With lockdown restrictions almost completely eliminated and Brits' pent-up demand for travel and leisure reaching unprecedented heights, businesses are scrambling to create new products and update operational models to capitalise on what is predicted to be a huge imminent boom for the UK's hospitality and travel industries. The investment world looks set to match this optimism, with national research from IW Capital revealing 16% of UK investors plan to back businesses in the hospitality sector in 2021.
Yet the pandemic has shifted the consumer mindset significantly. As founders of hospitality and leisure businesses navigate their recoveries amidst a newly-changed landscape, shifts in consumer spending and behaviours are requiring these industries to rapidly adapt to a new set of market conditions that remain very much in flux.
As business and leisure travel merges, hotels and coffee shops find new purpose as unconventional workspaces, and restaurants rush to rebuild their staff after last year's devastating wave of redundancies, companies in these spaces are playing the UK's post-pandemic recovery with an entirely new hand.
Luke David, CEO of IW Capital discusses how flexibility and forecasting can set SMEs up for success in 2022 and beyond:
"Many good companies have survived the pandemic - which in itself is something to be applauded - but it is going to take exceptional companies to thrive in the new normal. As we navigate the new challenges of the post-pandemic market, the start-up mindset will actually be one of the best equipped to capitalise on these new conditions. Generally speaking, entrepreneurs are open to new and disruptive ideas, and have a tendency to focus on what they have and where their potential lies - rather than dwelling on what they may have lost or missed out on over the past eighteen months.
"Understanding how and why consumers' demands have changed as a result of the pandemic will be essential to the recovery of the sector at large. Every business within these industries will need to reimagine the customer experience and reconsider their operational structures to regain the confidence and trust of the consumer."