Hard Data for Hard Times

Hard data for hard times

During my lunchtime walk the other day, I decided to listen to Evan Davies’s podcast, The Bottom Line.
I like Evan. He simplifies the most complex of business/economic issues and his guests are always perfect for the audience.

The particular podcast I was listening to was called Saving Companies and Evan was discussing (amongst other things), which types of companies and sectors should the government jump in and save because of the pandemic.
One of the industries Evan mentioned was hospitality and in particular restaurants, clubs, venues and event management companies. He said that they contributed a LOT to GDP and jobs but didn’t have any inherent assets. If an event doesn’t take place then no ‘thing/asset’ is left dormant and devalued.

Now, me, with my deep understanding of the sector had some contrary thoughts but as I couldn’t butt in because it was a podcast, I let it flow.
And then it happened.
One of the guest speakers was a Scotsman called Mark Blyth, Director of the William R Rhodes Centre for International Economics and Finance, Brown University. He knew his stuff.
Evan asked him the question “should the state step in to save those types of companies” (hospitality)?
Without drawing breath or pausing for thought Mark replied, “No, simply because the ability to get reliable information is too costly”.

RIGHT THERE. I thought, “crikey, there is our problem” – we just haven’t got the data to back up our claims and governmental requests.

Apart from UK Hospitality and the wonderful work of Kate Nicholls, no entity has come anywhere near close to being able to quantify AND qualify what our industry Is, Does and more importantly how much it is worth in GDP and jobs. We just don’t seem to be able to ring-fence ourselves. If we don’t have the data or we know how it will be spent/prioritised, how can the government allocate funds?

I’ve seen petitions, media articles, LinkedIn lobbying and various Associations (excluding the already mentioned UK Hospitality) trying to corral companies to come together (a bit like a mob or crowd) and make the government listen………and then act. And it ain’t happening. We just don’t know our numbers. We don’t have the data.

Does anyone think that after all this chaos is over (whenever that might be) we might see some developments on this front?
Will our pitiful representation to the government (again, apart from UK Hospitality) be a catalyst for change?

My business is based on data and it is the oxygen of the modern business world.
Data has the answers.
Data ALWAYS has a better idea.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – please take a moment to leave any you have.

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