2024 Hospitality Trends
by Smithfield Agency

A crunch summer awaits the hospitality industry. While there’s good news in the shape of falling inflation and Euro 2024, strong headwinds including the cost-of-living crisis, high energy costs, and staff shortages mean that businesses must stay agile and innovative to thrive. So, let’s explore current trends in the sector and look back on the strategy behind our award-winning campaign that addressed one of hospitality’s crunch issues.

First, the good news…

England started their Euro 2024 qualifying for the knockout stages, and hospitality businesses are keeping their fingers crossed for a strong run in the tournament. Thanks to the football, the sector is set for a £600 million boost according to research by industry analysts GlobalData Retail, with the British Beer and Pub Association predicting pubs alone will serve an extra 20 million pints, worth over £93 million, during the Euros.

Pubs and restaurants can expect a big bounce from a summer of sport, but what about the travel industry? Well, the positive news is that three-quarters of Brits intend to take a holiday in the UK this year, with city breaks being the most popular choice of domestic break, according to YouGov’s 2024 UK travel trends. However, despite many of us saying we’ll holiday at home, there is some evidence that the post-pandemic boom may have subsided with many operators reporting weaker demand.

And the not so good…

Hospitality’s number one issue remains staffing. Whether that’s trouble recruiting in the first instance or the rising cost of employment – people-intensive businesses require good people to operate smoothly. UK Hospitality’s research found that 66% of businesses reported higher wage costs this year, while over 100,000 vacancies remain in the sector. Other issues include the rising cost of food and drink – 98% of hospitality businesses reported increasing costs and have naturally had to pass much of this on to consumers, who in turn are facing their own cost-of-living crisis.

What consumers really want

So, aside from a good, competitively priced product, what are consumers looking for in 2024? Here are five things your potential customers want:

1.      Craft and locally sourced drinks
There is a growing appetite for craft beers, local spirits, and artisanal cocktails. YouGov reports that 62% of UK consumers prefer to try locally produced beverages, suggesting that pubs and bars that offer unique, locally sourced options can attract more patrons.

2. Experiential dining

The modern diner wants more than just a meal; they crave an experience. Interactive dining, themed restaurants, and immersive culinary events are on the rise. The trend for memorable experiences sees no sign of slowing down as long as the Instagram story remains king. For restaurants to capitalize on these trends, storytelling is key. Engaging content, such as behind-the-scenes videos and customer testimonials, creates the FOMO required to fill covers.

3. Sustainability as Standard

Sustainability has transitioned from a niche concern to a mainstream expectation. According to Mintel, 73% of UK diners are willing to pay more for sustainably sourced food, reflecting a significant shift in consumer priorities. Restaurants are increasingly adopting sustainable practices, from sourcing local ingredients to reducing food waste and using eco-friendly packaging.

4. Personalisation

McKinsey reports that 76% of travellers expect hotels to offer personalised experiences, from tailored room preferences to customised activity recommendations. Hotels that use data to anticipate and meet guest needs can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

5. Healthy Options
From pubgoers looking for healthier food and drink options to travellers seeking hotels that offer wellness amenities such as spas, fitness centres, and healthy dining, there’s a growing trend for wellness across the hospitality sector. Mintel highlights that UK wellness tourism is expected to grow by 7.5% annually, indicating a lucrative opportunity for hotels to attract health-conscious travellers.

Here at Smithfield, we’ve been working hard to help the sector address staffing shortages. Our recent campaign not only helped drive 130k applications, it also won gold at the 2023 DMAs.

Case Study: Hospitality Rising – Rise Fast, Work Young

2023 Gold Launch | DMA

Agency: Smithfield Agency and IPA
Client: Hospitality Rising
Entry Title: Rise Fast, Work Young

Executive Summary

Staff shortages across the hospitality industry had reached crisis point. Hospitality Rising wanted to coordinate a collective effort to showcase the opportunities for Gen Z working in the hospitality industry – by asking all hospitality operators to pledge their support.


Hospitality Rising wanted working in hospitality to be seen as the career choice for the younger generation. It’s exciting and fast paced with excellent growth opportunities.

The strategy was to position hospitality as the ultimate non-boring career by generating awareness, subtly attacking the competition as being boring, and highlighting the progression of hospitality as a career.


The research and insights, underpinned by the message that you can’t go further faster in any other industry, saw the campaign come to fruition: ‘Rise Fast, Work Young’. A series of character animations were created to showcase the diverse workforce and roles that exist in hospitality.

The TikTok campaign included content created by real hospitality workers within the demographic.


  • The campaign prompted 130k job applications to the careers website and reached 50% of all 16 to 30s.
  • The scale of the collaborative effort is unique, giving it the potential to be a real game-changer in addressing a major industry challenge. There were more than 13.5 million impressions on TikTok and 67 million digital impressions.

Let’s Connect

With over a decade’s experience producing the results that matter for the travel and leisure industry, Smithfield are uniquely positioned to help your hospitality business thrive. Our innovative strategies and deep industry insights ensure that we can tackle even the toughest challenges.

To learn more about how Smithfield can help your hospitality business, please contact us today.

June 26, 2024

If our Performance results have piqued your interest, get in touchto see how we can help your business growth.