The latest Travel and Tourism Survey conducted by West Sussex and Gatwick-based chartered accountants and tax advisers, Carpenter Box, in conjunction with MHA, the UK-wide
association of chartered accountants and business advisors, indicates that 26% of operators in the hotel and bed and breakfast sector are still unable to take online bookings.
This is despite the fact that 50% of respondents to the annual survey report a year-on-year increase in online bookings and the fact that there has been a 16% increase in the ability to take online bookings direct.
“This growth in direct transactions is good to see, especially as online booking agents have been increasingly dominating the UK hotel and bed and breakfast sector,” said Nathan Keeley, head of the Tourism & Leisure sector group at Carpenter Box. “This trend should lead to a greater online presence and more competitive offerings.”
The survey results for 2015 for the South point strongly towards growing business confidence and are encouraging for the development of the hospitality industry.
Indeed, 64% of respondents reported an increase in profits over the past 12 months, representing a rising trend in domestic trading conditions, with 59% saying that they expect to see an increase over the next 12 months. The coming holiday season will be viewed with much anticipation.
In line with other regions across the UK, one third (33%) of respondents to the survey in the South still employ workers on zero hours contracts, only slightly lower than the 37% recorded last year.
The amount of zero hour contract staff who are working 21+ hours has halved since last year to 34%.
Nathan Keeley said: “These findings are still concerning and suggest that hospitality workers on zero hours contracts are suffering through reduced paid hours.”
The percentage of companies in the South who have green policies in place has dropped to 65%, down from 82% last year and over 41% remain unaware that tax reliefs are available for introduction of such policies.
This decrease in those with green policies suggests increased financial pressure and yet at the same time there appears to be a distinct lack of awareness of the tax reliefs available,
which suggests that more publicity is needed to encourage eco-friendly investment.
A wider lack of investment reflects the position in the economy as a whole with continued difficulties in raising traditional bank finance, although there are some signs of this position easing.