Confidence returns to UK hospitality sector

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hotel

Confidence is on the way up and growth is forecast for 2014
Confidence is on the way up and growth is forecast for 2014
Confidence is returning to the UK hotel industry, with over half of firms reporting improved sales and profits in recent years, according to market analysts Plimsoll.

Plimsoll analysed 1000 hospitality firms in the UK and found that 519 increased sales over the past two years, by an average of 2.2%.

It added that further opportunity awaited those who knew where to look, pointing out that the leading 45 hospitality firms in the UK had increased sales by over 8% over the past two years and now sell on average £12m per year.

David Pattison, Plimsoll’s senior analyst, said: “It really is essential that businesses look for areas of growth in the market and see how they can keep up with the leaders.

“These 45trail-blazing firms are heading-up the new direction of the market and the other companies will take note of those 45 companies. With salaries up and gross margins down, it’s clear as costs grow then sales need to follow suit.”

Global growth

Plimsoll’s findings reflect those of global analyst EY, which published its Global Hospitality Insights Top Thoughts for 2014 report yesterday and predicted solid financial performance from the hospitality sector in 2014.

“In general, we expect 2014 to be a signature year for the hotel industry,” said Michael Fishbin, New York-based head of EY’s Global Hospitality practice.

EY said spend by two groups – millennial and Chinese travellers – would drive worldwide hospitality performance in coming years.

It pointed out that although 40 per cent of millennials – anyone born between 1980 and 2000 – are yet to enter full-time employment, the group already accounts for one-third of all business travel expenses, and is expected to account for half of the market within the next five years.

This is driving hoteliers to modify their services and amenities to suit millennials' priorities -  value, innovation, immediacy, convenience and mobility.

“Everything from booking applications for your smartphone to room service ordered from in-room tablets and expanded fee-based loyalty programs designed to maximize the stay experience are being put on the table by hoteliers looking to capture the millennial dollar,” said Fishbin.

Chinese growth

However, Chinese tourists could outpace even millennials in terms of travel spend in coming years.

In 2012, 83m Chinese travelled outside the mainland, spending over US$100 billion worldwide. By 2020, an estimated 200m Chinese residents are expected to travel outside the mainland.

According to figures from UK tourist board VisitBritain, China tourism spend in the UK was up 132 percent year-on-year to £181m in the first half of 2013.

The government aims to increase this further, with a campaign targeting Chinese tourists​ to be launched in Spring 2014. Led by VisitBritain, the campaign aims to attract 650,000 Chinese visits a year by 2020, worth £1.1bn annually. 

Ministers have also pledged to simplify visa rules​ for Chinese tourists.

Related topics: Business, Hotels, Trends & Reports

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