UK hospitality sector feels the squeeze as 1 in 4 businesses fear closing due to energy crisis
- 1 in 4 bosses consider closing in the next year due to unprecedented energy costs.
- 83% may cut staff hours or make redundancies.
- 94% of businesses waste more than a fifth of their energy each year.
- Crisis offers boost for solar as half of respondents consider installing onsite renewables.
Business leaders in the hospitality and leisure sector are already starting to suffer the impacts of the energy price crisis, with a quarter of bosses considering closure in the next 12 months, according to new research commissioned by digital energy services company, eEnergy.
Sky-high energy bills have had a severe impact on businesses across the hospitality and leisure sector. According to the representative poll of 300 UK business owners and senior executives carried out by Censuswide on behalf of eEnergy, over three quarters have considered reducing opening hours in response to rising energy bills.
There is also concern among business leaders that the long-term effects will have an even greater impact on a sector still recovering from Covid lockdowns and supply chain challenges. Over 90% of business leaders surveyed said they did not expect energy prices to return to last year’s levels within the next 12 months. In response, 83% said they either had or were considering making redundancies or reducing staff hours to cope with rising prices.
While the unfolding crisis has been caused by record energy prices, it has been exacerbated by poor energy efficiency, with 94% of businesses reporting that they waste more than a fifth of their energy each year. With businesses likely to face more pressure in autumn and winter, calls have grown for additional government support to help ease the strain. Of the businesses surveyed, a quarter said that introducing better energy efficiency measures was the long-term solution, while nearly a third (29%) called for a government support scheme to be introduced to help the sector.
Encouragingly, amid the crisis, demand for energy efficiency solutions has jumped; from installing LED lighting, to using energy analytics to identify inefficient machinery or drive positive behavioural change.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, said: “The hospitality and leisure sector has been played a terrible hand over the past two years. Sky-high energy prices have heaped pressure on businesses still reeling from Covid. With many business owners considering redundancies or even closure, solutions are needed now, but we do not need to wait for government intervention.”
“Government grants to finance energy saving solutions only have a 5-10% conversion rate and for most it takes 6-12 months to get a decision, causing further delays and burning more cash – and carbon. We believe the answer is simple: cutting energy waste and carbon should be as accessible as any subscription service, without upfront costs.”
Steve Alton, CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), commented: “Our members, who independently operate pubs in every community across the UK, are all facing exceptional business pressures and the largest impact on their profitability is utility cost increases. With many operators struggling to make any profit despite summer trading, their position is extremely fragile. There is no need for business failure with the right level of support which will allow our nation’s pubs to be at the heart of levelling up and regeneration in every community.”
Crucially, the energy crisis comes at a time of growing action on environmental issues. Almost three-quarters of businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector said they had plans to reach net zero emissions, with almost half considering installing solar panels as a solution to high energy costs and the climate crisis.
This is reflected in consumer trends, with the same Censuswide research finding that three-quarters of people see a hospitality business’ sustainability credentials as an important factor when deciding where to spend their money (based on 1,000 British consumers surveyed).
Established over 20 years ago to provide cleaner energy and LED lighting to UK businesses, eEnergy has expanded its service to enable customers to measure waste, reduce carbon and energy costs, and connect to a more sustainable future. The end-to-end eEnergy service now enables businesses to access EV charging and solar power, without upfront costs, on a risk-free contract basis.
Harvey Sinclair concluded: “This survey shows UK businesses appreciate the scale of the challenge faced. We must all now work together to make better use of the affordable solutions that are readily available to overcome today’s challenges and put the UK back on track to reach net zero; from cutting energy waste to installing solar panels and EV chargers. This is good for profits and jobs, good for the planet, and it’s all possible without upfront costs or taxpayer support.”