By Kunal Sawhney, CEO of Kalkine (www.kalkine.co.uk)
The UK hospitality industry is going to get a mega push with the platinum jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, which is estimated to generate £1.5-2.0 billion for the industry. The four days weekend (2-5 June) has been created by moving the late May bank holiday to 2 June, while Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday is on Friday 3 June.
Various independent research has claimed that platinum jubilee weekend could be a bumper one for the hospitality industry. Research commissioned by Barclaycard Payments has said that almost half of small and medium-sized hospitality businesses are hopeful of an increase in sales, and independent pubs, bars, and restaurants could get a sales boost of £76 million in just two extra days of Thursday and Friday.
The extended weekend can have a soothing impact on the financial quarter as a whole for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as 60 per cent of smaller businesses are expecting higher revenues in the three-month period. Hopes are high that consumers would be supporting the local businesses.
Research from SevenRooms has even predicted that almost 19 million people would throng hospitality venues over the platinum jubilee weekend. Friday and Saturday are likely to be the busiest day. MoneySupermarket.com has estimated that, on average, brits would spend £83 each on food, drink, and decorations inspired by the union flag.
The government on its part has extended licencing hours for pubs have been extended by two hours from 11pm to 1am from Thursday 2 June to Saturday 4 June, though off-licences and supermarkets are excluded from this extension.
How is the industry gearing up for the mega weekend?
The government and other organisations have planned various events across the nation to mark the platinum jubilee. Celebrations are going to be across the nation, and as per government estimates, more than 70,000 ‘Big Lunches’ and events have been planned along with numerous street parties. Events occurring in London would be broadcast on prominent TV networks BBC, Sky and ITV.
Street parties are already being organised, and many retailers have reported increased sales of celebration-related products. Hospitality venues have also been on their toes making preparation and going the extra mile this bank holiday. Pubs and restaurants have tailored menus for special events and are all set to reap the benefits of patrons’ outstanding hospitality experiences in the coming time.
Can this be made a permanent affair?
Calls have started growing that from this year’s extra two days off, one should be made a permanent bank holiday. It has been pointed out that an extra day off would be a boon for the retail and hospitality sector. An open letter mostly by hospitality firms has been sent to prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak, requesting a new permanent holiday, with a suggestion that it could be on Friday so its impact should be limited on the industries. From the prominent ones, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Archbishop of Canterbury has joined voices for making the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday permanent.
Though demand has been raised, any new bank holiday would need approval from the Queen, who only acts on government advice. It’s basically the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that can help get an additional bank holiday on a permanent basis. The UK already has 8 bank holidays, which looks sufficient even though lower than many EU nations but considering the plight of hospitality due to the pandemic it may be continued for a few years till it recovers.