Happy 2021, Norfolk hospitality businesses – now could be the time!
“Time it was, and what a time it was, it was….”
These words, from Simon and Garfunkel’s beautiful 1968 song Bookends, have been in my mind a lot recently. 2020 was a time, wasn’t it? And so far, 2021 appears not to be shaping up much better. But there is hope on the horizon, with a vaccine being rolled out and spring and summer on their way. And life continues – some friends have just announced they have a new baby on the way to be born in July. So, whilst part of me feels quite lost at the moment, another part of me feels that hope and trusts that, yes, this year will be better.
Which is not to downplay at all the difficulties and tragedies that 2020 has seen us have to negotiate, some within our own circles of family and friends. On a personal level, I’m very conscious of family and friends that have had coronavirus, and family members of friends that have sadly died. On top of this, I know that many livelihoods have been dramatically affected, particularly in Norfolk where so many are either self-employed or work for smaller local companies. Nationally, our economy will, I’m sure, take many years to receiver from the pandemic, and no doubt this will also be true for our region and county.
The hope that I feel, though, is not only founded on medical solutions being put in place to finally beat the virus, but also on the resilience and determination of small businesses and self-employed people across the country and in Norfolk. I reckon there’s an innate spirit of not giving in which is part and parcel of the make up of a small business owner or self-employed person, and this gives me hope that we will bounce back (I’m one too!). And, moreover, it will be Norfolk’s bedrock, it’s local businesses, that will lead that bounce back.
Amongst all the businesses affected, I’m keenly aware that the hospitality sector has suffered a particularly severe downturn, and that Norfolk has many such businesses. So I’d like to offer what I hope might be a couple of helpful solutions on the road to bringing these businesses back to where they should be by the end of 2021.
First, I am launching a photography project entitled In Hospitality which is aimed at documenting and publicising the effects on 2020 on your businesses and you as their owners. In particular, your experiences and feelings, what’s happened during the last year, what’s happening for you now, and what you feel about the future. I’m after highs and lows, good and bad, personal and commercial impacts. The objective is to build a series of photos getting to the human element of the impact to businesses and people of the pandemic; to make a serious photo story. If you’re interested in having a chat about my project, please get in touch with me by emailing me at email@example.com, giving me an idea of your experiences and a contact number for me to call you on. There is no cost to this at all.
Second, I am changing my pricing structure specifically for hospitality sector businesses. Why? Because I strongly believe that now is an opportunity, whilst premises are having to be closed during lockdown, for hospitality businesses to prepare for marketing themselves in what will hopefully be a really busy summer season. And one of the critical ways of doing that, of a business differentiating itself from the throng of other businesses that will be seeking to capitalise from the end of the pandemic, is to review and consider what areas of imagery you might need to invest in to grab your customers’ attention.
But I also understand that the pandemic has left hospitality businesses with genuine cash flow problems and now more than ever, it’s a chicken and egg situation where businesses find themselves needing to invest to get customers but needing to get customers first in order to invest.
The solution that I’d like to offer is a consultation and photography package for hospitality businesses which is not only at a significantly reduced price but also, if necessary, allows payment to be spread over the calendar year of 2021. The package will provide a relaxed but thorough online consultation, which we can then use to develop a brief and a prioritised plan for completing a programme of essential imagery for your business to really use 2021 as a springboard for growth. If you would like to know more please do get in touch as soon as possible – I really hope to hear from you.
And here’s to a great year. It has not started as we would have wished but I do genuinely believe that it can be a year of positive growth and that local hospitality businesses will have a vital role to play in getting Norfolk back on its feet.