As 2022 comes to a close, we decided to do a round-up on the first “normal” year since the pandemic. We had a look at some of the emerging market trends and how the hospitality industry is dealing with the challenges of rising costs and staff shortages.
Barclays published a report on the next challenge for hospitality (you can read it here) that gave a comprehensive summary of what issues the sector is facing. Here are the key takeaways from the report:
More than 9 out of 10 hospitality businesses said they were confident of growth this year*
Profit levels are largely returning to those seen pre-pandemic, with holiday and caravan parks recovering particularly well*
Many businesses are finding new ways to attract applicants, including introducing bonuses or improving shift rotas*
One of the emerging trends as we came out of the pandemic was the customer demand for premium experiences.
As profitability recovers and confidence in the industry remains strong, a lot of businesses have been investing in their accommodation to level up their offering.
Another trend noted in the report was the increase in accommodation providers sourcing local products for their welcome hampers or menu.
It is a great way to offer guests something different, memorable and unique. You can help guests make the most of their stay by providing local knowledge on activities, restaurants or attractions.
A hot topic at the moment is personalising your guests' experience. This can help provide a memorable and smooth stay but also makes your guests feel like you have paid attention to their needs.
Despite the economic uncertainty and cost increases, the UK hospitality market is reporting some very positive trends. Recently, Boutique Hotelier reported that UK hotel occupancy had improved significantly in 2022 - London in particular showing a remarkable rebound over the last seven months.
For self catering accommodation, the Sykes 2022 Staycation Index gives some indication of the trends heading into 2023, and it's looking good! The graphic below picks out some of the key facts from the index.
We reached out to some of our customers and partners to get an idea of how the year had been for them and what they were expecting heading into 2023.
A Luxury Lake District Hotel
Summer 2022 returned to normality in many respects, international travellers emerged, taking in the sights of this magnificent county, and those from these shores deciding to venture further afield. making up for lost time to visit those places they have dreamed of or simply love year after year. Of course we also looked after our regular guests, as well as new purveyors of Storrs Hall.
The winter looks interesting, Christmas and New Year were sold out at the beginning of the year, with a few rooms being lost, almost immediately resold. Twixmas is also gathering pace, and I suspect will be full. Come the 2nd of January, we’ll take a well-earned break, but take the opportunity to do some major works with a new kitchen being built, and then a 2nd restaurant for more informal casual dining. There after the market we sit in appears to be in reasonable shape in terms of the economic impact of interest rates, energy prices, cost of living available disposable income, continuing to make use of the hotel and its services.
That’s not to say challenges are not afoot, costs continuing to rise, human resource, energy management, development for the future….I feel sure we’ll come through the other side fitter, stronger, eager to deliver great hospitality, service and experiences.
- Andrew Nicholson, General Manager of Storrs Hall
Award Winning Self-Catering Accommodation
2022 has been a welcome return to some kind of normality after the troubles of the previous Covid years. Guests are once again appreciating what the UK and the Eden Valley has to offer, particularly without the stress of air travel, but are looking for something different.
For us having the right strategic business partners is vital, so quality local products from Out of Eden, Ginger Bakers and Kennedys chocolates, for example, are really important in delivering a quality offer to our guests. We have seen an increase in the number of repeats in 2022, as once people discover the Eden Valley they fall in love with it, for its beauty and tranquility, and this is continuing into 2023 with forward bookings.
As we move ahead into more hospitality headwinds in 2023 with the cost of living crisis, we are expecting people to become even more discerning on how they spend their leisure money, but are confident that they will still want to take holidays, although increasingly this may be more frequent shorter breaks. There are plenty of accommodation choices in the market for guests, to suit every budget, but the question that all guests will be asking is am I getting value for my money from the quality of the offer I have been given. The businesses that succeed will deliver on both.
- Carole Higginbottom
Guest House on The Coast to Coast Path
How has 2022 been from a business perspective?
2022 saw the return of overseas visitors to our Bed and Breakfast in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. We are located on the famous Coast to Coast Path as well as other long distance paths, which attracts many walkers from all over the world as well as the UK, from early April to mid October. Our excellent and unique location, along with the service and facilities we offer, has meant we have been well over 95% booked out throughout the season for 1-2 night stays! We have welcomed guests from the USA, Australia, NZ, and increasing numbers from Europe including Germany, Holland and Belgium. Nearby wedding locations also bring guests for longer stays throughout the year, as well as general visitors to the area.
Looking forward, do you have any predictions/thoughts on the 2023 season?
The winter season is generally quieter giving us chance to carry out general maintenance, repairs and decorating. There is also the challenge of rising living costs to face and deal with. However, the C2C trail, recently given National Trail status, is a life changing challenge that is incredibly popular! It is like a ‘bucket list’ experience that more and more people are undertaking! So for us in our great location, next year’s dairy is very busy already! Some months .. April, May June and September are almost fully booked already and new requests continuing to come in regularly! Although the many one night stays are very hard work, our business is looking extremely strong for 2023, with no signs of slowing down!
- Chrissie and Joe Halsall
Destination Management Organisation for the Lake District, Cumbria
Many tourism businesses have experienced a mixed summer, and with rising costs at the forefront of their minds, it’s crucial that we continue to fight hard to support our visitor economy and inspire all-year-round bookings.
Our recently launched Winter Marketing Campaign is geared towards being as proactive as possible to encourage overnight stays and extend the season, in order to ensure that Lake District, Cumbria is the number one choice for visitors this winter.
- Rachel Tyson, Head of Partnerships & Projects at Cumbria Tourism
You can also find more context about Cumbria Tourism’s Winter Marketing Campaign here.
*Saul, M (2022) UK hospitality's next challenge. Barclays Corporate Banking (Online Report: https://www.barclayscorporate.com/content/dam/barclayscorporate-com/documents/insights/Industry-expertise-22/HL-Report-2022.pdf)
Monk, Z (2022) Hotel trading buoyed by business travel and flexible working trends. Boutique Hotelier (Online Article: https://www.boutiquehotelier.com/hotel-occupancy/)