More than £3 billion is set to be spent on ‘nights out’ every month over the next six months – equivalent to over 170 million pints a week.
Following 14 months of heavy restrictions, a fifth (21%) of hospitality and leisure businesses report sustained demand since reopening and are almost fully booked (75%+) until the autumn, according to research from Smart Energy GB.
It suggests that eating out could add £25 billion to the economy over the next six months.
Despite restrictions creating a challenging trading environment, 43% of hospitality and leisure businesses have reported an increase in trade in comparison to pre-pandemic levels (April 2021 vs April 2019), with a fifth (21%) seeing trade increase by more than 41%.
And with Christmas being cancelled last year, an encouraging 47% of hospitality and leisure businesses said they have already been taking bookings for the festive season.
The research shows how more than half of hospitality businesses have used lockdowns to ‘reset’ and make their operations more financially viable, efficient and sustainable for recovery.
The last year has also seen one in 10 (8%) small hospitality businesses installing a smart meter, with a further 11% having applied for one and 19% planning to get one to help better manage their energy use.
The new technology available for businesses from energy suppliers gives accurate bills, so each month, operators only have to pay for the energy they actually use.
Fflur Lawton, head of public affairs at Smart Energy GB, said: “The last 18 months have been incredibly tough for businesses but with the world starting to re-open, we’re all looking forward to a busy summer. Many businesses have been looking at ways they can optimise themselves and the experience of their customers, by upgrading their booking systems or getting a smart meter installed to gain more control over their business’ energy spend.”