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Brexit continues to divide UK hospitality business owners

A third of UK hospitality business owners believe there will be negative implications to their customers in the post-Brexit era, a study has found.

The 2018 Hospitality Sector report, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor, looked at business owners’ perspectives on local and global factors that may impact their businesses, finding that only one in five UK hospitality business owners (18%) believe Brexit will positively impact their customers.

The report, which surveyed 2,395 hospitality business owners across the US and Europe including over 300 business owners in the UK, also found that 43% of respondents (48% in the UK) see global economic conditions as a negative factor impacting their business.

The optimistic view in the accommodation sector, according to the study, is due to the number of smaller and independent accommodation owners (83%) among the respondents while 67% of respondents in large hotel chains expressed concern about employment following Brexit.

The report also showed customer service and online marketing as future concerns of UK hospitality business owners with 41% of UK business owners investing in customer service, 90% of UK accommodation businesses focusing on online booking and 60% of UK restaurant owners focusing on online reservations in 2018.

CEO of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, said: “The TripAdvisor Hospitality Report confirms the perceived challenges that hospitality and tourism businesses believe they will face post-Brexit. I’m confident that the detailed conversations we have had – and continue to have – with Government, will ease those challenges.

“Hospitality employs over 10% of the total number of EU workers currently living in the UK and one in five EU workers are currently employed in the food and drink supply chain. They make an enormous contribution to our industry and to the wider UK economy, providing valuable skills that enhance our businesses and customer experiences.”

Sally Davey, TripAdvisor global director of industry relations, said: “The Hospitality Sector Report shows that whatever concerns they may have about the impact of external factors such as the economy and Brexit, hospitality businesses in the UK are investing heavily in their online presence and reputation.

“Some 77% of the hospitality professionals we surveyed said that they are focusing on working with the right online marketing services this year, showing the importance of having a solid online presence for a successful business.”

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