Hospitality firms will know by today whether they will benefit from London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee was due to reveal its decision at lunchtime yesterday (6 July). London was battling against bids from favourite Paris, plus Madrid, Moscow, and New York.
The games, which would cost about £2.4b to stage, could attract thousands of extra visitors to the UK and generate an additional £2b in tourism revenue.
A recent survey by TRI Hospitality Consulting and Visit London confirmed the bid had overwhelming support among tourism and hospitality firms. It said that nearly 95% strongly backed the bid and almost 50% thought London would win. Just one in 10 firms were pessimistic about its chances.
Compass Group was one of the companies actively supporting the London bid. The contract caterer has provided consultancy and hospitality as well as financial backing. In addition to catering at bid receptions and events, it has been busy spreading the message to its key corporate clients.
Both Radisson Edwardian and Hilton have also backed the bid as "champion" supporters, donating cash and a number of roomnights and meeting rooms to visiting dignitaries and athletes. "Our position is that anything that is good for London and anything that will publicise the UK worldwide is good for Hilton," a spokesman said. "London is the gateway city for the UK and our provincial hotels will benefit as well."
While more than 98% of the respondents in the TRI survey believed hospitality and tourism businesses would benefit from the Olympics, only 5% picked hotels as the long-term winners, because the sector is buoyant and profitable.
"The real benefit to our sector will come in the lead-up to the games and after rather than in the year itself," said Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association.
"People will be coming here to do tests and trials and to plan out the area. The worldwide exposure London would get would bring ongoing benefits along with the legacy of a better transport system."