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Half of venues and agents unprepared for ‘no-deal’ Brexit

Half of hospitality and event venues and agencies have made little or no preparation for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, 15.6% have done ‘something’ while 34.4% have ’done as much as they can,’ according the 2019 HBAA Brexit survey.

Similarly, 29.0% have prepared ‘as far as they can’ for a Customs Agreement or for Single Market membership, 16.2% have completed ‘some’ preparation for this and 54.8% have again ‘done little or nothing’.

Meanwhile, the HBAA’s third annual Brexit survey of its members also reports that the influence of Brexit on business and recruitment in the industry is increasing substantially.

‘The uncertainty has been difficult,’ is a confidential comment which typifies the views of many respondents on their approach both to preparing for potential outcomes and on how Brexit has impacted on their businesses.

Impact on business

When asked whether Brexit has had a noticeable impact on their business as a whole, only 15.6% this year say it has had none. This is in marked contrast to a year ago when 57.7% reported no impact and that had risen from 47.7% in 2017. While the proportion saying that it has had a significant impact changed very little (6.2% this year, 5.8% last year), the other major change is that the group of those who have noticed a slight impact has grown substantially in the last 12 months from 36.5% to 78.1%.

While many are now noticing some effect, the results are a mixture of both positive and negative. Soon after the vote, some saw a benefit to business from the drop in the value of sterling. Now, there are also reports that the uncertainty has actually had a positive impact for some UK based venues as more businesses have opted to keep their events within the UK instead of going overseas. At the same time many noted that, because of the uncertainty, business was slow or went down in the months before 29 March, the original leaving date.

Major impact on recruitment

The growing impact on recruitment has been striking. 18.7% now report that Brexit has had a major impact whereas 12 months ago that figure was just 9.6% and in 2017, only 2.3% of respondents held that view. Those saying that it has had no effect on recruitment have decreased to 62.5% from 67.3% a year ago and from 80.2% in 2017.

Correspondingly, 19.3% of members have now changed their recruitment policies since the decision to leave the EU, up from 13.7% a year ago. 25% expect to change their policy in the next two years, an increase from 19.2% in 2018.

Angie Mason, HBAA chair says; “Most organisations are trying to focus on ‘business as usual’ as it is virtually impossible to prepare for every eventuality while the uncertainty continues. But it is proving difficult.

“Whatever the outcome, the need for immediate and long-term action to address recruitment issues is clear. A key element of the solution is the Next Generation, encouraging them to join the industry and helping them to build satisfying careers in it. The HBAA’s current campaign to support the Next Generation is an important step in helping to resolve the impact that Brexit is having on staffing.”