The UK boss of hotel group Best Western has called for an extra bank holiday in October to help the hospitality industry in its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rob Paterson, chief executive of Best Western Hotel Group GB, said there was “merit” in creating an extra bank holiday this autumn to help extend the domestic travel season.
Paterson, speaking at Travel Technology Initiative (TTI)’s online spring conference, added: “I still think there’s merit in adjusting in the short term to support the hospitality industry with some kind of bank holiday in October.”
He said he was “expecting very high demand” for domestic breaks this year, particularly to areas such as the Lake District, Devon and Cornwall.
“It’s going to sporadic in its location – Best Western is more in rural country settings and that’s very good for hospitality already; we can see that in the demand.”
Paterson added that hotels at airports, in city centres or with large conference facilities may need to use “tactical offers” to stimulate demand as the domestic industry reopens.
He also said there could be “significant” price increases for properties in some of the most popular UK destinations due to high demand.
“We think there’s very good reason to believe there’s going to be a strong bounce back, particularly in the leisure market,” said Paterson.
“There was a spike on the day the road map was announced – on that day it was our single biggest booking day since August on our website.”
Paterson said the pandemic had also “created so much innovation” within the travel industry, such as the rapid adoption by Best Western members of its mobile check-in facility.