Hoteliers’ Hopes for Return to ‘Plan A’

Hoteliers in Bristol are hoping that the Government’s decision to end the ‘Plan B’ Covid-19 restrictions will lead to a much-needed boost to their businesses.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that England’s Plan B measures are to end this Thursday (Jan 27), with mandatory face coverings in public places and Covid passports both dropped.

Hoteliers particularly welcomed the end to the Plan B advice to work from home where possible.

Raphael Herzog, Chair of the Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA), said: “We hope companies and large organisations will welcome this news and will now look to bring their staff together for larger conferences at our hotels.

“These events provide an important source of income to venues like hotels, which have made significant investments in making their conference facilities as Covid-safe as possible.”

Many BHA members suffered a difficult end to 2021 with many reporting business was at least 30 percent lower in December than they had hoped for.

With no furlough scheme to fall back on and costs increasing, the BHA say more Government support is vital if businesses are to survive.

Mr Herzog said: “At the end of last year, the Government announced grants of up to £6,000 for hospitality businesses. But that would only cover us for what we lose in one day with a conference booking, as an example.

“We hope that the end of Plan B and return to Plan A will give companies more confidence to organise conferences again and we very much look forward to welcoming them back to our hotels.

“These events are an important source of income for us.

“While some people have adjusted to working from home, others thrive on human interaction.

“Even if companies still choose to continue to allow working from home for the foreseeable future, or adopt a hybrid working model, we hope that they will still consider now bringing their teams together in a safe environment like a hotel.

“It will be good for their wellbeing and mental health to spend time in the physical presence of their colleagues rather than just seeing their faces on computer screens.”

Future months still look extremely challenging for the hospitality industry, with the current reduced rate of VAT due to end on 31 March, well-publicised significant increases in energy prices on the horizon, and other factors, such as some food suppliers increasing their prices by up to 20 percent.

Mr Herzog added: “It’s very hard to operate a business in the current climate, with more money going out than coming in. We knew we were facing a very difficult first quarter but if companies now start coming back to us for their conferences – which I would urge them to do – it would make a significant difference to us.”