The school holidays have arrived, Parliament is in recess until 5 September and London has wound right down to slumber away summer time months. Or has it? Just how much effect do summer time holidays have on London businesses? Well, in reality, London is this type of culturally rich and diverse city that the consequences of holidays vary from business to business. However there are always a few common themes such as:
Whilst Transport for London and the Mayor’s office are constantly working on schemes to cut back congestion due to the college run, in term time our roads school holiday camps, buses and tubes are affected by school transport. In the college holidays this congestion is noticeably less on some routes. This means that businesses which rely on transport and deliveries might have to work to some other schedule in term and holiday time with the reduced travel time in christmas causing cost savings.
Pubs, restaurants & cafes
Places to eat in London tend to be divided between those serving a nearby population and those catering for tourists or business people. All these sectors is affected differently by summer holidays. Those catering for business are most suffering from holidays as a result of combined affects of business people taking time off to be with children alongside a decrease in business meetings.
Looking at places catering for tourists, there have been 26.2 million staying visitors in London in 2010 with total London tourism receipts amounting to £11.2 billion. International visitors tended to remain for 6.1 days spending £593 whilst those visiting from within the UK stayed for 2.1 days spending £217. Overseas tourism is often slightly skewed to summer time with 29% staying in July & August and this taken alongside domestic tourists helps to occupy a number of the slack from Londoners moving out of the capital in summer time months.
When it comes to local eateries these appear to be just as much suffering from the weather whilst the holidays. The Coffer Peach Business Tracker makes some interesting observations in its overview of the Easter Holidays. Alongside the comment that “Our research across the entire year highlights the big positive effect that school holidays are receiving on trade, particularly with people staying in the UK” it notes that the weather also plays its part. Hot days often favour pubs or staying at home with a barbeque whilst wet days favour indoor attractions and visits to restaurants.
Companies offering business services from printing to marketing, office fitments to consultancy often factor August into their business plans as a dead month. The combination of warmer weather and staff holidays results in decisions being postponed as well as not considered until September arrives. “Starting in September” and “I’ll get back in September” are normal themes. Even networking will decrease with many business networks not bothering to put on August meetings.
The “Back once again to School” effect
Sell children’s clothing or stationery and August can prove to be the busiest month of the year. Although pencils can be purchased anytime the temptation to begin a new school year with a brand new set is overwhelming. Trousers and skirts that just lasted summer time term need replacing and winter shoes are on the list in anticipation of bad weather to come. Even the major London department stores come in on the act with some already having unveiled their Christmas displays built to attract summer time tourist.