Articles - Preparations pay off as Olympics deliver boost in demand

  •   42% of companies report increase in demand, 27% report decrease
  •   77% of retailers have seen an increase in demand from new customers

 The Olympic Games is providing a net positive impact to large businesses in London, although not to the extent many had anticipated, according to a survey of 100 large companies by Deloitte, the official professional services provider to London 2012. 42% of companies have reported an increase in demand since the start of the Games, compared with 27% who reported a decrease. However, when surveyed in January 2012, 80% of respondents anticipated an increase, whilst just 4% expected a decrease.

 Consumer businesses have reported the most positive results, with 68% of respondents in the travel, hospitality and leisure (THL) industries and 59% of retailers reporting an increase in demand, compared with 18% and 32% respectively reporting a decrease. These figures are also below expectations from January however, when 80% of THL businesses and 84% of retailers were hopeful of an Olympic boost.

 Heather Hancock, lead London 2012 partner at Deloitte, said: “This research demonstrates that many companies have benefited from London 2012, although the boost in demand hasn’t met the expectations of all. The biggest beneficiaries have been those companies who planned ahead and targeted Olympic visitors. 77% of retailers reported an increase in demand from new customers for example, compared with just 27% reporting an increase from existing customers.

 “As the heart of London moved east, location has clearly been important, especially for smaller businesses with fewer locations. But for large chains with stores, hotels and restaurants across the capital, opportunities have been there to exploit and it appears sharp, nimble business have responded by changing trading hours and moving staff to service their busiest locations.”

 Far more consumer businesses took proactive measures to meet this demand than had indicated they would do when surveyed in January. 55% of retailers say they increased stock levels, compared with 28% when asked in January, 41% increased trading hours (14%) and 68% said they brought in specific promotions for the Olympic Games period (14%).

 41% of companies said staff unavailability had been an issue due to transport issues, whilst 36% said they had faced problems due to excessive levels of holiday or sickness. Security hasn’t been as big an issue as expected for firms with 33% reporting some operational disruption as a result of security measures, compared with 41% who feared this would be the case when asked in January. However, some businesses do appear to have been caught out by scarcity of resources such as hotel rooms, with 27% saying this has been a problem, compared to 18% in January.

 Rick Cudworth, Games Readiness partner at Deloitte, said: “Businesses appear to have prepared pretty well for the Games, with four out of five assessing the impact on their operations. They have been helped enormously by the smooth running of the city, particularly the relative lack of transport problems. This perhaps explains why 31% of companies feel they overestimated the impact of the Games. However, the survey was conducted in week one and both London and its businesses will be tested more significantly in week two as crowds going to the Park increase for the Stadium events.”

 Workers across London have been cheering on the brilliant performances of Team GB with just 8% of companies refusing to allow staff to watch the Games. 47% of companies have placed screens on working floors whilst 39% have installed big screens in staff restaurants. Despite the inherent operational challenges, 38% of companies have allowed staff to stream online footage of the Games to their work computers.

 Hancock added: “The outstanding achievements of our athletes have undoubtedly resulted in a boost to the nation’s feel-good factor which will permeate through to an increase in morale for employees, particularly where they have shared in the success. Along with concerted efforts to attract people to visit or stay longer in London during week two, it will be interesting to see if our survey results will be more positive post-Games.

 “In the longer term, there is no doubt that London 2012 has been a fantastic showcase for London and for the United Kingdom. Whether it is the passionate crowds cheering on the competitors of every country, the jaw-dropping backdrops to Horse Guards Parade and Greenwich, or the wonderful welcome from 70,000 volunteers, London 2012 has provided a priceless boost to Brand Britain.”

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