The results from the latest survey on the impact COVID-19 is having on tourism businesses across the county have just been received.

Visit Lincoln  wanted to understand the impact of COVID-19 on its partners and the wider visitor economy so targeted support could be offered to business owners. Whilst emergency relief packages were quickly announced by government, the results of this survey will be submitted to DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) and the UK Government so tailored support can be offered to meet the exact needs of leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses.

Summary for Greater Lincolnshire

  • 88% of businesses are temporarily closed
  • 10% are still trading (accommodation for key workers and office work from home)
  • 7% have diversified (i.e. mainly pubs/restaurants that are doing takeaway food only)
  • 95% have indicated that they have let nearly all their staff go
  • 95% have indicated that their anticipated revenue will drop by 75-100%
  • 5% have said it is too early to know what impact will be on revenue
  • Cash flow is a major issue now and in the long-term
  • Information on re-opening so business owners can plan 
  • Business support and marketing 
  • Bringing visitors back

 

One of the areas we wanted to drill down on was the feedback around the current Government schemes. It is widely being reported that many are finding they don’t support the tourism sector enough – with seasonal working, future bookings and cancellations not qualifying for financial support.

The survey revealed that most businesses predict they can survive for a maximum of six-nine months in the current climate.

Some businesses who have been eligible for the £10k business grants have informed us that much of this has been accounted for already on refunds for guests. Many businesses report that they have still not received the actual monies, although we acknowledge that the all districts are working tirelessly to remedy this. It is a mammoth job!  Some guests are allowing accommodation providers to keep their monies paid on account for cancelled bookings if they can rebook within the year. However such bookings will reduce their overall turnover and profits during the next 12 months as the weeks rebooked will then be unavailable for new customers which would have normally taken those dates

The support needed over the short, medium and long term reflects many issues, although there are common themes around financial support, practical guidance and marketing:

Short-term:

  • Supplier/landlord understanding
  • Marketing and business advice and help to get ‘up & running’ again
  • Assistance with comprehending and responding to paperwork involved in grants/funding etc. 
  • Preparing a schedule to enable tourists to arrange bookings
  • Practical advice and guidance for  re-opening after lockdown 
  • Freeze banks charges for business accounts
  • Better publicity available for businesses who are still open

Mid-term:

  • Support in encouraging bookings to restart 
  • Advice to instil consumer confidence during the recovery curve
  • Support throughout the re-opening period
  • Extensive ‘joined up’ marketing of Lincolnshire
  • Extended financial support if lockdown/social distancing is extended

Long-term:

  • Continuous financial support if social distancing is extended; this will cause major financial difficulties for self-employed people who have no income and are already at the back of the queue for help. 
  • Extensive marketing at a county level
  • Extended business rates holiday
  • Additional grant/interest-free loans until bookings kick in again
  • Confidence that we won’t get another wave
  • VAT relief & Business Rates relief 
  • Recognition that the landscape will never be the same again

It is integral that we continue to gather this intelligence so we can effectively plan for our recovery and re-launch so we would like to thank everyone from the 160 businesses who took part.

 

We live and work in the most amazing county and have an incredible visitor offer! By collaborating and working together we can come back better!