A recent forecast from the UK’s national tourism organisation, VisitBritain, makes welcome reading for anyone involved in the tourism industry, including the hotel and hospitality sector. VisitBritain predicts that visitors to the UK are once again set to spend record amounts this year, which follows on from last year’s stellar performance. Overall, tourists are expected to splash out around £23bn in 2016, representing a 4.2% increase on last year. The figures for 2015 are yet to be released but are thought to be around £22bn – that in turn was a 7% increase on 2014.
In terms of visitor numbers, around 36.7 million are expected to come to these shores in 2016, which is 3.8% more than in 2015. Again the figures for the year just past are yet to be confirmed, but estimates put visitors for the 12 months at 35.4 million. All of this suggests that, not only is the UK considered to be a top destination by visitors who come from all over the world, but people generally have positive experiences when they get here. A large part of that experience, of course, is down to the hospitality they receive during their time here.
How can hotels maximise the opportunity?
The hotel business is highly competitive and hoteliers everywhere have to be at the top of their game, not only to attract business but to make sure guests enjoy their stay. People can be quick to make their views known on social media and elsewhere if they are less than impressed with something, and a bad review – no matter how unjustified – is never good for business. So what can hotels do to ensure guests are suitably impressed, if and when they do come to stay?
First class service delivered by well-trained, professional staff is essential if you want to make sure guests are made to feel welcome and are looked after properly during their time in your establishment. Warm, friendly and well informed staff can make a world of difference to the guests’ experience, so it’s a part of the business well worth investing in.
Food and drink
The quality of food you serve is another key area to get right, no matter what level you’re operating at. Fresh, local produce such as langoustine and malt whisky from Scotland, lamb from Wales, and cheeses, artisan beers and ciders from England will allow guests to enjoy tasting something that is unique to a particular part of the UK.
Yes, clean, fresh and crisp bed linen (and a comfortable bed) is incredibly important and is certain to be both noticed and appreciated by guests. Invest in some quality bed linen, to make sure your guests enjoy a great night’s sleep!
Get these three areas of the business right and you’re well on your way to attracting – and impressing – some of the record number of visitors coming to the UK. Chief executive of VisitBritain, Sally Balcombe, says the tourism body is on track to grow international visits by over 20%, to 42 million. That makes for a lot of hotel beds, and plenty of opportunities to make your guests feel welcome.