UK enters recession, and jobs now will be the focus
UK enters recession, and jobs now will be the focus
17 AUGUST 2020 7:16 AM

The pain of hotel-industry job losses has not been fully felt yet, but the successful placement of my three cats adds to global revenue streams.

As is well known, a recession occurs if an economy posts negative growth for two consecutive quarters, with inflation taken into account.

The United Kingdom has officially entered a recession, according to the government’s Office of National Statistics.

The ONS announced a record drop in gross domestic product of 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020. The previous quarter, GDP declined by 2.2%, as during January and February a majority of Brits paid little heed to a new virus starting to make news in China.

In better news, the British economy grew, month over month, by 1.8% in May and 8.7% in June.

The onus from everyone is to have the hotel industry recover, to have guests return to excellent hospitality and day by day inch up revenue per available room, but an official recognition that a recession exists—as opposed to us all feeling it exists—does change how the financial community looks at everything, mostly its own money and how it wants it to be paid back.

This will lead to job losses, and noticeably so as government salary schemes start to end. It is the next quarter in which the hotel industry might be championing increases in RevPAR and even highlighting signings and portfolio growth, but also that the carnage of COVID-19 could be most starkly evident.

Governments will all be making very soon the soul-destroying choice between getting economies back on line and the increasing debt piling up to keep society from utterly crumbling.

How much talent and love will the industry be losing globally?

So much.

I started at Hotel News Now in August 2013, right when the very worst of the Great Recession was over, so I would be interested in any comments as to what happened to jobs then. More importantly, was talent lost at the time reincorporated, or was it lost, to be replaced by new talent?

InterContinental Hotels Group executives said during a half-year 2020 earnings call on 11 August the company will likely cut its corporate staff by 10%, while a few days before Accor said it likely will have to cut 1,000 employees.

In the Guardian newspaper, London-based LGH Hotels Management, which owns 47 hotels and has approximately 2,500 people, stated “unfortunately, we see no signs that we will be able to support the return of our existing teams across our portfolio for the foreseeable future.”

Fellow U.K. newspaper The Times reported that Edwardian Hotels, an owner with a partnership with Radisson Hotel Group, is looking into eliminating 1,000 staff.

The list goes on, and will go on.

HNN has highlighted good, positive news as much as we have been able to do so during this pandemic, and I want to write on nice things, but pain is waiting.

Government policy will be the catalyst, and the rest will happen rapidly.

News on cats
I mentioned two blogs ago that I was having difficulty searching for a staycation cottage that would also accept our three cats.

This has been caused by COVID-19, of course, and the unacceptability of asking anyone to come to your home to look after pets during a pandemic.

We have been successful, I can now reveal.

I called one cottage that we liked, in a location we wanted to go to, and the owner said, “sure, cats are cleaner than dogs anyway. It is just we have never been asked for this.”

I think this summer and autumn, hoteliers and B&B operators will receive more requests along this line—rabbits, guinea pigs, giraffes, whatever—and they should be willing to move the goalposts to help guests.

And why not add a fee for each? I am paying £25 ($36) per pet per week, which is a fee that works for both sides, I believe—not too much, but a recognition that extra cleaning might be needed.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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