Hospitality profits up but zero-hours contracts remain popular, survey finds

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Booking boost: almost six in 10 operators expect increased profits
Booking boost: almost six in 10 operators expect increased profits

Related tags: Cent, Bed and breakfast, Hotel

Business confidence is growing with almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of hotel and bed & breakfast operators reporting an increase in profits over the past 12 months, a survey by business advisers MHA has found.

Almost as many (59 per cent) expected to see an increase in profits over the next 12 months, according to MHA’s latest Travel & Tourism Survey, which gained insights on a number of issues from 110 directors, owner-managers or chief executives in the hotel, guest house, restaurant and pub sectors.

One third (33 per cent) of respondents still employ workers on zero-hours contracts, only slightly lower than the 37 per cent recorded last year.

Meanwhile, the amount of zero-hour contract staff who are working 21+ hours has halved since last year, to 34 per cent.

Andrew Burnham, head of the MHA travel and hospitality sector, said: “These findings are concerning and suggest that hospitality workers on zero hours contracts are suffering through reduced paid hours.”

Online bookings

The survey found that more than a quarter (26 per cent) of hotel and bed and breakfast operators are still unable to take online bookings, despite the growing popularity of the method.

Around 50 per cent of respondents to the annual survey report a year-on-year increase in online bookings and the fact that there has been a 16% increase in the ability to take online bookings direct. 

“This growth in direct transactions is good to see, especially as online booking agents have been increasingly dominating the UK hotel and bed & breakfast sector,” said Burnham

“This trend should lead to a greater online presence and more competitive offerings.”

Green policies

The percentage of companies who have green policies in place has dropped to 65 per cent, down from 82 per cent last year. Meanwhile, 41 per cent were unaware that tax reliefs are available for introduction of such policies.

Burnham said: “This decrease in those with green policies suggests increased financial pressure and, yet, at the same time there appears to be a distinct lack of awareness of the tax reliefs available, which suggests that more publicity is needed to encourage eco-friendly investment.

He added: “A wider lack of investment reflects the position in the economy as a whole, with continued difficulties in raising traditional bank finance – although there are some signs of this position easing.”

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