If you missed the last Arena event ‘Hospitality – The Road to Recovery’ with Kate Nicholls OBE of UKHospitality, along with a panel discussion from leading industry figures, worry not. As a leading out of home agency we were there and here are some of my key take outs:

It is currently estimated that it is costing hospitality around £0.5 billion per month to stay closed – a scary figure, I am sure you will agree. There is a serious cash burn in the sector and desperate need for more government support, which may even hold the key to economic recovery for the UK as a whole.

Despite <1% of staff cases and <3% general cases linked back to the sector, hospitality has borne the brunt of Covid restrictions over the best part of a year. What is needed is a clear roadmap and ideally the avoidance of flip-flopping between open and closed for operators. When safe, what hospitality needs is for the country to go back to July-September style measures, rather than the unworkable October to December 2020 ones. The vaccine roll-out and rapid testing will both pay a crucial role in this.

Kate outlined the three-pillar agenda UKHospitality is pushing with the Government as follows:

  1. We need a clear strategy to exit from restrictions (the good news is this looks likely on 22nd Feb). This needs to include foreign travel and quarantine as business travel, events, and tourism all impact on hospitality hugely.
  2. We need help to rebuild shattered balance sheets and consumer confidence. Extending 5% VAT, the lease forfeiture moratorium, furlough and business rates holiday – these tools are ones the sector need in place to help re-build. Along with measures to tackle rent debt which could cripple the industry.
  3. We need Government to recognize that hospitality is the key to future recovery post Covid. Prior to Covid it offered 1 in 6 new jobs since 2021. With G7 in Cornwall, COP26 Glasgow and D20, all offer an opportunity to showcase UK hospitality on a global platform. Government needs to recognize the important role hospitality will play in recovery and support it to ensure it does just that.

We have one month to influence the Chancellor and to that end Kate urged everyone to use the template on the UKHospitality website to once again write to their MP.

The rest of the session was dedicated to a panel discussion covering staff engagement, managing supply chain, the effective use of technology plus much more. Well done to Lorraine and the team at Arena on continuing to deliver relevant and engaging content in these challenging times. We look forward to the next event entitled ‘Growing into 2021’.

To find out more about Arena visit arena.org.uk/