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Everyone knows that the cost of living is constantly increasing at the moment, but what does this mean for tourism businesses and how should you respond to the challenges we face in the coming months? Businesses in the tourism and leisure sector will be impacted in two ways. Firstly, the rise in energy bills, supply chains and increased costs to recruit and retain staff will all contribute to higher operational costs. Secondly, a reduction in disposable income and concerns about household financial security is already having a negative impact on consumer confidence resulting in reduced demand and footfall for leisure and hospitality businesses.

Response From The Government

Through a new Government Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the Government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers (including all UK businesses, the voluntary sector like charities and the public sector such as schools and hospitals).
  •  The Government has set a Supported Wholesale Price – expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter. It includes the removal of green levies paid by non-domestic customers who receive support under the scheme.
  • It will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts. The level of price reduction for each business will vary depending on their contract type and circumstances.
  • It will apply to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, running for an initial six-month period for all non-domestic energy users.
  • The savings will be first seen in October bills, which are typically received in November.
  • If you are not connected to either the gas or electricity grid, equivalent support will also be provided for non-domestic consumers who use heating oil or alternative fuels instead of gas. Further detail on this will be announced shortly.

Customers do not need to take action or apply to the scheme to access the support. Support (in the form of a p/kWh discount) will automatically be applied to bills.

The Government will publish a review into the operation of the scheme in three months to inform decisions on future support after March 2023. The review will focus in particular on identifying the most vulnerable non-domestic customers and how the Government will continue assisting them with energy costs.

Prime Minister, Liz Truss has announced that there will be a cap of £2,500 on average energy bills for  households and that businesses, charities and public sector organisations will receive an equivalent support package for six months. After six months there will be further targeted support to vulnerable sectors including hospitality. The support package will be reviewed after three months.

We will update this page with more detail on the support package as it becomes available.

What Does This Mean For Hertfordshire's Visitor Economy Business?

This webpage includes details on how we’ll be monitoring the impact on Hertfordshire tourism businesses and how you can contribute feedback, as well as the work we’re doing with national industry partners to lobby on behalf of the sector. Working closely with partners such as Hertfordshire Growth Hub, we’ve collated links to available funding and useful resources to help you make positive adjustments to reduce costs. We’ve also included details on how we’ll be adapting our visitor communications and useful links to help you prepare and include your own value-for-money messages in your comms. We’ll continue to update this page throughout the year so please do continue to check back.

While all of this might seem concerning, the pandemic has proved that we are a dynamic and resilient industry. By preparing and working together, and with the support of our residents, we know that the unique landscapes, food and drink, range of accommodation, heritage and vibrant town centres can continue to attract people, even at a time where people are being more selective about where they spend their money.

How Are We Monitoring The Impact?

The Visit Herts team are constantly accessing the impact on the cost of living on the sector in the following ways:

  • We will continue to monitor the impact on businesses through our Business Barometer. These monthly reports provide us data on business performance across the county, including occupancy, visitor numbers and feedback directly from businesses. It is so important that we can back-up feedback with quantifiable data to help us build a really accurate and robust picture of the situation, please sign up today to start contributing your own figures confidentially.
  • Our new Hertfordshire resident research will capture insights into financial confidence and how this is affecting resident leisure visits within the county 
  • Our recent visitor perception survey captured insights into drivers , barriers and propensity to visit the county.
  • The VisitEngland Consumer Sentiment Tracker provides up to date insight into consumer confidence capturing current barriers and concerns around travel.

We will also be constantly updating our business website and sharing the latest impact data through our insights e-newsletters and business social media accounts (Linkedin and Twitter) so keep an eye out for these.

If at any point you would like to share any information or concerns about the impact of the cost of living on your business, then please get in touch with us

Our Lobbying Activity 

We will be working with national industry partners such as Tourism Alliance and UK Hospitality to push for a continued package of support tailored to the unique challenges of the tourism and hospitality sector. Our CEO Deirdre Wells OBE has a seat at the table of Tourism Alliance Board and the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group (TIER). We will feed in our data and insights gathered through the barometer and other sources to help us to send a powerful message back to national government.

