A survey of 1,000 consumers showed that 41% plan to cut back on socialising this Christmas, which would be a significant blow to the hospitality sector during its busiest time of year.
Bars and restaurants are also competing with ‘at home’ entertaining as the top areas that consumers plan to spend more on are Christmas dinners (25%), food and drink at home (24%), and presents (23%).
“December is such a key trading month for hospitality but economic headwinds are dampening festive plans,” says Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at the audit, tax and consulting firm.
“Cuts to corporate funded Christmas parties combined with consumers switching focus to a wholesome ‘at home’ Christmas could see spending in pubs and restaurants hit hard this year.”
RSM UK has also highlighted the impact of transport strikes to the sector last year and warned that it could it happen again.
“Transport strikes cost bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels in the UK an estimated £1.5bn in December alone last year and proved to be the final “nail in the coffin” for many businesses still reeling after Covid. A festive trading period free of travel disruptions is critical if businesses are to survive through the quieter trading months of 2024.”
Earlier this week (6 November) the Government announced that it is to introduce new minimum service level regulations to mitigate disruption and ensure public services continue to operate if strikes are called.
Under the new legislation, train operators will be required to run 40% of their normal timetable as normal on strike days. Additionally, in the case of strikes that affect rail infrastructure services, certain ‘priority routes’ must remain open, although the Government is yet to say which journeys will be covered.