Robbie Mather, Partner and Head of Commercial Property, urges our leisure and tourism businesses to make the most of this unexpected opportunity for reflection.
William Wordsworth’s, opening line from his famous ‘Daffodils’ poem: “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” may never have seemed so poignant as it does now for leisure and tourism businesses in Cumbria. With the spring upon us, the region would usually be welcoming vast numbers of visitors to take in its beauty and celebrate international events such as Wordsworth’s 250th anniversary.
Instead, the fells coastlines and heritage walks are quiet from the Furness Peninsula to the Solway Coast, and along the surrounds of Hadrian’s Wall. The lakes are lifeless and our restaurants, shops, cafes and hotels are empty. However, while the loneliness and uncertainty is tough right now, we want to reassure you that this current climate will not last forever, and support is on hand. We are continuously assisting many clients with various helpful initiatives relating to the Business Interruption Loan, Job Retention Scheme, Rates Support and the Grants available. For those that have not yet sought the assistance of these schemes and initiatives, or discussed the current climate with your key advisors and stakeholders; do so!
Yes, the short-term period is going to be tough, but allow yourself some positivity for the medium term as what this county has shown on numerous occasions over the past 20 years is a resilience to get back on its feet. What I have seen and heard over the past couple of weeks, is that sort of resilience and community spirit which will help see “normality” return. It has been remarkable how many businesses in this sector have been creative and adapted to the current climate, by taking the business to the consumer; through use of relaxed planning legislation to permit ‘click and collect’ of meals; virtual tours of attractions and accommodation; and other inventive cyber interactions.
Now is an unexpected moment in time to re -evaluate your business plan, and decide how you will execute it when lockdown has been lifted. What is unique about your business? Why should a consumer choose you? These are questions you should answer during this moment of downtime, and remember, being creative and adapting in these times will undoubtedly assist going forward. I have already had conversations with clients thinking about how they can extend the season: winter barbeque anyone? Think about ways you can diversify, and extend your offering.
The Lake District, and the public’s affection for this area, will have only enhanced throughout this pandemic. This “time-out” period will have re-affirmed for many that being able to spend time with their loved ones is the number one priority. What better place to do this than in Lake District and surrounds? The “Staycation” will surely rise in popularity until public confidence increases for travel abroad and in the economy returns. How is your business equipped for this change should international visitors drop?
How will your business adapt now and, in the future, when the world is, once again, able to “dance with the daffodils”?
Should you or your business require any support throughout this period please contact Robbie Mather on 01228 552222 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .