Hotels, pubs and restaurants are facing the biggest crisis in living memory, according to the UK Hospitality trade association, with one in ten properties at risk of closure over the winter, partly as a result of the energy crisis.
The latest Hospitality Market Monitor from the market researchers CGA and the management consultants AlixPartners shows that 2,230 licensed premises closed down between June and September, which translates to an average of 24 per day.
Recent casualties include Crockers in Henley, Surrey; the popular Fox Hall Inn in Richmond, North Yorkshire; the Great House hotel in Lavenham, Suffolk; and the art deco Aberdeen Northern Hotel. In Chester the Bridge Street Townhouse hotel has been mothballed for a year in an attempt to save the business, with its owner, Steve Hesketh, blaming the continuing staffing crisis, rising energy and service costs and the impact of Brexit.
Crockers at Henley, which was included in the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Stay list for 2020, has been forced to close
“Energy prices rose by up to 200 per cent in the first quarter and by up to 400 per cent in the second,” said the UK Hospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls. But even though gas prices have seen sharp falls — from £6.70 per therm in August to £1.80 last week — some analysts say that the pressure on operating costs is unlikely to ease before 2024.
“Room rates rose by around 10 per cent in June,” Nicholls said, “but with overall costs now up by around 18 per cent and rising, half of our members are not breaking even, and that’s not sustainable. We will inevitably see more closures — potentially one in ten — in the independent sector this winter.”
Survival strategies include taking rooms or entire floors off sale, reducing