A man bonding with his daughter in a forest. The hospitality sector is recovering post-COVID.

Leisure rediscovered: New opportunities for post-lockdown hospitality

Hospitality and leisure businesses are springing back, as their customers explore new experiences and make new choices that are set to endure with the removal of restrictions.

The new pleasure principles

The hospitality and leisure sector has got its confidence back. In our Ready to Go Again report (PDF) last year, despite the dire picture of Covid-related closures at that time, 98% of operators were positive about growth prospects for the summer of 2021 – and they have been proved right.

It has been a fraught period of limbo, but businesses have used the time wisely, adapting their business models and reshaping their offerings. Since restrictions began to lift in April, customers have returned, with a clear desire to make up for lost time. Operators have told us their revenue has jumped by an average of more than 25% over 2019 levels, and that increase is predicted to rise to a third over the remainder of 2021.

The distortion of market choice inflicted by the pandemic was the trigger for changes, but those who enjoy these new experiences could provide an expanded customer base in the longer term.

Our latest report explores how hospitality and leisure businesses are adapting their strategies to generate long-term gains from domestic consumers’ evolving tastes. Our research highlights three main strategies of success.

Sector trends

Lure of the local

The UK holiday experience has put staycations at the front of mind for many consumers. Providers across the industry can capitalise on the willingness of customers to try new experiences, by adapting their offering to keep these new demographics coming back for more.

Extras and must-haves

Safety, wellbeing and sustainability all draw a premium. A thorough knowledge of the make-up and preferences of provider’s customer base will enable operators to take fuller advantage on the demographic variation in the features that influence consumers’ leisure choices.

Changing places

The pandemic has triggered a complex property picture and hybrid working habits have provoked unease about the future of city centres. Property decisions by H&L providers will be key to the continued vibrancy of the UK’s urban scene and local neighbourhoods.

Case study: Therme

Visiting a spa is typically seen as a premium experience in the UK. But if the ambitious vision of Therme Group is realised, a trip to the spa will soon become an everyday activity, akin to going out to a restaurant or cinema.

The Therme concept is far from a traditional spa, however. Its four successful facilities in Germany and Romania are vast “urban oases” combining multiple pools, saunas, children’s water slides, lush relaxation areas and treatment centres.

Read our case study to learn how Therme is reinventing the traditional spa to deliver wellbeing for all.

Our mission is to reinvent how people connect with water and create an environment that encourages everyone to engage with nature, health and culture to achieve a more balanced lifestyle.

Adrian Ion

Vice President, Therme Group

Thermal Spa in Bucharest. Read our report on how they are revolutionizing wellness.

Read related insights


The Great British Staycation

The Great British Staycation is in fashion - and the effects are rippling through communities and businesses.

Industry expertise

Hospitality and Leisure

In a highly competitive sector, Barclays' hospitality and leisure specialists provide proactive strategic, banking and financing support.



Read our latest insights on the role that business can play in climate change, and how environmental sustainability and commerciality can go hand-in-hand.

Covid-19 Hub

Discover the latest information related to Covid-19 (coronavirus), including CBIL details, from Barclays Corporate Banking.