How the Hospitality Sector Will Need to Adapt Post 2021

With full recovery not expected until 2024, it’s fair to say that the hospitality industry has been on a bumpy ride during the pandemic and questions have been raised as to whether pubs and restaurants can effectively and consistently prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

University Hospitality Study


The University of Stirling took this question into their own hands to find out the truth. The research project started in May to August 2020 after a wide range of premises opened after a nationwide lockdown and were operating under detailed guided restrictions to reduce transmission risks. 


Venues made physical and operational modifications to help prevent the transmission, these include physical interaction between staff and customers, which when alcohol was involved became a lot harder to regulate. The people carrying out the study asked business owners what the main challenges were and how the government measures were helping to decrease transmission. 


Businesses expressed every intention to work within the guidance but there were some challenges to making this reality. Substantial efforts to change the layout of bars and restaurants were made but some problems arose such as staff not wearing personal protective gear, managements or toilets, queues and other points in the premises. Businesses also had a hard time policing customer shouting, embracing and interacting closely with other households and staff. 


Despite the huge effort made by the hospitality sector, COVID-19 transmissions persisted and the transmission was hard to manage for customers, especially those under the influence. Closing these premises will decrease transmission rates but will cause significant hardships for business owners and staff.

The Findings


The study found that premises have introduced new layouts, signage, queuing systems, noise and toilet management as well as providing hand sanitising stations, stations however were infrequently used. Some venues had people on the doors administering the hand sanitiser themselves. 


The study showed that whole staff wore personal protective equipment in most venues, some staff members wore masks incorrectly or removed them to talk to other staff members or customers. Businesses also found that customers would move tables themselves to sit in the sun for example or closer to friends which defeated the objective. 


One way systems were implemented, however these were often ignored as queues formed and people ended up gathering in one place, however the majority of venues had a number of people allowed in a room at a time. I.e. the bathroom. 


The main issues found in these venues included shouting, singing, mixing between households and standing or gathering around the bar. These are the main things that should be looked at  more should restrictions occur in the future. Staff intervention is also essential and will need to be implemented in the future.

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Government Intervention


In July 2021, the government released a press release to help pubs, bars and restaurants build back even better from the pandemic and to help them thrive long term. The government has promised to highlight opportunities in the hospitality industry to jobseekers through dedicated work coaches and helping the sector address recruitment challenges. The industry has seen challenges in recruitment due to the pressure faced during the pandemic. 


The government has also offered a £352 billion package of economic sort and guidance to help ease into normal operations. Hospitality businesses will also be able to offer al fresco dining and serve customers outside with pavement licenses being extended and being made permanent for some. Takeaway pints will also continue for 12 months from July 2021. 


The government is also setting out a plan to help the secor improve its resilience including making hospitality a career option of choice, measures to do this include vocational skills and training including apprenticeships, bootcamps and qualifications to raise the career profile. 


Using the Help to Grow programme to strengthen the sector’s digital and management skills, brinings hospitality together with universities to support the next generation of hospitality startups. The plan is also to help the sector reduce emissions by cutting down waste.

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Covid-19 Passports


Announced on September 9th 2021 it was said that vaccine passports will be required in Scotland for entry to crowded venues from the 1st of October with the hope that it will encourage younger people to get vaccinated, under 18s will be exempt. 


COVID-19 certificates will be needed to enter venues such as nightclubs, music festivals and some football grounds. It will be in place from October as this is when all adults would have been offered their vaccine and it is hoped that it will help keep the cases in Scotland under wraps. 


Staff at venues will be able to download the verification app to allow them to check the status of their attendees. 


In England it has been said that vaccine passports could still be brought in for the winter months. Work and Pension Secretary Therese Coffey has said that the introduction of the vaccine passports has not been ruled out forever.  This U-turn decision has somewhat left businesses in the dark as to whether or not to prepare for them. 


A public health expert has warned that vaccine passports risk dividing society, and this is something to look out for should they be introduced in the future. 

For more information on risk management in the hospitality sector please get in touch with [broker_name] on [broker_phone] today.

Customer Behaviours & Habits Post Pandemic


It’s only natural that behaviours and habits change especially after an event such as a pandemic. Businesses will need to reimagine the customer experience and re-engage with customers to build and maintain trust. They will also need to improve their financial resilience in a post-pandemic world. 


It is important to note that customers may be slow to return to old habits and crowds, the hospitality won’t fully recover for a while as customers may still be reluctant to return to old habits as the majority of people are either worried about themselves or the wellbeing of their family and friends. 


Trust will play a vital role in the recovery of businesses and allowing them to thrive long term. Customers will want to trust that the organisation is doing everything it can to create a safe environment for customers. 


The 4 main things to think about when it comes to your customers and trust are: 


– Letting your customers trust that their physical space is safe.

– Letting your customers trust that their emotional and societal needs are being safeguarded 

– Letting your customers trust that their financial concerns are being served 

– Letting your customers trust that their information is secure.

– You may also want to reimagine your customers’ experience too as this will be very different.


– Make the physical environment as clean and stress-free as possible. – Organisations must do all they can to create a clean and stress-free space for clients to help alleviate any health concerns. 


– More customer touchpoints online and expand the experience. – Moving touchpoints online is imperative as it will help the health and safety of customers and on top of this digital is the way forward for most things nowadays. Doing things online may seem antisocial, however, it can reduce costs dramatically and we should expect to see more investment into no-contact technology going forward. 


– Engage customers actively. – This simply means signage, social media posting, YouTube videos, anything you feel like you can do to make the environment as easy to navigate around as possible is very important. Make your customers heard and show that you’re doing everything possible to keep a safe and healthy space. 


– Find more ways to do business. – Businesses now need to offer different services due to the pandemic, adaptation is imperative and you will be lost if you don’t. For example, many restaurants went online offering at-home delivery and dining options and some have even offered a do it yourself meal plan kit for customers to take home and create themselves. There are so many ways to expand. 


In summary, businesses in the hospitality industry need to think about the customer, the supply chain, cash flow, the workforce, the workplace and digitisation.


Here are a few more stats to think about when trying to entice customers back to your business. 



18% of customers have chosen a new business because of how it cares for the safety of its employees. 

– 52% of business leaders are expecting increased consumer support for local businesses.

– 33% of consumers say the sustainable sourcing of ingredients is more important to them now than pre-lockdown. 



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Hospitality Education


As the word changes, industries change and as industries change, education must change to suit the new world. It is important to assess the new skills that should be taught amongst new employees as times have changed so will the training needed. 


The new issues that will need to be covered include pandemic, recession, any skill gaps and the environment too as this is a huge factor. The skills that we would suggest implementing to a high standard include customer experience management, facility management, business stimulation, emotional intelligence and soft skills too. Learning these skills will give us better prepare for the future with any chances, giving businesses the resilience they need. 


If you have a business in the hospitality sector and you would like advice or guidance for risk management in these uncertain times [broker_name] in [broker_county] will be able to help. Get in touch with a member of the team today on [broker_phone]. We will help keep your business thriving and adaptable to new and changing environments.

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