continue to invest in your product.
“Keep training your staff and if you’re cutting staff, don’t cut the ones that are in contact with the customers. If they are on reception for example, make sure they are there at your busiest times, then get them doing other jobs when times are quiet.”
Speaking ahead of a new trade event – Best of Britain and Ireland Travel Trade Forum – aimed at promoting domestic tourism, Cotton said the best way to attract and retain customers is to make it obvious that they are getting value for money.
“Make sure your offer to the customer is value related, not necessarily by cutting prices, but by ensuring they can see they are getting value for money. Whatever level you are aiming at, make it easy for them to see they are getting that value,” he said.
The BHA chief executive said the government also had its part to play in promoting the UK as a worthwhile holiday destination to domestic and overseas visitors.
He said: “So far much of the focus has been on promoting the UK overseas, but they need to switch that focus to the domestic market."
Best of Britain & Ireland 2009 will take place at ExCel on March 26 and 27. For more information visit www.britainandirelandevent.co.uk