As we all arrive back to work after the elongated Easter break, thoughts immediately turn to the arrival of the forthcoming May Day bank holiday and the extended Whitsun days off to encompass the Queen's Jubilee.
Now while the majority of us agree that having a well-balanced work and personal life is important, as the head of an international web hosting and domain registration business, I can't help but consider the negative economic impact the bank holidays are likely to have. And it seems I'm not the only one questioning the price the UK economy is paying for the extra days off. News out this week from The Centre for Economics and Business Research says that each public holiday costs the UK economy in the region of around £2bn.
Don't forget the eagerly awaited 2012 Olympics. For businesses operating in and around London, there is an increased chance of absent staff and business disruption courtesy of a clogged up transport infrastructure.
So, with the extra bank holiday in June and the Olympics running over July and August, will summer 2012 be bad for business?
Yes. I'm not one to be a killjoy, but when I look back at last year's Royal Wedding celebrations, we definitely did encounter a revenue loss from both reduced sales and productivity. We have an important customer service commitment to uphold, irrespective of whether we are due to experience a drop in traffic and sales. That means our staff need to be available to man our call centres 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- regardless of it being a bank holiday or not.
Most significantly, however, is the fact that our customers need to be online to purchase our products and services. By the very nature of bank holidays, particularly in the warmer months, we will see a natural shift of people leaving their homes and offices and relocating to outside parties and BBQs. That can mean bad news for online businesses like ours. Like many brands however, we are hopeful that our mobile apps will still encourage people to make purchases on the go, because they can still buy domains and view their accounts online and whilst on the move.
But while we anticipate seeing a drop in sales on these specific days and perhaps a loss of business momentum with the bank holidays and Olympic fever being so closely aligned, there are a number of opportunities both events provide. In the domain industry, we always see a surge in registrations for URLs which piggyback onto key milestones and dates. The wedding of Kate and William, for example, was particularly popular last year and when it comes to tallying up the number of Jubliee-related URLs we will register this year, we're confident the final number will be high.
We, like many businesses, are also tying some of our marketing efforts into the Olympics, by running an outdoor campaign to target the extra millions of people who will be visiting the capital as part of the Olympics, and linking this to a series of promotions and special offers.
So, I would argue then that summer 2012 throws up both business curve balls and opportunities. The key for any business entering this summer is preparation.
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