Supporting each other, providing great hospitality and promoting staycations: Peter Hancock, Chief Executive of Pride of Britain, shares his thoughts on the UK hotel market ahead of his participation to The AHC Reimagined on 8th October.
How would you describe the last six months for your company?
As an organisation, at Pride of Britain we have had to make drastic savings to our administrative costs, so as to ensure the survival of the company and to maintain our marketing budget while taking reduced fees from our member hotels. I do not pretend it has been easy, but we’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from our members, our sponsors and everyone who works for us, both freelancers and employees. For the hotels themselves it has been a mixed picture – all closed for a long period but a dramatic recovery in the coastal and country locations, while prospects in London remain bleak.
What is your focus for the remainder of this year?
All effort is now concentrated on marketing to UK consumers under the campaign slogan “Ready when you are”. This includes ramping up our Google ads activity, display advertising in Waitrose magazines, the creation and distribution of new videos, email marketing to our database and much besides. PR and social media activity go on increasing and our next big push for the autumn/winter will focus on the sale of gift vouchers.
How have your relations with your partners and members changed?
If anything those relationships have become stronger as, because our events weren’t happening, more individual contact had to be made by phone or via Zoom. It sounds corny to say, but there has definitely been a sense that we are ‘all in this together’ which has helped too.
How has luxury hospitality evolved in the context of COVID-19, and what do you think will be the enduring trends coming out of it?
Much more emphasis has been placed on safety and security, which may last, though in other ways I would say the delivery of great hospitality has not changed greatly – it still relies on friendly professionalism and attention to detail just as before.
What is your hope for the UK’s hospitality industry in a post COVID-19 world?
Obviously we would love to see the industry make a complete recovery and for life to return to normal. From a selfish point of view, however, I hope some UK residents will have been weaned off their regular foreign trips and will start thinking about taking more short breaks in their own country instead.
To hear more from Peter Hancock and other speakers about the opportunities and trends in the UK hotel market, register to The AHC Reimagined here.