There has been an average reduction of 39 per cent in full time equivalent positions within agencies in the meeting, events and accommodation industry since February 2020, according to a new HBAA survey due to be published in April.
This figure has increased by 9% since June 2020 when a previous HBAA study revealed that 30% of employees working in the sector at the time were at risk of redundancy.
The HBAA’s Q1 2021 research, which surveyed close to 100 members, also revealed that 20% of venues and agencies have not received any grants or business rates relief.
Some 74% of agencies also said their business needed an extension to the government’s furlough scheme and 44% need the relief on business rates to be able to continue.
HBAA anticipates it will be easier for venues more than agency members to continue to benefit from business rates relief now confirmed for 2021-22. Agencies will be left in the precarious position of relying on grants from Local Authorities.
Julie Shorrock, HBAA Membership Director and Managing Director of Hotel and Travel Solutions, said: “This research shows the grave effect the pandemic has had on the meeting, events and accommodation industry. Bearing in mind this survey has been conducted during the furlough period, it is likely there will be more redundancies when the scheme ends unless there is a dramatic upturn in business. It is of great concern that the furlough scheme is hiding the true impact of Covid-19 on our industry.
“HBAA has continued to strive to support members throughout the pandemic with a voice into government via the BVEP and directly, and by providing timely advice and education on pertinent issues. It has also been important for us to bring together our community to share ideas, experiences and best practices around our four pillars of resilience, innovation, ethics and quality. Our immediate priorities going forward are to continue campaigning for recognition and sector specific support, to provide our members with the toolkits they need to revive their businesses, and to build customer confidence to spend again.”