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Finding a platform - Ed’s letter

Twitter - or X, as we must now call it - has gone from being a decent starting point for news to a hell site of all-out abuse, aided by a change in leadership. Entrenched opinions with no room for nuance or debate is now the theme.

But for those of us who still stray in from time to time, for anthropological purposes, it’s interesting to see what’s riling people this week. Other than the usual Earth is Flat, All Your Opinions Are Wrong stalwarts, we have a rising group which regular visitors may recognise from Brexit Twitter: You’re Just Doing The Sector Down.

This group believes heavily in the science of willing things to be true and triumphing by force of personality alone. It’s a brave stance not heavy in likelihood but at least happy with hope.

Their latest target is people who point out that all is not well in hospitality land. Why would people want to enjoy hospitality or work in hospitality if Twitter/X is always doing it down? Why don’t you make it sound like everything is peachy instead?

Because, as those of us in hospitality know, things are not peachy.

The efforts to deal with a lack of team members are a long-term issue that we are trying to deal with here at HOSPA by focusing on training, pointing out that skills can be acquired and, with them, careers. Positive messaging has also come via Hospitality Rising, which has done remarkable work on attracting a new generation to the sector and in rallying companies behind a cause.

It is the latter we need when we are looking at the gritty topics, the ones we can’t just hope will go away because we’re trying not to think about them. The ones that return at 3am. The sector has come a long way since the pandemic and has a number of strong voices - our own Jane Pendlebury and UKHospitality’s Kate Nicholls leap out - but what we need is a systemic change to how we are viewed by government.

We need workers from overseas. We need changes to VAT. We need support on energy bills. We need the kind of change which can only come from the very top and for that we need a loud, unified voice which can be heard in Westminster, not accusations that complaining is doing us down and making us look negative.

Hospitality has been wary of shouting out. It’s not very hospitable, after all. But it’s time to be heard.


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