Navigating the Wild Waves: The Volatility of Hospitality Businesses

Have you ever stopped to think about what keeps your favourite cozy breakfast bar or that chic urban hotel afloat? Running a hospitality business isn’t just about the best smashed avo or most Instagrammable breakfasts—there’s a rollercoaster of challenges behind the scenes that can make or break these establishments. Buckle up, because we’re about to dive into the wild and unpredictable world of hospitality!


The Peaks and Valleys of Seasonality

First off, let’s talk about seasonality. If you’ve ever tried booking at a tourist hotspot in summer or a ski lodge in winter, you know the drill. Prices soar, and availability dwindles. That’s seasonality in action. For hospitality businesses, these peak seasons are crucial. They can make enough profit during high-demand periods to float through the quieter months. But what happens when an unexpected event throws off this balance?

Imagine a snowless winter for a ski resort. No snow, no skiers. No skiers, no income. Similarly, a rainy summer can wash away the tourist influx for a seaside restaurant. These businesses hinge on predictable seasonal patterns, and when Mother Nature throws a curveball, the ripple effects can be devastating.


Economic Ups and Downs

Next up, the economy. When times are good, people love to get out and about. They splurge on experiences, book those extra nights, and dine at a plethora of restaurants. But in a downturn, eating out budgets are the first to get slashed. The financial crisis, for example, was a nightmare for the hospitality industry. Hotels and restaurants saw a sharp decline in bookings and foot traffic, leading to layoffs, closures, and in some cases, bankruptcy.

And it’s not just the big crashes. Even smaller economic shifts can have a big impact. Fluctuations in currency exchange rates can make a destination suddenly too expensive for international travellers. Trade wars and tariffs can increase the cost of imported goods, squeezing margins for the restaurants and hotels that rely on them.


The Technology Tidal Wave

Now, let’s chat about technology. The digital age has been a double-edged sword for the hospitality industry. On the one hand, online booking platforms and social media marketing have revolutionised how businesses reach and serve customers. On the other hand, the rise of food delivery platforms like Uber Eats has introduced fierce competition, often tempting hungry customers with price and flexibility.

Not to mention that keeping up with technology isn’t always cheap. Upgrading booking systems, maintaining an engaging social media presence, and implementing smart room technologies require significant investment. For smaller establishments, the costs can be prohibitive, leaving them at a disadvantage compared to larger, tech-savvy chains. But luckily there are places like Ai Menu that offer great restaurant tech deals to help businesses of all sizes stay competitive. 


The Whims of Trends

Hospitality is also deeply influenced by trends, which can be as fickle as the latest fashion craze. A few years ago, everyone wanted something loaded, whether it be nachos, doughnuts, milkshakes… whatever would make for the most likable social media post. Then there are the trends of aesthetics, which seem to change almost daily. Sometimes it’s the 50’s style that attracts the hoards, and other times it’s the chic industrial that turns your venue into the new local.

But trends aren’t just about Instagrammable foods and catering to the latest viral TikTok craze. Dietary trends can (and often already do) force restaurants to overhaul their menus. Gluten-free, vegan, keto—keeping up with dietary preferences can be a logistical headache, especially for smaller establishments. But if you want to keep big groups coming in, catering to dietary needs is crucial.


Global Crises: The Unpredictable Storms

And then we have the global crises. The unpredictable storms that can shake the very foundations of the hospitality industry. The recent COVID-19 pandemic is the most glaring example. Overnight, travel ground to a halt. Hotels closed their doors, and restaurants shifted to takeout models just to survive. Recovery has been slow and arduous, with many businesses still grappling with the after effects.

Natural disasters, political instability, and health scares also fall into this category. A hurricane can decimate a resort area, political unrest can deter tourists, and an outbreak of disease can lead to widespread cancellations. These events are often beyond the control of business owners, yet they must navigate the fallout and find ways to bounce back.


The Resilience Factor

So, why do people still venture into the hospitality industry despite these challenges? It boils down to passion and resilience. There’s a unique joy in creating memorable experiences for guests – in being part of their stories and adventures. Hospitality professionals are some of the most adaptable and creative people you’ll meet, constantly finding ways to innovate and improve.

The volatility of the hospitality business is not for the faint of heart. It requires a blend of strategic planning, adaptability, and a sprinkle of good fortune. But for those who love the thrill of the ride, it’s a journey unlike any other. So, the next time you check into a hotel or enjoy a mouthwatering meal at a restaurant, spare a thought for the rollercoaster ride that is the hospitality industry. And maybe leave a generous tip—every bit helps in navigating those wild waves!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive updates, promotions, and sneak peaks of upcoming products. Plus 20% off your next order.

Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue