A few general intelligence request and updates.
I am getting very mixed messaging about both the pace and scale of hospitality reopening, especially but not exclusively around the serviced accommodation sector. There is also some marked differences and contradictions around forward bookings. It would be helpful if colleagues could continue to share their local experiences around the number/percentages of businesses by type reopening, from when and any intelligence you might have around booking (and cancellation?) levels.
There does appear to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation developing, especially for serviced accommodation and potentially consumer confidence around the knowledge that sufficient eateries, bars, restaurants etc. will be both open and relatively easily accessible to them to support the overall holiday experience. There may also be some similar concern around accesses to attractions, especially but again not exclusively, in urban destinations and popular resort towns. Any intelligence you may have on these issues and on businesses in areas such as self-catering, caravan and camping etc. anecdotal or otherwise, would also be appreciated.
Open access business advice from the likes of UKHospitality and PASC, much of it either applicable UK wide or with Home Nation variants, has been well received. An excellent set of advice from the B&B Association (a slimmed down B&B/guesthouse targeted version of the UKHospitality guidance) has now also been published. Unfortunately it isn’t that easily located, so in order to help you and your local businesses here is the link: http://www.bandbassociation.org/BBA-COVID-19-Secure-Guidelines-V1.pdf .
The VB/STB/WG, “We’re Good to Go” UK hospitality industry kitemark, launched last week, is proving to be very popular. The scheme, in combination with trade association and other assurance scheme guidance on reopening and risk assessment, should help to ensure businesses understand what is required of them and how to adequately risk assess their business circumstances, in order to meet or exceed an appropriate covid-19 secure standard. https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/were-good-go-industry-standard
I have been diligently adding local and national covid-19 research to the C-19 page on Britishdestinations.net, but without necessarily alerting you to every new addition. If research is of interest to you please visit the page and take a look at the last half dozen or so items: https://britishdestinations.net/c19-research/
My personal assessment is that the next 2 to 6 weeks are almost certainly going to be some of the most challenging in living memory for the tourism industry and without doubt the most critical that the modern domestic tourism has ever faced. By early to mid-August we should have a much clearer understanding of how individual businesses and business types and sector are preforming, if and how the often vital but unsung symbiotic relationships between seemingly differing business types are now functioning, whether the new largely untried businesses model that have had to be hastily adopted are capable of safely generating sufficient income to be viable (now and to cover the lean winter months) and critically whether we as an industry or the UK in general can successfully avoided the very real threat of location specific, or more wide spread, spikes and associated new lockdowns.
Recovery proper and a return to something approximating passed normality still feels some considerable way off, if indeed it is ever going to be obtainable. Meanwhile we have no realistic choice but to make the very best of all the opportunities reopening and the “new normalities” allow us. If you or your business community require any additional support during the coming critical weeks to ensure success or to help avoid obvious pitfalls please let me know.