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What will impact the leisure and hospitality sector in 2023?

Published 16th Dec 2022

With 2023 on the horizon, hospitality business owners and candidates are hopeful that things will be positive for the leisure and hospitality sector next year.

So, what exactly do we predict will impact the hospitality sector in 2023? Let’s take a look.

Visits to the UK will increase

Interestingly, Europe currently holds 51% of the international tourism market share, compared to 24% for Asia and the Pacific, 16% for the Americas, 5% for Africa and 4% for the Middle East. Whilst Europe is made up of 44 countries, the UK is the third largest country in the continent, after Russia and Germany, in terms of population.

Thankfully, there has been a recent surge in UK tourism post-pandemic. Hospitality businesses were impacted quite drastically by the lack of overseas visitors as a result of the pandemic:

  • The number of visits to the UK reached over 40 million in 2019
  • This then dropped to 11 million in 2020
  • 2021 saw visits drop even further, at only 7 million
  • Thankfully, in 2022, the number of overseas visitors reached almost 27 million

These statistics would, in theory, suggest that visits to the UK from those overseas will finally reach pre-pandemic levels during 2023. This is fantastic news for businesses and employees in the hospitality sector, given that hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions will hopefully see a noticeable increase in visitor numbers, and revenue.

(Source: Statista)

The sharing economy will continue to thrive

In 2023, the sharing economy will be well into its prime, having surpassed the experimental stage in the UK hospitality industry some years ago. One of the most obvious – and popular – examples of a business thriving in the sharing economy is Airbnb, with over 1 billion guests having stayed in an Airbnb as of mid-2022.

Uber, another platform that has seen huge success as part of the sharing economy by providing shared car journeys, is amongst one of many businesses contributing to the sharing economy and the hospitality industry as whole.

Whilst some might argue that Airbnb is having a negative impact on hoteliers and bed & breakfast owners, others have praised the sharing economy for boosting the overall hospitality industry. The availability of bedrooms, apartments and homes to rent short-term at affordable prices has had a domino effect. This has given people access to a greater number of places to travel to and stay. As a result, restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs, coffee shops and nightclubs all over the UK will see more visitors as the months go by.

Hotels will continue to embrace technology

In the hospitality industry – particularly in regards to hotels in the UK – voice search is continuing to transform the booking process for thousands of customers. The ability to research and book holidays, weekend trips away and staycations via smartphones and tablets, gives customers the freedom to find answers to their questions whilst on the go. As a result, an increasing number of hotels will continue to equip their websites with voice search capabilities, giving them quicker access to qualified leads.

According to Think With Google, voice-activated speaker owners would like to receive the following from brands:

  • 52% want information about sales, deals and promotions
  • 48% want personalised tips and information to make life easier
  • 42% want information about upcoming events and activities

With this information, businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry are likely to improve their voice search capabilities to cater to their target audiences’ needs.

Virtual reality will also see an increase in demand from hotels in the UK, with many having already adopted VR in their hotel tours and booking processes. For the average customer, VR offers a much more accurate insight into a hotel room prior to booking; the number of UK hotels using VR on their websites to depict what each room will look like has seen a steady increase over the last three years.

Plus, mobile apps in the hospitality industry will likely see an even bigger increase during 2023, having been tested and proven to enhance the customer experience over the last few years. Not only do apps have better functionality than most mobile-friendly websites, but they also bridge the gap between the customer and the hotel itself.

Inflation should ease off midway through the year

The Bank of England has announced that the peak of inflation has passed, and should continue to decrease in 2023. Whilst the cost of everything increasing has impacted hospitality businesses, customers and employees, the year ahead still looks promising for the industry as a whole. 

If these predictions are correct, people who have changed their spending habits as a result of inflation and the cost of living crisis will hopefully have more breathing room by the summer, which will then provide a positive uplift for organisations in the leisure and hospitality industry.

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