The past year has been fraught with rail strikes as the ASLEF union(which represents train drivers) dispute over pay and working conditions, and the RMT (representing transport workers across the UK) dispute over pay, working conditions and job cuts.
Caught in this dispute is the everyday traveller and, from this, seen as “collateral damage” is the Hospitality sector.
A recent article from the Morning Advertiser discusses how “Christmas will have come early” for Hospitality if there is an agreement on a new deal with the RMT that could see the end of currently planned Christmas rail strikes.
UK Hospitality estimated the sector has lost £3.5bn due to the industrial action, and with Christmas bookings already behind what they were anywhere due to the uncertainty of current events, this number is potentially only looking to grow.
If rail strikes persist over the Christmas period, the hospitality sector could face compounded losses. Christmas bookings, already lagging due to the prevailing uncertainty, could plummet further as travellers cancel or defer their plans due to transportation issues. This would lead to a significant drop in potential customers, thereby escalating the financial impact.
Simultaneously, the strikes could also adversely affect the workforce. Many staff members rely on trains for commuting, and strikes could prevent them from getting to work. This could result in understaffed establishments during the peak holiday rush, impinging further on service quality and customer satisfaction.
On a more optimistic note, if an agreement on a new deal is reached in time to avert the Christmas rail strikes, the hospitality sector could breathe a sigh of relief. The end of rail strikes would allow travellers to proceed with their plans, potentially leading to a surge in bookings. This could recuperate some of the losses incurred due to the strikes and impart much-needed momentum to an industry in distress.
Our fingers are crossed that a deal will be made over the Christmas period, to give the sector a much-needed boost. The conclusion of this dispute before the holiday season is critical to the financial health and smooth operation of the hospitality industry during one of its busiest periods.
For help with your hospitality business’ finances during this festive period, whether a deal is met of not, get in touch with ETC Finance. Financial experts in the Hospitality sector.