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UK hospitality’s next challenge. How sourcing the right people could net a £36 bonus for the sector

UK hospitality’s next challenge

How sourcing the right people could net a £36bn bonus for the sector

Report Overview

New Barclays research reveals the UK hospitality and leisure sector reinvigorated after the health crisis, but now facing up to new challenges, not least a talent crisis.

Last summer, more than nine out of 10 UK hospitality businesses interviewed as part of our Leisure rediscovered report told us they were confident of growth, albeit from the low base of the pandemic doldrums.

Today, the challenges facing the industry look very different: the fallout of war, soaring costs, a tight labour market. But, according to our new survey, business confidence – while not at the unprecedented heights of last year – remains strikingly high (77% of respondents are confident of growth this year, including 33% who are very confident).

This growth could also bring opportunities - In fact we estimate that the industry could potentially gain £36bn during 2022 compared with pre-pandemic revenue, and £54bn more than in 2021. Achieving this prize will depend on how external pressures develop – and on the industry’s own continuing efforts to attract customers, to delight them and to keep them coming back.

It would be naïve to play down the existential nature of the cluster of threats facing the hospitality industry this year. But businesses that survived Covid-19 have already demonstrated their resilience. With imaginative solutions to staffing pressures and by fine-tuning their responses to customer preferences, the UK sector is well placed to ride out the challenges posed by the second half of 2022

Mike Saul

Head of Hospitality and Leisure, Barclays Corporate Banking

Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure, Barclays Corporate Banking

Read case studies

Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier

If you’re looking for an example of a business that has bounced back from the pandemic restrictions almost perfectly in line with the findings of our report, then look no further than Brighton Pier. The iconic landmark is an experiential leisure attraction that has fully returned to pre-pandemic visitor and profit levels; although the management remains acutely aware that new challenges stand in the path of future growth.

Watergate Bay Hotel

Watergate Bay Hotel

The owners of Watergate Bay Hotel spent the darkest days of the pandemic converting the site into seven ‘beach lofts’ to complement the 73-bed hotel’s existing offering.

The £1m-plus investment was a bold move at an uncertain time. But according to Group Finance Director Chris Naisby, the business was confident that demand for high-quality holiday experiences would persist after the pandemic had passed. This has proved to be well founded.

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