18 May 2021

Author: Lee Shortt is our Principal Consultant for Travel & Leisure. 


With lockdown restrictions easing this week, the first flights full of holidaymakers heading off to Portugal and a pint allowed inside a pub again, there is optimism in the air. But with concerns over the Indian variant and doubts over a complete lifting of restrictions in June, that optimism is tempered. 


I work extensively with clients in the travel, leisure and hospitality sector and have seen first-hand how difficult the last 12 – 14 months have been. But there are green shoots that we should cling on to.  


Figures released today by the ONS suggest that the number of employees on payroll in April was up 97,000 on March and is now 190,000 up on the low point reached after the onset of the pandemic. And a lot of that recovery is being seen in sectors such as hospitality and entertainment.  





In the travel sector, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary says he is seeing the start of a strong rebound for travel as the easing of lockdown releases pent-up demand. 


Talking to the BBC Mr O'Leary said there were signs the "recovery has already begun".  Bookings are up from 500,000 a week in early April to 1.5 million a week now. 


"The rate of bookings suggests there is a huge amount of confidence. We are very optimistic for the next couple of months." 


According to figures produced by Barclaycard “Two-fifths of Britons are planning a holiday within the UK this year, the research said, adding that 41% of them were planning to spend more than they would normally spend if they were travelling overseas.”  


And the easing of lockdown restrictions is also inspiring other entertainment-related purchases: spending on leisure activities such as family days out, theme parks, and gym memberships, was down 57.9% compared to two years ago.  


That might not sound very positive but in February the decline had been 83.2%, so the numbers are at least going in the right direction.  


What Our Clients & Candidates Say


We thought we’d get a sense of feeling from those in the industry we know best, our clients and candidates. Conducting a short survey recently, we found that of those surveyed, that just over half (53%) their businesses had made redundancies in the last 12 months. Therefore, perhaps unsurprisingly, confidence in their own job security was not that high.  


Confidence in the Travel, Leisure and Hospitality sector overall was there, but the majority of our respondents remain cautious. 




Perhaps something that was most interesting and potentially concerning for the sector is the risk of a talent drain, with most of our respondents saying they were “Likely” or “Very Likely” to consider moving away from the sector in the next 12 months.  


It is fantastic to see pubs and restaurants opening their doors again, planes taking off and entertainment starting up again, but it is clear, another very difficult year lies ahead with a significant bounce back required and the risk of remaining talent leaving the sector.  

If you’d like to talk about your marketing & creative talent requirements in Travel or Leisure, get in touch today! 

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