Dublin may double hotel capacity by 2023

29 January 2019 Consultancy.uk

Dublin could support the doubling of its hotel room capacity in the hope of cashing in on tourists deterred from visiting the UK by Brexit, according to a new industrial forecast. By 2023, some 3,000 rooms could be opened in the Irish capital, in addition to the 699 currently being built. 

Foreign tourists arriving in the UK grew by 9% in volume in 2017, with the industry bringing in close to £24.5 billion in that time. The tourist industry employs around 2.9 million people, representing around 10% of employment, so should the sector encounter headwinds in the near future, it could have dire consequences for the nation. This represents a major opportunity for the tourist industry of Ireland, however, which will be looking to cash in on Brexit anxiety in the coming months. 

While London retains a reputation as one of Europe’s top destination – 32% of respondents in a tourist survey by Deloitte favoured the British capital, which has fallen behind Dutch capital Amsterdam. Barcelona came in third, cited by 28% of respondents as the most attractive, but importantly, the number favouring Dublin grew to 24%.

Dublin may double hotel capacity by 2023

Now, consultants from Crowe have claimed that Dublin could support a doubling in hotel room capacity over the next seven years, as it seeks to make the most of this spike in demand. In spite of significant increases in demand, the level of hotel supply in Dublin over the past decade has been maintained at about 150 hotels and 19,000 rooms. Based on planning and developer appetite, however, Crowe concluded that 3,000 hotel rooms could be opened in Dublin by 2023 in addition to the 699 rooms currently under construction and ready to be delivered for Dublin by 2020.

Performing the research on behalf of hotelier Brian McGettigan – currently seeking to construct a seven-storey, 65-bedroom hotel at Parnell Street and Capel Street, Dublin – Crowe forecast that 2019 will be “another year of growth” in the sector, but “we do not anticipate it will be at the same levels as previous as new supply entered the market and as the current hotel supply absorbs some of the VAT increase.”

Dublin currently has 149 registered hotels with 19,381 rooms, of which 44% are located in Dublin city centre, and a hotel will take two to three years to stabilise within its local area, making a drastic rise less likely usually. However, the analysts added that in the case of new Dublin city-centre hotels, “stabilisation should be reached sooner as demand is so strong.”

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Women remain underrepresented in UK's hospitality industry leadership

12 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Female engagement at the top level of the UK hospitality industry is still lagging, with the vast majority of decision-making roles continue to be held by men. Only 7% of the industry’s FTSE 350 CEOs are women; however, the pay gap in hospitality and leisure is far better than in other industries, at a median of approximately 7%.

The hospitality, travel and leisure (HTL) sector is one of the UK’s largest employers, with 3.2 million people working in its segments. Despite a poor 2018 in terms of tightening consumer spending, the industry is still one of the top sectors in terms of economic activity, hitting £130 billion last year – besting the UK’s automotive, pharmaceutical and aeronautical sectors’ combined activities.

While the industry is one of the country’s largest employers, it still faces considerable issues around diversity at the top. New analysis from PwC has explored the matter, as well what initiatives the industry has engaged to open up its top ranks to a more diverse background.

Female representation at board level for UK companies and HTLs

According to a survey of CEOs, Chairs or HR Directors of over 100 of the most significant leisure businesses across the UK, the hospitality industry has a relatively male-dominated top level. This lags behind the FTSE 100, where companies have female board level representation at 32.2%. Meanwhile, the figure for the combined executive committee and direct reports stands at 28%. This is well above FTSE 250 levels, where female board level representation stands at 22.4% and executive committee & direct reports stand at 27.8%.

For the hospitality industry as a whole, board level representation came in at 23.6%, with FTSE 350 for the industry performing slightly better at 25.1%, while non-listed companies performed considerably worse at 18.2%. The firm notes that the figures hide that while some companies are making strides to improve equality, others are not moving forward – with the positive result reflecting more often the good work of some, while others are not taking the issue seriously in their agenda setting.

Blind spot

The study states, however, that while the overall numbers are relatively strong, the industry has a number of acute weaknesses. These include CEO numbers, with only 7% of HTL FTSE 350 companies helmed by women and 11% of non-listed companies led by female CEOs. Meanwhile, female chairs at FTSE 350 companies for the sector stand at zero. In terms of wider diversity representation, only 1 in 33 leaders at industry companies is from a BAME background.

Pay gap for HTL and hospitality

The report noted discrepancies between FTSE 100 companies and FTSE 250 in terms of improving the number of women at executive level. The majority have met the Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% women at board level, up from around 25% in 2016. However, the remaining ~40% are not on target, and are unlikely to meet the target by 2020. A similar trend is noted when it comes to executive committee and direct reporting numbers.

Jon Terry, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting Leader at PwC, said, "To make real progress in diversity and inclusion, businesses need to elevate it onto the CEO’s agenda and align diversity & inclusion strategy to the fundamentals of the business."

Tracking progress FTSE 250 level

However, one area where hospitality travel and leisure companies are outperforming other companies in the wider UK economy, is the mean and median pay gap between men and women. PwC found that the median of the wider UK economy comes is approximately 14% – with upper quartile companies noted for a gap of low 20%, and lower quartile companies noted for differences of around 2%.

The median pay gap for HTL comes in at well below 7%, with the median close to parity. There are considerable differences, however, with hospitality at 7%, while travel comes in considerably higher, at 22%. The latter figure reflects fewer women in higher paid pilot and technical positions within the industry.