17 January 2020

Hotel owners must embrace digital solutions to help overcome stormy waters that are on the horizon.

Hoteliers who refuse to embrace the digital age face putting their businesses into jeopardy as the sector faces rocky waters ahead, warns an insolvency expert.

David Stephens, a senior member of Wilkin Chapman’s Business Solutions team, was commenting on latest statistics that show a growing number of hotel businesses running into difficulty. Over the year to September 2019 there was a 60 per cent increase in insolvencies involving hoteliers across the UK – representing a five-year high. In all, 144 individual sites were affected.

This, said David, was due to a combination of factors, which include a drop in overseas tourism by three per cent, a slowdown in the UK economy leading to a cut in conference, networking and business spend, and a squeeze on margins with higher business rates, the increase in the minimum wage, a weakened pound and costlier food and drink imports.

However, a priority driver for hoteliers comes from a reported boom in staycations and the massive choice of accommodation that people have, driven by online booking platforms and digital marketing, especially among competitors. While this increase in Britons staying in the UK for their holidays was good news, the reluctance of some hoteliers to grasp the digital nettle may see them lose out, he warned.

“Of course, there are a number of external factors as already outlined and these are challenges, which business owners are unable to control,” said David.

“However, this is not the case when it comes to looking at how they can best use the latest technology to help them. It is here that the battle to win customers is being fought with a huge number of popular and experienced online platforms being used to select and book. Hoteliers are facing a major change and they need to take their place in the digital market or face difficulties.

“As a country we face challenging times with the ever-looming Brexit, giving rise to a period when the UK economy must settle into new waters. Bearing this in mind, it is important that businesses seek advice early and keep a close eye on their margins to prevent uncontrollable debt,” added David.

For more on any aspect of financial and debt control please speak to David on 01302 342875 or email david.stephens@wilkinchapman.co.uk

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