The bounce back: hotels still a bit down, but campers are happy


The Office for National Statistics has just published its new report "The impact of the coronavirus so far: the industries that struggled or recovered".

Unsurprisingly, one of their key findings was that the 2008 recession had a smaller impact than the COVID-19 pandemic on individual industries and the economy as a whole.

At the risk of someone asking why that bear is squatting behind that tree, the industry sector hit most heavily hit was (of course) Accommodation and Food Service Activities, which was 90% smaller by turnover in April and May 2020 than a year earlier.

Percentage change in monthly output compared with the same month in the previous year, UK

Even when restrictions in the UK were eased over the Summer so people could go on their annual holiday, turnover in the accommodation industry was still considerably lower compared with the same period in 2019.

Camping however bucked the trend and bounced back strongly, even surpassing its performance last year. Some of this may be down to people deciding to staycation in the UK because of international travel restrictions, uncertainty and the possibility of having to quarantine on their return to the UK. Other types of accommodation, such as hotels, remained depressed suggesting that people may have believed it would be easier to socially distance on a campsite than in buildings.

Over the next few months, banks will be looking closely at hoteliers and the assets on which their finance is secured. If the last recession is a good guide, pressure is likely to increase on owners to refinance or to sell if the chances of a rapid recovery look remote.  Howard Kennedy's hotels team has a strong track record of assisting owners of distressed assets with restructuring, helping them back into a strong capital position and into profitability again. We have contacts across the sector and often connect dealmakers to put deals together which can save good businesses from short-term cashflow problems.

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Even when restrictions in the UK were eased and people were allowed to go on their summer holidays, turnover in the accommodation industry was still down compared with a year ago.
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