I was desperate not to mention Brexit in this blog. But I couldn’t fight it, in the end.
This is a week when we’re seeing unprecedented upheaval; the UK Parliament prorogued, MPs turning on one another, and yet more protest marches taking to the streets.
I’m more aware than ever that, whatever the outcome, and whatever one’s own political leanings, the result of Britain leaving the EU – especially without any withdrawal agreement with the continent – is going to have a profound effect.
And there can’t be many industries that will be more completely affected than hospitality. Tourism is, after all, based on the movement of people to stay in places other than their own home, and the sector accounts for one in ten of all jobs in the UK and one in thirteen in Europe.
From staffing issues, to the food on the plate; from the manufacture and distribution of furniture, to sourcing fresh flowers for reception desks; from keeping laundry and housekeeping moving, to keeping the lights on; from bringing visitors into the country by whatever transport means, to the value of sterling against every other currency.
Everything in the hospitality industry globally will have to adapt and manage, whatever change comes.
And we mustn’t forget those looking to visit the UK, either. They may find delays at customs, or changes to the offerings within their accommodation, or a completely different system if, heaven forbid, they fall ill in the UK – never mind any possible upheaval to fuel, food supplies or issues with banks and insurances.
But one thing I hope will never change.
And that’s the resolve within our own sector of the wider industry on both sides of the Channel to keep the wheels turning and place the guest at the heart of everything we do. There’s never been a more important time to step up our services, be confident about our offering, and weather any storms together, with trust in the future.
Six weeks down the line, when we’ve finished with our early bird rates for the Convention – don’t be distracted from that at least! – and the nights have pretty much drawn in at least on this side of the world, let’s hope we’re all still standing, and looking forward to whatever comes next with confidence and resolution.