More than one-third of businesses in the UK’s travel, hospitality and leisure sector are behind where they need to be with their preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to the latest Games Readiness research from business advisory firm Deloitte. However 55 per cent believe they are on track, compared to 32 per cent when asked the question in 2010.
Almost half (49 per cent) identified staff availability as the biggest challenge they could face during Games time, yet just 14 per cent in the sector say they will make changes to their staffing levels and rosters. In preparation for disruption, 39 per cent of businesses in the sector have reviewed or intend to review their crisis response plans, while 35 per cent will re-evaluate their holiday policies.
One-quarter say they will introduce new or improved marketing, a fifth will increase stock levels or capacity to supply their products or services, and 18 per cent will introduce longer trading hours during the duration of the Games.
Graham Pickett, head of travel, hospitality and tourism at Deloitte, said: “Having the sufficient levels of staff in place to manage passenger and visitor expectations will be essential. London 2012 is an immovable deadline and businesses in this sector must recognise that they now need to act quickly to make the most of the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, London & Partners’ director of business tourism & major events Tracy Halliwell told attendees at this week’s Event Organisers Summit at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel that while London was likely to be exceptionally busy for the 100-day period from the Queen’s Jubilee onwards, it would only be the two weeks over the main Olympics period where “business is unusual”.
“Everyone’s waiting for LOCOG to decide what they will take up from the hotel allocations – my personal view is that they will take up all of them. Event agencies are now block booking hotel rooms and many hotels are now going out to key corporate clients and asking if they want rooms held so they can take those out of the inventory before going to the general market. LOCOG should make its decision in February, so space should start freeing up by then.
“For day meetings (at hotels) there should be a lot of space available and I think you’ll find some good deals.”