The new Conservative government has made an appointment which seems to be going down well with the hospitality industry. Tracey Crouch is the new tourism minister, and one who supports a cut in the VAT rate to 5% for tourism and hospitality businesses.
The most recent figures show that 34.8 million international visitors came to the UK in 2013, an increase of 17% since 2010, spending a total of £21.7b (up 29% on 2010). And this is set to increase which is excellent news, as well as being a challenge to the hotel industry.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association said she commended the appointment of Crouch: “With the recent Tourism Inquiry report serving as a great foundation, we look forward to working closely with …Tracey especially in leading the delivery of the Inquiry’s recommendations to reduce tourism VAT… The time has come for the hospitality industry to be empowered to help our economy reach its potential with more jobs, visitors and tourists across the UK.”
Hotel Industry reports on attracting visitors
So what do hotels have to do to attract more visitors? There are many schemes in place to increase technology throughout hotels, upgrade accommodation and service, but the bottom line is that if the food is not appealing, then repeat customers are lost!
Hoteliers should take heed of the latest consumer spending report issued by Barclaycard, which states that consumers are eating out more, as confidence in spending power grew 4.5% last month, a rise buoyed up by a record low level of inflation, and an improved sense of personal finances. In addition discretionary spend, such as eating out and going to the cinema, was up by 7.3% compared to April last year.
So confidence is returning and to harness this, a dining trends report which was released this week by Santa Maria Foodservice, may hold some answers for hoteliers. The report states that menus at all eateries should target the needs of all age groups.
According to the study, there are four categories: Millennials (aged 18-34), Generation X (aged 35-49), Baby Boomers (aged 50-64) and War Babies (65+). The report found that respondents across all age groups increasingly prefer bolder and spicier flavours. 60% of over 65s said the menu description was the most important factor to encourage them to try new dishes.
Eimear Owens, country sales manager UK & Ireland at Santa Maria Foodservice, said operators “By 2025, 23 per cent of the world’s population will be over 65,” she said. “Our report shows that one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to menu and concept development. Operators will have to be more flexible and, depending on their brand profile, will need to understand how to exploit the growth in ‘seniors’.”
Reports show that the hotel industry loses up to £16bn in revenue a year by failing to cater to the needs of the over-65’s. So hoteliers think about it: this genre has expendable cash: they have the time and desire to visit places and stay at hotels. So get your Rational ovens fired up and use the technology mixed with some imagination to provide meals that appeal to all.