South Coast Hotels Unite to Ensure Industry Recovery

The hospitality industry has been hit hard during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was one of the first industries impacted and looks set to have a long road to recovery ahead, but for the Southampton & Region Hoteliers Association, the work behind the scenes has not stopped. 

The association, formed in 1956, consists of over 35 hotels and venues in the Southampton region who have continued to work together to understand the effects Covid-19 has and will have on their industry. Very much reliant in government initiatives and consumer behaviour, the hoteliers have been absorbing countless webinars, podcasts, zoom calls and blogs on what the future may look like, and by sharing the information and discussions, are finding their best path to re-opening. 

A united voice has been a key focus, and for the first time associations have united with the Chairpersons of Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Weymouth Hoteliers Associations maintaining regular communication and cascading information as appropriate. 

Richard Powell,  Chair of the association and General Manager of New Place Hotel managed by Legacy Hotels and Resorts, said “United voices in such time of uncertainty have never been more important. During these strange and ever-changing times, it is essential that we all work together to share best practice collaboration and helping each other out is key to our future success.

A lot of the venues in the area rely on very different guest segmentations, ranging from conference venues, Wedding venues, small independents to large branded environments. One thing that unites us all is our desire to welcome our guest back the ‘Central South’ as soon as we are able.

The ability to navigate our way through the vast amount of information, and to share best practice across the region is very important. We want to make sure that all our businesses are fit and ready to give guests confidence to return as soon as able.”

Southampton and it’s surrounding areas have a big seasonal leisure trade with Ferries to France, Cruise ships, wonderful beaches, and popular attractions across the Hampshire and Dorset areas – as well as two incredible National Parks in the New Forest and South Downs.

As well as consumers, the collaboration has also had a big focus on their teams. As leaders in the area, they want to make sure that they are looking out for employees during this time of uncertainty. Keeping up clear communication to their teams has been high on the association’s agenda to help combat anxieties surrounding the effects of the pandemic. Not all business, there have also been quiz nights held to help keep staff united. 

The associations have also joined forces with local councils, city bids, Business South, economic development offices and the Institute of Hospitality, to help ensure that hotels and hospitality remain firmly at the top of the local recovery agenda. With a key focus on teams’ mental wellbeing, they have laid on free Webinars in association with the institute of hospitality.

Richard said, “We have worked together on various initiatives, such as codes of action and best practice so that we can ensure team and guest confidence on a gradual and safe return. Hospitality is one big family, and having a United voice across central South has never been more important than it is now.”