Can School Holidays Threaten A Business?
The institution holidays have arrived, Parliament is in recess until 5 September and London has wound down to slumber away summer time months. Or has it? Just how much effect do summer time holidays have on London businesses? Well, in fact, London is this type of culturally rich and diverse city that the consequences of holidays vary from business to business. However there are certainly a few common themes such as:
Whilst Transport for London and the Mayor’s office are constantly focusing on schemes to cut back congestion brought on by the college run, in term time our roads, buses and tubes are affected by school transport holiday camp. In the college holidays this congestion is noticeably less on some routes. Which means businesses which rely on transport and deliveries may need to work to a different schedule in term and holiday time with the reduced travel amount of time in the holidays resulting in cost savings.
Pubs, restaurants & cafes
Places to consume 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 afflicted with holidays because of the combined affects of business people taking time off to be with children alongside a decrease in business meetings.
Taking a look at places catering for tourists, there were 26.2 million staying visitors in London in 2010 with total London tourism receipts amounting to £11.2 billion. International visitors tended to keep 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 really helps to take up some of the slack from Londoners moving from the capital in summer time months.
In regards to local eateries these seem to be the maximum amount of afflicted with the weather whilst the holidays. The Coffer Peach Business Tracker makes some interesting observations in its review of the Easter Holidays. Alongside the comment that “Our research across the year highlights the big positive effect that school holidays are having on trade, particularly with people staying in the UK” it notes that the weather also plays its part. Hot days tend to favour pubs or staying aware of a barbeque whilst wet days favour indoor attractions and visits to restaurants.
Companies offering business services from printing to marketing, office fitments to consultancy tend to factor August to their business plans as a dead month. The mixture of warmer weather and staff holidays results in decisions being postponed or even not considered until September arrives. “Starting in September” and “I’ll get back in September” are common themes. Even networking has a tendency to slow down with many business networks not bothering to keep August meetings.
The “Back once again to School” effect
Sell children’s clothing or stationery and August can show to be the busiest month of the year. Although pencils can be bought at any time the temptation to start a new school year with a fresh 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 shops come in on the act with some already having unveiled their Christmas displays built to attract summer time tourist.