Happy New Year: Why hospitality businesses should be confident about 2013

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hospitality guild, Olympic games

As a bumper 2012 has drawn to a close, 2013 could be the year that hospitality businesses capitalise on Britain's enhanced reputation
As a bumper 2012 has drawn to a close, 2013 could be the year that hospitality businesses capitalise on Britain's enhanced reputation
Despite fears of an uneventful 2013 being a dead year for business, a number of leading hospitality and tourism bodies have given reasons for restaurant, hotel and bar operators to remain optimistic, insisting that the next 12 months could be even more successful than the last.

Following a 2012 calendar packed full of once-in-a-lifetime events, business confidence has fallen to the lowest level for 20 years.​But the British Hospitality Association (BHA) believes last year’s national events have in fact provided a solid foundation on which hospitality operators should approach the coming year with confidence and enthusiasm.

The BHA’s chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “We must aim to capitalize on the visibility that the London 2012 Olympics gave us and be recognized as a major competitor in the global marketplace.

“2013 will be the time to start actively realising our ambitions, and crucial to our on-going success is the need to invest in our best resource, our young people.”

This optimism was seconded by national tourism agency VisitBritain, which predicts that the volume of international tourists to Britain will grow by 3 per cent next year,​meaning almost one million extra visitors will come to the UK.

Best of Britain

Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain said: “While 2012 had the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Games, next year will offer visitors a broader taste of what makes Britain one of the most visited destinations in the world.

“Whether it’s relaxing in our countryside, indulging in our food, culture and heritage, or taking in a sporting or musical event, no matter what type of travellers you are or what tastes you have, there are plenty of experiences to enjoy in Britain next year.”

Meanwhile, foodservice consultancy Horizons has been quick to point out that last year’s events didn’t actually bring the financial benefits that many hospitality businesses had been led to expect.

Getting in contact with us on LinkedIn,​Horizons said: “We feel the concept of 2013 being 'empty' seems odd given that the key 2012 events didn't deliver for the industry as a whole.

“The Diamond Jubilee weekend wasn’t great for restaurants (if OK for pubs); the weather was atrocious and kept people at home; and the Olympic Games had a negative impact on many operators​(other than those based in special locations inside the Olympic venues). 

“All in all, this year's events have provided nothing special - so why should next year suffer in comparison?”

Economic growth

Drilling down into an economic forecast for 2013, the Forum of Private Business has revealed that, while the double-dip recession of 2012 was tough, 2013 should get better - but only marginally so.

The Forum’s economics expert Professor Philip Whyman said: “2012 was another difficult year – GDP growth flatlined, with the economy experiencing the double-dip recession.

“Warnings have been given that the possibility of an unprecedented ‘triple-dip’ recession may arise if the economy has again slumped over the final period of 2012 and first half of 2013, with a weak recovery thereafter.

“Given the lack of budgetary stimulus and the fragile state of the UK economy, I expect the UK economy to grow by less than 1 per cent next year.”

Hospitality Guild

Suzy Jackson, executive director of the 2012-established Hospitality Guild, concluded that the organisation envisages a positive year ahead for the industry, so long as businesses are unified in their approach to recruitment and training.

“Last year threw the UK’s hospitality industry into the world’s spotlight and we did ourselves proud,” said Jackson. “The men and women working in hotels, bars, restaurants and throughout hospitality gave visitors a great experience and worked hard to make summer 2012 a success.

“The industry came together again to call for one voice for training and development and the Hospitality Guild was created as the answer.

“It’s been a whirlwind year. We’ve garnered support from all corners of the industry and we head into the new year with 23 wonderful partner organisations and a plethora of high-profile supporters all across the country.

“We’ve risen to the challenge of increasing recruitment in Asian and Oriental restaurants with the creation of five centres of excellence to support unemployed people in getting the skills and experience to work for a leading employer in this sector.

Sticking together

“Looking forward to 2013 gives the Hospitality Guild huge excitement:

  • We’ll launch the Hospitality Guild web portal; a single marketplace for employers, individuals and training providers which will showcase a wealth of information and guidance about skills and professional development.
  • We’ll focus on building strong relationships with employers to help them achieve best practice in training, development and retention which will help employers, their people and the wider economy.
  • We’ll open the doors to Hospitality House.​Donated rent-free by McDonalds, Hospitality House will be the UK hospitality industry’s state of the art training and meeting hub. It will act as a symbol of the industry’s unity and belief in its people.

“It’s been a fantastic journey so far and we’d like to thank everybody who has helped us along the way. Let’s stick together and make 2013 another wonderful year for hospitality.”

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