In an event in London today, Games organisers Locog, will take control of the Olympic Village site, while announcing details for the opening and closing ceremonies. However 86 per cent of businesses have taken no steps to prepare themselves for the Olympics, according to People 1st's State of the Nation 2011 report.
Almost three quarters of businesses felt customer service in particular needed to be improved if they were to take account of the opportunities the Games would undoubtedly provide.
£2bn in tourism
Sharon Glancy, director of the People 1st Training Company, said if these benefits were to be felt it was essential businesses did more to prepare.
"Half a million people are expected to arrive in the UK for the Games and they are predicted to generate £2bn in tourism during and after the Games. With only six months to go and the challenge clear, businesses need to ask themselves if they are ready for a surge in international guests in the short term and a steady increase in local tourism for the period immediately after the Games,” she said.
One aspect of preparation that People 1st advice companies to consider is in customer service with the training provider adapting WorldHost, a customer service training programme developed in Canada and used successfully at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, for use in Britian training up staff including some working with local authorities in Windsor and Maidenhead and North Tyneside.
Sandie Dawe, chief executive at Britain's national tourism agency VisitBritain, echoed the view that businesses should be preparing now as the tourism benefits would really begin to kick in as the six month milestone passes.
"While the lighting of the cauldron to mark the beginning of the Olympic Games is a highly anticipated moment, we recognise it is also a time when four billion viewers around the globe will turn their attention to London - and Britain," she said.
"This is our chance to shine. An opportunity for every village, town and city in the land to play its part in ensuring we make London 2012 much more than a great sporting event, turning this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity into something that will have long-term benefits for tourism across the whole of the UK and help secure economic growth in the future,” Dawe added.
Hospitality businesses in the capital, particularly hotels and restaurants, have also been advised to plan how they will operate their transport needs around getting staff to work and deliveries during the Olympics. Transport for London (TfL) has suggested companies consult the Olympic Route Network, which may mean road closures or consider out of hour deliveries.
TfL is also offering workshops for small and medium sized businesses. BigHospitality spoke to Mark Evers, TfL's Director of London 2012 Games Transport about specific advice for hospitality businesses. You can see a video of the interview on Wednesday 1 February on BigHospitality.