It has been almost four months since all non-essential retail and hospitality was forced to close for the third time in the past twelve months. As we all know, this is completely unprecedented, and the effects of such closures have been felt across the industry.
However, recent research published by Caterer.com shows that bookings across the sector have surged in the past month. According to recent findings, more than four million people have booked to visit hospitality venues once restrictions ease gradually from the 12th April.
The survey suggests that this pent-up demand could inject £4.2bn into the economy in just the first month of re-opening. Caterer.com speculate that customers may be likely to spend up the £167 each in pubs and restaurants across the country.
Neil Patterson, the director of Caterer.com, has stated that “hospitality businesses have been unfairly subjected to tighter restrictions than other sectors throughout the pandemic and our research shows just how eager people are to get back into hospitality venues”.
Patterson continues, “As we’ve seen over the past year, businesses have gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of customers. Many have remodelled to allow for more outdoor space enabling them to remain open within safety restrictions”.
Echoing Patterson’s comments, a few short weeks ago, the government announced their plan to allow venues greater flexibility in setting up marquees and providing more outdoor space for their customers. This is music to the ears of an industry that have only been facing further restrictions since the end of last summer. Hospitality is one of the most important sectors of the UK economy and, as Patterson has emphasised, “the recovery of the sector is crucial to the wider economy of the UK”.
Finally, the UK government seem to be recognising this. After a winter in which the hospitality sector has been crying out for an injection of funds into their business plans, these figures will come as a welcome and hard-earned lifeline to venues up and down the country.
Words by: Rebecca Clayton