Bristol hotels ready to take on hundreds of workers ahead of reopening for staycations

March 26, 2021

Hotels in Bristol are preparing to take on around 500 new staff – many of them jobless young people – ahead of what they predict will be a very busy summer once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

The Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA), which represents 40 hotels in and around the city with around 4,000 rooms between them, says early indications suggest there will be a surge in demand for ‘staycations’ as uncertainty remains about the safety of travelling abroad. 

BHA members are also seeing an increase in inquiries about conferences from September and have even started taking calls about Christmas parties.

The government’s ‘roadmap to recovery’ has given May 17 as the first date by which hotels are able to fully open.

The BHA says if they are going to welcome guests back in what is now just over seven weeks away,  hotels need to be adequately staffed.

BHA chair Raphael Herzog, pictured, said: “After one of the most difficult years any of us can remember we are now in a position to begin to plan with some certainty for when we can re-open, hopefully without having to go back into lockdown again.

“Around the city, hotels will be looking to recruit at least 500 people, and are planning to recruit even more over the summer, as efforts are made to promote Bristol as a destination and attract tourists back to the city.” 

The lucrative corporate event business could also start coming back strongly later this year, the BHA believes.

“With many companies still forced to work from home, or downsizing their offices, it is clear that the demand for small meetings will be strong, as people will still have to meet up, and many have had enough of Teams and Zoom, and would prefer face-to-face meetings,” said Mr Herzog.

“If all restrictions are lifted on June 21, as provisionally laid out in the government’s roadmap, it is expected that many family gatherings will return to hotels, such as wedding anniversaries, milestone birthdays, christenings and other celebrations.

“Many hotels also have a backlog of weddings that were postponed because of the pandemic, and some are still hoping to host around 100 weddings between June and December.

“All these positive steps forward are why are now getting ready to recruit.”

Many BHA members will be using the government’s Kickstart Scheme to staff up ahead of re-opening. The scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for people aged between 16 and 24 who are on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment.

Mr Herzog said: “Even if we do all re-open on May 17, we won’t instantly be able to operate at the same levels of income we were at pre-lockdown, so any support we can get will be extremely helpful in order to secure our long-term recovery.

“The Kickstart Scheme is going to be extremely valuable, a huge help not only to us but to those young people. It provides funding for 25 hours of work a week for a total of six months, but who knows what may happen after that.

“If our businesses recover as we hope they will, and the young people find that they enjoy their experience in the hospitality industry, then perhaps this is not just a short-term support scheme to help kick-start our recovery but could be the beginning of a long and enjoyable career for people in our wonderful sector.

“The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit through the pandemic. We’ve always been among the first businesses to be forced to close and among the last to be able to re-open through each lockdown.

“But there is finally some cause for optimism now and that is going to be positive news for our businesses, positive news for the city as a whole, and very welcome news for the hundreds of people we are going to be looking to recruit over the coming weeks.

“The measures announced in the Budget, such as the extended business rates holiday and reduced rates of VAT, will all contribute towards getting our businesses back up and running fully.”


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