Chris Cowls interviews UK Hospitality Chief Executive for HOSPA conference

Eproductive CEO Chris Cowls MBE spoke to Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, about the issues facing the hospitality sector during Covid/lockdowns and beyond at the recent Hybrid HOSPACE conference.

Chris is a board member of HOSPA and used some questions from HOSPA members for Kate in the wide-ranging conversation. When asked by Chris what hospitality businesses will need to do to survive and thrive in the years ahead, Kate replied: “There is a need for really good quality data and insight to inform decisions – hospitality businesses need to be fleet of foot, agile, responsive, innovative. Hospitality is, at its heart, all of those things, and the businesses which have done well in this crisis are the ones who have been able to pivot very quickly and innovate.”

Another question was about how the hospitality sector can be kept at the forefront of the government’s thinking as we pull out of the immediate crisis, to which Kate responded: “Everyone in the sector has pulled together and they have had a single united voice, which becomes incredibly powerful in making sure that the government understands and sees why hospitality is important. The main reason we’ve got the traction we have is that there are people talking to their local MPs, their local councillors, making sure they’re aware of the size and scale, and the footprint, of hospitality at a very local level.”

When Chris made the point that every MP has got a lot of hospitality employers and employees in their constituency, Kate said: “Yes, absolutely. For every MP across the country, we are a top 5 employer. In many places, we are one of the top 3.”

At the close of the interview, Chris asked Kate what she was hoping for at Christmas, to which she replied: “Well, I’m hoping we’ve got the sector open for the Christmas trading period. It’s so important that we get as much of the sector open and functioning as quickly and as effectively as possible from 3rd December. That is my top priority. For Christmas, I really want the travel restrictions to be lifted so I can go and see my mum and my sister up in Durham.”