Month: June 2020

PM 26 June Hospitality reopening update

Posted on

The UKHospitality guidance documents for England, Scotland and Wales, which covers a number of sectors from hotels and caravan parks, through pubs and restaurants to family amusement centres and amusement parks has now been published and is freely available at:

Please be aware that the hyperlinks may not necessarily function on the online version but will do if you download a copy.

Other sector specific advice, like PASC’s excellent free to access self catering guidance, is also available and can be accessed below (some but not all are England specific):

Hotels and other guest accommodation

Indoor and Outdoor attractions

Business Events



AM 25 June – Hospitality reopening update

Posted on

The PM’s announcement on the relaxation on restriction within the hospitality industry in England from 4 July and various announcement on differing changes within the other Home Nations, to different timetables, has prompted a plethora of amendments to existing guidance and/or the release of new guidance.

Rather than issuing updates on the updates about things you’re probably already aware of I have waited in the hope that all the piece of the jigsaw would quickly fall into place during the week. This is not yet the case, and while all the generic high-level material is now available, some of the more detailed, practical, free to access advice from individual trade bodies is due to be released imminently or in some instances remains available but to “members only”.

What has prompted this note is this morning’s release in England of the detail of the ‘We’re Good To Go the UK wide industry standard mark, the detail of which will be a great interest to many individual hospitality businesses.  Many of those businesses will be keen to understand precisely what is expected of them, before they apply. To my mind a proper understanding of that, in many cases, will be largely informed by a combination of the higher-level government advice and the sector specific advice available from trade bodies and accreditation schemes, like those of Quality in Tourism and the AA. Other larger businesses will be following their own corporate guidance.

The welcome good news and the increased certainty about some aspects of the opening up of the hospitality industry, could, in the short term, prompt rather more B2B questions in some quarters than it initially answers. Doubtless more consumer questions are likely to follow thereafter.

Ongoing support, particularly, around sign posting of the most appropriate sources of detailed business advice is going to be more important, rather than less, now that we have to start delivering a hopefully seamless and demonstrably safe reopening of both destinations and the businesses that, jointly and separately, form them.

Some of the more useful links on changes in England from 4 July include:

New guidance for reopening the visitor economy to take effect in England on 4 July.

Specific advice on safety in the workplace has been published for:

New guidance has also been released on:

PM 10 June Covid-19 update

Posted on Updated on

Three thing of potential note for you:

1.  You will have seen yesterday’s announcements regarding hospitality in England, which on the one hand removed the hope of an early 22 June reprieve for pubs with garden and on the other offered some hope of a reduction in the two metre rule but seemingly only after initial hospitality reopening, commencing from 4 July, has demonstrated it can work safely at the current 2m distance. And somewhere in between the two, a minor about face on the closure of zoos and safari parks which can thankfully now open from next Monday in England.

Whilst we now have more information, it hasn’t necessarily given us the degree of clarity that we might have hoped for by now.  If anything, this reinforces the strongly held belief that getting the opening of general retail in England (from next Monday) right, first time round, is absolutely critical to the prospects, course and timing of the reopening of hospitality, leisure and tourism that will follow it.  I appreciate that engaging retail in destination management and tourism matters isn’t always that easy in every urban destination but this may be the one time that retail holds the key to the immediate future prospects of all the other component parts of the visitor economy? If it isn’t firmly on your radar by now then it should be.

2. I have added among other research this week’s BVA BDRC covid-19 consumer attitudes tracker to our c-19 research page. It is yet another excellent report in their now 11-week series. I was interested to note the headline comment: “Anticipated lead times for domestic holiday bookings continue to shorten, but it is international holidays and flight booking intentions which have seen greatest momentum in the last couple of weeks”. I was initially alarmed by this comment because until now the general assumption has been that any recovery would be led largely by the domestic market and the presumption attached to that, at least by me, that this included both inbound international and outbound “domestic” travel, which along with the UK domestic component, make up the three complimentary and sometime, to differing degrees, competing legs of the “UK tourism industry”.

The increased interest in overseas holidays might easily be attributed to the number of recent popular media reports highlight well know budget airlines plans to resume flights, travel companies and travel writer promoting the likelihood of price led promotion and news from popular near European destinations of their domestic reopening and expressions of a strong desire to welcome UK holidaymakers this summer.  On reflection I don’t get any sense that this media reporting, or in turn the interest it may have generated, as taken too much account of the practicalities and a potential mountain of rules, regulation and processes yet to be agreed, let alone overcome at both ends of such holiday trips.  Or indeed any proper realisation that the summer 2020 holiday trip being offered abroad is likely to be very different to anything they may have experienced before and, therefore, potentially less appealing, once that starts to become more obvious to all concerned?

