Olympic Games 2012 Survey: Is The UK Hospitality Industry Ready?

As 2011 is ushered in, the countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games begins in earnest for the UK’s hospitality industry. As part of its Olympics Special, hotel-industry.co.uk joined forces with hotcatUK and IndiCater to capture a snapshot of the preparedness of the UK hospitality industry.

With 350,000 foreign visitors expected per day and over 18 million meals due to be served by F&B operators, the 2012 Olympic Games is sure to present the opportunity of a lifetime to the UK’s hospitality professionals.

So, exactly how prepared is the UK hospitality industry? Is it in a position to capitalise on this £2.1 billion opportunity?

Olympic Games 2012: An Industry Prepared?

The snapshot survey focused on operators in and around London and revealed a positive overall picture: 60% of respondents felt that their organisations were prepared to capitalise on the 2012 Games – and a third of the industry expects to experience benefits into the medium-term after the Olympic period.

However, it was also revealed that strategic planning for the Olympic Games is far from complete across the industry, with only 40% claiming to have a robust strategy or plan in place to effectively capitalise on the period of high demand.

20% feel that they need to concentrate more closely on developing their current revenue management strategy – a key factor in optimising revenue during London 2012.

“The upshot is that planning for 2012 should already be underway,” explained Paul van Meerendonk, senior consultant at IDeaS Advantage in a recent interview with hotel-industry.co.uk.

“It should have started the moment the event was confirmed for London. Contracts have been or are being signed for that period already and if mistakes are made at this crucial early stage, hoteliers could find themselves without room to manoeuvre and limiting their ability to optimise rates and inventory for 2012.”

However, the industry is confident of RevPAR and occupancy growth during the Games, despite recent concerns raised by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA). Over 40% were confident that they would see a rise in occupancy during the period and 45% were confident of RevPAR growth, some citing figures between 15% and 25%.

“When we consider that the Olympics will coincide with the peak summer season and the Farnborough Air Show, significant RevPAR growth is highly achievable,” continued Meerendonk in his recent interview. “Overall, I think hoteliers can expect at least double digit RevPAR growth year-on-year.”

Investments Needed

However, over 45% have yet to make the significant resource investments necessary to fully position themselves to capitalise – top of the priority list for 2011 is a concentrated effort to improve staff training, marketing, PR and establish new partnerships with suppliers and external organisations.

Over half the respondents expected to see their organisation’s sales and marketing expenditure increase, and over 45% expected to see an increase in human resources.

Ensuring the safety and security of guests also featured as a concern in the survey, with 23% wanting to improve this in 2011.

Overall, the snapshop survey conducted in partnership with hotel-industry.co.uk, hotcatUK and IndiCater suggests that the UK hospitality industry is in a good position to capitalise on the expected peak in demand during the 2012 Olympic Games – although certain resources have yet to be put in place and some key investments still need to be made.

About hotcatUK: hotcatUK is a professional network for people working in the UK hospitality industry and for those considering a career in this fast-paced industry. More than 2000 members share ideas, offer advice and discuss hot topics online and at networking events hosted across the country. Hotel-industry.co.uk partnered with hotcatUK to conduct this snapshot survey.

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