How ready is the UK for Olympics hospitality?

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hospitality sector, 2012 summer olympics, Summer olympic games, Boris johnson, London

The countdown begins for the 2012 Games
The countdown begins for the 2012 Games
With exactly one year to go until the London Olympics, the UK is sending out a call to the world to come to these shores next year, but initial figures suggest that the hospitality sector is far from ready to welcome the additional visitors.

In a ceremony to be held in Trafalgar Square this afternoon and broadcast live around the globe, London Mayor Boris Johnson will call on the world to visit the UK next year to be part of the sporting event.

"A year from today the curtain will be lifted on the London Games and I call on the world to come and enjoy what will be the greatest party that London, indeed the planet, has ever seen,” he will say.

“Our stunning venues are almost all complete on time and under budget, and the impact of the Games on this great city of ours is being felt on many fronts. Visitors to London next year will find the atmosphere electrifying, whether they are soaking up the sporting spectacle in the Olympic Park or enjoying the many fantastic events and attractions across the capital. We are set to welcome the world for the best Games in history.”

Preparing for the Olympics

However, the hospitality sector appears to be lagging behind in efforts to prepare this welcome, with very few businesses having embarked on business continuity plans.

According to figures released by London2012 and Transport for London (TfL), out of almost 200 businesses that have so far signed up for free business continuity advice sessions, only five are in the hospitality sector.

The five hotels account for 2,350 employees out of the total 381,256 that have so far signed up. Businesses that have been most proactive in preparing their operations for the Olympics are bankers, lawyers and retailers.

Minimising transport disruptions

The free tools and workshops from London2012 and TfL​ aim to help businesses minimise transport disruptions to their operations during the 2012 Games to ensure that supplies, staff and customers are able to access their premises.

Sessions will be customised for businesses with over 200 employees, while smaller companies can attend free workshops. Topics to be examined include:

  • Optimising deliveries, servicing and freight
  • Planning staff business travel during busy periods
  • Forecasting customer and visitor movements during the Games
  • Tips to help firms maintain service continuity
  • Sharing best practice: assessing what firms are already doing

“With just a year to go until the Games, I urge all businesses, big and small, to visit the website, see if they’re affected and plan ahead to keep on running during the summer of 2012,” said Hugh Sumner, director of transport for the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Businesses can sign up for the free travel advice by e-mailing keeponrunning’at’ or visiting TravelAdviceForBusiness​ for more information.

More information on preparing your hospitality business for the Olympics can be found in our Planning for the 2012 Olympics feature​, which includes details of schedules for the Games and other events, as well as hints and tips on how to market your business and plan for deliveries.

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