Reservations Canceled, Plans Changed As ‘Plan B Chilling Talks’ Hit Hospitality Industry

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Reservations Canceled, Plans Changed As ‘Plan B Chilling Talks’ Hit Hospitality Industry



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Hotel industry business owners say COVID rule changes are already having a “chilling” impact on bookings.

Many of those who survived 20 months of lockdowns and restrictions as well as a ‘lost’ Christmas last year, say a strong holiday season this year is critical to their survival.

Data from booking site OpenTable also suggests diners became more cautious over the weekend after the Omicron variant was revealed.

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The hospitality industry suffered a lost Christmas last year

New restrictions came into effect Tuesday morning at 4 a.m., including the mandatory wearing of masks on public transport, in shops, museums and other places.

While the hospitality industry has so far been exempt from these rules, many fear nervousness is setting in among customers.

Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s overnight economic adviser, is already a voice sounding the alarm bells.

“All the restaurants I spoke to today are now having Christmas holiday cancellations. He said on Twitter.

“Most of these businesses were in desperate need of a good December.

“The ripple effect will be catastrophic. Businesses, jobs, supply chain. A blow to a devastating year. “

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1:46

“We don’t know enough about Omicron yet”

OpenTable figures suggest that the number of people choosing to eat out declined in relative terms this weekend compared to the previous weekend.

On Saturday, November 20, the number of diners seated was up 31% from two years ago – but by Saturday, November 27, it had fallen to 20%.

There are concerns that the lack of clarity from the government and those who advise it will not help.

On Tuesday Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Health Security Agency, says that “Not socializing when we don’t particularly need it” would help “keep the virus at bay”.

The inference seemed to be that people should cut back on contact during the holiday season and potentially cancel the Christmas holidays.

This was rejected by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who insisted he had implemented a set of “balanced and proportionate measures”.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid reiterated this position suggesting that people don’t need to cancel the holidays but should consider taking a test before attending.

But many in the hospitality industry fear the damage has already been done.

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1:49

“A smaller and more expensive pool”: the hotel industry faces a recruitment challenge

“The scary Plan B rhetoric is already being felt in the hospitality industry as reservations are canceled and plans changed,” said Kate Nicholls, managing director of the UK Hospitality business organization.

“There is no doubt that this will have a detrimental effect on companies as they enter their key negotiating period.

“All of this comes at a critical time for the industry, as costs rise across the board, supply chain issues persist, chronic labor shortages show no signs of abating and the Next year will see a return of the 20% VAT rate.

The importance of this period and the trust of customers is echoed by those in detail.

Many are keenly aware that real disposable income is declining due to the sharp rise in oil and energy prices as well as inflation in general.

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Attendance also struggled to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Although it has improved in recent months, last week it was still 17% lower than the same week in 2019.

Store owners like Sam Haq, owner of SWAG in Reading, say they need customers to stay confident.

“I believe the most important thing is not to lose customers now,” he said.

“This is where a lot of traders and homeowners are going to have a problem.

“Are they worried that customers are wearing masks or are they not saying anything and welcoming the business? And I think 90% of them will just host the business because they need the sales.

“To be honest, if we have another foreclosure it could put a lot of businesses in the background and shut down. ”

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