Five Biggest Challenges Facing The Hospitality Industry in 2024

From staff shortages to the Cost of Living Crisis, the hospitality industry faces significant challenges in 2024.
Amy Dignon
Jan 2024
4 min read

Consumers are returning to hospitality after a difficult few years for the industry. That said, even with the promising signs of recovery, the sector still faces a perfect storm of challenges in 2024.

1. Staff Shortages and Retention

Staff shortages have impacted the hospitality industry over the last few years and now, more than ever, present a significant issue for hospitality businesses. In their recent report, the ONS stated that shortages are at an all time high, with an increase of 83% more vacancies advertised and a shortfall of 170,000 hospitality jobs currently available in the UK.

A further report noted that 45% of hospitality operators in the UK have been forced to cut capacity or opening hours due to shortages in staff.

To improve staff retention, investing in staff engagement and team training has never been more important. To further attract staff, various lobby groups are campaigning for fair wages, flexible set-ups to working hours and are also asking the Government to review its occupation shortage list in a bid to attract more overseas workers. 

With bringing new staff up to speed during staff shortages, time and cost efficiency is of utmost importance. To increase training efficiency, try using hospitality software to speed up the process with checklists and templates. 

Read our tips on how tech can help bridge the staff shortages gap.

2. Cost of Living Crisis

The exponential rise in prices challenges the hospitality industry two-fold. First, from a consumer perspective, where the public has less money to spend eating or drinking out, then also for their businesses’ own rising costs, which we will explore further in the following section.

After two years of pandemic-impacted trade, recent trends indicate that consumers are returning to hospitality in promising numbers. However, the recent findings show that consumer confidence remains relatively low throughout 2023, with customers seeing decreased discretionary spending and re-evaluating eating out, so the road to recovery for the hospitality industry still poses potential challenges into 2024.

3. Increased Running and Ingredient Costs

Hospitality businesses now face the challenge of an increase of 55.2% in operating costs, with industry groups lobbying the government for extra financial support for the industry.

The hospitality industry is facing a cost of living crisis with steep increases in raw materials, energy, staff salaries and rent, all of which has a knock-on effect on the prepared food and drink costs. Increased prices are met with lower consumer confidence, which is further increasing the challenge at hand for hospitality businesses.

Find out how Trail can help you cut your operational costs in our latest webinar.

A growing trend in the hospitality industry is looking to ease the financial challenges by simplifying menus and reducing opening hours, with 31% of restaurants now open on fewer days each week to cut down on costs, according to ResDiary. As hospitality businesses tackle these challenges, industry leaders are also calling on the government for urgent support.

4. Environmental Considerations

The climate-crisis is at the forefront of the public’s mind and conversation.

In 2023, hospitality and travel businesses must not just be conscious of their environmental impact due to the financial implications of rising energy costs, but also of consumer expectations and behaviour too.

In’s Sustainability Report, it was found that 83% of global travellers value sustainability as something vital. This is a growing trend in the industry and a challenge that hospitality and travel businesses will continue to face for the foreseeable future.

A single stream of paper costs £32.50 per month. Switching to digital is just one way you can save on paper costs while also being more environmentally-friendly. For more ways how to adopt eco-friendly practices that can benefit your business and the environment, read our guide on why sustainability is important in the hospitality industry.

5.Increase in Hospitality Tech

Over the course of the pandemic, we saw a huge shift in the use of technology throughout hospitality. This tech helped businesses adapt to changing needs and also to improve customer experience.

Now that we are in the post-pandemic stage, customers have a higher expectation when it comes to experience and technology, with those who fail to address this risking efficiency and customer loyalty.

Technology also offers opportunities for the hospitality industry to mitigate the risk of current issues in the hospitality industry and help to futureproof the business Tech solutions like Trail’s hospitality software and digital checklist help to save time, improve efficiency and cut back on costs

Other back-office tech options can support all areas of the business - Read our guide to the best Back of House software.

Using supportive tech like Trail cuts operational costs and increases efficiency across the business. Trail offers a wide range of pre-set and completely customisable hospitality templates, from preparing for EHO inspection and fire safety checks to day-to-day kitchen opening and closing checklists. This means more time spent addressing the external issues the hospitality industry faces. 

Take advantage of the 14-day free hospitality software trial and sign up or request a free demo today.

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