We are supporting the #BusinessSOS campaign which is calling for the following package of support:

Reduce VAT

  • Headline rate reduced from 20% to 12.5%
  • Business energy bills reduced from 20% to 5% to match domestic billing


Business Rates Relief

  • 100% rate relief until 31st March 2023


Energy Rate Relief

  • A discounted kwh price on all business energy bills

Resources To Help Reduce Energy Costs

Our partners Hertfordshire Growth hub have collated links to relevant grants that are available for Hertfordshire tourism businesses to access many of which are specifically aimed at supporting businesses to reduce carbon and therefore energy costs. Other sources of funding you may be eligible for are listed.

As part of our long-term strategy, we aim to reduce the environmental impact of the visitor economy by encouraging consumer behaviour change and supporting businesses to improve sustainability in the work environment. Making these changes will not only reduce your carbon footprint and help you appeal to an environmentally conscious audience, but also help you to reduce costs. On this page you will also find links to a variety of useful resources and checklists which can help improve your sustainability credentials but also reduce overheads within your business.

Communicating Value And Creating Loyalty

As consumers become more cautious about their spending, we need to work harder to communicate the value that a day out or short break in Hertfordshire can provide. While consumers may be more selective about their discretionary spending and looking for last minute deals, they are still keen to spend quality time with friends and family, even if this is closer to home or for a mini getaway. Visit Herts will be working hard to position the county to people in London and neighbouring regions as an easily accessible destination, without the high fuel costs, where they don’t need to compromise on experience. Encouraging residents to support local businesses, explore what’s on their doorstep and welcome friends and family to the county will also continue to be a focus. We have three ways in which we’re supporting businesses when it comes to communicating value and creating loyalty:

  • Before planning your communications, it’s important to understand what audiences are looking for in terms of value. Take a look at our as a quick reference guide to what key audiences are motivated by and how best to communicate value to them.
  • Through our consumer comms we are focusing on rebuilding consumer confidence, upselling, increasing return visits, encouraging recommendations and cross-selling within the destination. Partners should look out for our content call outs to be included in upcoming features such as:
    • Supporting local
    • Amazing days out that don’t cost the earth
    • Gifting experiences
    • Hotel deals
    • Maximising time with friends and family and making memories
    • Value of annual tickets
    • Getting the most out of your days out
  • Finally, we are updating our business website with free-to-access training materials which will include on-demand videos covering topics such as upselling, communicating value, and creating loyalty, so keep an eye out for this.

Consumer Messaging

In Q4 Visit Herts will ensure our consumer features are used to communicate the value of a day out or short break with family and friends within the county. Messaging will highlight the importance of spending time together and the value of experiences, particularly when it comes to quality inter-generational family time.

Key feature themes will include affordable days out, spring breaks for families, which highlight early bird deals, and Christmas gift ideas that go beyond material presents and provide the gift of an experience or year-long memberships that provide value through multiple days out.

Features such as our Instagrammable winter views and walks features will also pair free activities such as a walk or view, with suggestions for extending a day out with optional small expenditures such as coffee in a café, lunch in a pub, or entry to a museum. We are also sharing messaging around local produce and the importance of supporting local businesses, presenting our local producers as offering quality products and services to the consumer, with reduced travel miles.

Overall messaging will present our destination as a place that can offer quality time to consumers and excellent value experiences and breaks.

Useful Links

Ofgem - Getting help if your business can't afford it's energy bills

Energy Bills Government Scheme - The Government have announced a new energy support scheme for businesses, charities and the public sector. This will come into place at the end of April when the current support scheme ends.

For more information or queries please contact us ( and we will get back to you as soon as possible.  

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