Whilst much the same might also said about the 2020 domestic summer holidays, save of course for added outbound complications like: airports, flights, travel insurances and medical arrangements, it would be a travesty if UK residents found it easier and/or were actively encouraged in part by UK policy decisions to travel en masse abroad to destination where the product and experience was outside UK control, rather than holidaying and have a fulfilling experience within the UK (the bulk of which directly benefits the UK economy and employment).  It would be particularly galling if any imported increase in the R rate generated by leisure trips abroad (if there was any) then resulted, as it might, in the extension to or the reintroduction of restrictions on the tourism and leisure industry operating within the UK (accommodation, transport, retail, attractions etc.)  and not simply on any UK based elements of outbound domestic industry (travel agents, carriers airports etc.).

I am sure that any changes to air travel advice and regulation will be taking in to account the potential covid-19 health impact of short-term, outbound short break and longer holiday travel (where many UK residents are mixing mainly with other UK residents) and will not focus on inbound international leisure and on inbound and outbound international business travel (where the indeed travel may be from and to place where the R rate may be lower than that in the general UK population).  I hope I am either wrong about the potential issue or, at least, right about the likely policy approaches to it.

3. With the permission of Visit Wiltshire I thought colleague might benefit from seeing the domestic marketing and messaging being used in reopening promotion for the Great West Way. Clearly a good deal of thought and effort has gone into this approach:

Great West Way Targets Responsible Travellers

2 June PM New research added

Posted on

Three pieces of research has now been added to the C-19 Research library on  the latest edition of BVA-BDRC weekly tracker, Great Yarmouth’s weekly business survey  and an update of Hotel Solution’s May report, “From Survival to Recovery”, it is entirely new material containing additional useful links .

Access these reports from the C19 Research menu tab or go direct to the page at:

1 June AM update SLG collapse and Group Travel impacts

Posted on Updated on

Last week I shared concerns about the potential much deeper impact of the headline failure of the Specialist Leisure Group and its nine brands and 40 odd major hotels in 30 odd destinations (see that here).

Conversation last week with approximately 20, mainly coastal resort destinations, confirm that the fear that many medium and larger hotel have business models predicated on the ready availability of business from companies within the SLG, David Urquhart the largest independent owner operator (now closed) and other equally vulnerable regional and local companies. To some hotels it is core business, to many more its filler when other business may be slack and thus critical to keeping the business viable regardless of seasonal and other ebbs and flows.

As promised, I contacted the coaching arm of Confederation of Passenger Transport and the Coach Tourism Association.  They too are struggling to quantify, in precise terms, the scale of the loss of supply to group travel, other than to say that its big.  Nor can any of us be entirely certain about the impact of convid-19 on confidence of their typical customer and, therefore, the impact on the demand side, other than to presume that in all likelihood it is very significant. Three points from CPT and CTA did strike me as immediately relevant to the debate at destination level:

  • Coach business are classified by Government as a transport industry and even where the entirety of their business is tourism group travel, they are not entitled to access the tourism and leisure support mechanism. At the very least something to lobby on?
  • Just like most other tourism businesses unless there is some movement on the 2m rule it is going to be almost impossible to reach viable passenger numbers. Restriction on numbers  will impact on the costing formula and further limit the supply side; it isn’t simple going to be a case of fewer available coach, as each remaining coach may carry as little as a third of the pre-covid-19 load for the foreseeable future, adding to an already difficult situation.
  • Some of the SLG brands only used third party coaches putting further financial pressure on some of the regional and local companies contracted to them.  Moreover, even where the SLG company used their own fleets, for example Shearings, they were heavy reliance on smaller local companies for transfer and feeder journeys (or more to the point some companies were heavily reliant on SPG business).  The collapse of SLG may well do far more to exacerbate the pressure on other coaching companies than we might have at first assumed and in turn the likely impact on future supply may be much bigger than we might have originally anticipated?

Conversation with colleagues also confirmed that the day trip market both from place of residence or within a staying/overnight coach trip or tour is likely to be heavily impacted and in turn impact on their local visitor economy businesses.  The loss of that market and especially the unsung trips within an overnight package will hit a wide range of destinations, from small and quaint to the larger coastal and inland destination (of every type).  It is also likely to impact on attraction and, especially on things like parks and gardens and historic houses which are particularly popular with the core, domestic group travel market.

I was also reminded by colleagues that group travel and coaches as a means of transport were often central to parts of the international market.  A potential lack of UK coach supply could in due course impact on the international inbound tourism recovery too.

In essence what might on first glance have seemed like some other sector of the tourism industry’s problem, may turn out to be as much of an issue for destinations as it is for the coach travel and tourism industry.