Over half of businesses in the UK’s travel, hospitality and leisure sector say they are on track with their preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to the latest Games Readiness research from Deloitte, the business advisory firm.
Deloitte research reveals preparations for London 2012 on track for travel, hospitality an...
Fifty five poer cent believe they are on target with their preparations, compared to 32% when asked the question in 2010. However, 37% admit they are behind where they need to be.
Almost half (49%) identified staff availability as the biggest challenge they could face during Games time, yet just 14% in the sector say they will make changes to their staffing levels and rosters.
Graham Pickett, head of travel, hospitality and tourism at Deloitte, says: “London 2012 represents a significant and very timely opportunity for most UK travel, hospitality and leisure operators. Next year is going to remain very challenging and whilst the Games will not provide all the answers, it is an opportunity few can afford to ignore. VisitBritain estimates the potential additional spending by visitors resulting from the Games at more than £2bn.
“The number of visitors arriving into the UK for London 2012 will be unprecedented. Most operators in the sector are heavily dependent on the ability of staff to be in a certain location and are vulnerable if there is any disruption in the supply chain. Having the sufficient levels of staff in place to manage passenger and visitor expectations will be essential and I would urge businesses in the travel, hospitality and leisure sector to act now to ensure they are ready to receive their customers and guests. London 2012 is an immovable deadline and businesses in this sector must recognise that they now need to act quickly to make the most of the opportunity.”
In addition to gearing up for opportunities at Games-time, businesses must also consider how they will cope with the possibility of disruption to their daily operations. 39% of businesses in the sector have reviewed or intend to review their crisis response plans, while 35% will re-evaluate their holiday policies.
Pickett comments: “There is undoubtedly a lot for the travel industry to consider: the airspace over the South East of the country will be very congested presenting the airlines and airports with a number of challenges, not least aircraft and slot availability. Away from the airports, traffic on public transport and roads will be significantly heightened around the Games. In addition, it’s also important for travel operators not to forget those trying to leave the UK for pre-booked holidays during the six weeks of competition.
“It is a concern that over half of businesses in the sector have no plans to review their crisis response plans. With the right preparations made and plans in place to manage the influx of visitors into the capital and Games venues around the country, there’s no reason why the sector cannot benefit from London 2012.”
That said, a quarter say they will introduce new or improved marketing, a fifth will increase stock levels or capacity to supply their products or services, 18% will introduce longer trading hours during the duration of the Games.
Deborah Griffin, travel sector lead at Deloitte, comments: “It is encouraging to find so many companies in the sector taking the Games seriously and making plans to take advantage of the opportunities it presents. London is used to receiving millions of visitors each year, the Royal Wedding in April is just one example amongst numerous events hosted by the capital during the course of the year. However, London 2012 will be a unique event in the capital and the venues hosting events across the country, presenting unique challenges and opportunities.
“The benefits of hosting London 2012 are not confined to the capital either. Innovative thinking will be needed by many businesses in the sector to ensure they capture demand that may be different to that which they would normally expect. Leisure instead of business visitors will have different needs and spending patterns which will need to be catered for. For example, domestic travel providers should be looking to adapt their offering to the overseas visitors to London for the Games, many of whom will be looking to extend their stay beyond the capital and visit the rest of the country.”
The Deloitte Cambridge office comprises 8 Partners and over 250 staff who deliver a full range of professional services to the East Anglian region. As well as focussing on the life sciences and technology sectors for which the region has become so renowned, the office has long standing specialisms in other sectors including the professions, consumer business, food and agribusiness.