With the timetable of all the Olympic sporting events now announced, the reality has set in that London 2012 is just 17 months away.
And with seven of the key events taking place outside the capital, there is plenty of opportunity for regional operators to capitalise on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Á¢ÂÂWe are the closest hotel to the rowing and canoe events and shall be transferring all the guests staying with us by boat along the River Thames,Á¢ÂÂ explains the hotelÁ¢ÂÂs general manager Richard Smith.
While the London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and VisitBritain have extensive advice on their websites for how hospitality operators can best prepare for the influx of visitors expected in the run-up, during and after the games, local councils are also supporting businesses on a local level.
Surrey County Council (SCC), for instance, wants to make sure that hotels, restaurants and attractions capitalise on the fact that the bulk of the menÁ¢ÂÂs and womenÁ¢ÂÂs cycling road races, on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July 2012 respectively, will take place in the Surrey Hills.
While both races start in central London, the 265km men and 140km women races then head out of the capital through Richmond Park and Bushy Park into Surrey, where they move through the districts of Elmbridge, Reigate & Banstead, Guildford, Woking and Mole Valley, before returning for a sprint finish down the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
SCCÁ¢ÂÂs 2012 project officer, Matan Czaczkes, says the county council will be holding half-day conferences providing facts, guidance and advice about opportunities and issues arising from the games, as well as setting up websites for the hospitality industry.
Á¢ÂÂWe aim to attract countries to train in Surrey and are organising complete packages of catering and accommodation in partnership with local hotels and caterers,Á¢ÂÂ says Czaczkes.
The 180-bedroom Runnymede hotel & spa in Egham, Surrey, is also benefiting from its proximity to Eton Dorney, just across the county boundary in Berkshire. Louise Martin, the hotelÁ¢ÂÂs director of yield, says she is working with Windsor Tourist Board and Runnymede Borough Council to ensure that visitors will be well informed about the area and the wealth of additional leisure attractions they can visit when planning their trip, with a view to encouraging a longer length of stay.
Á¢ÂÂWe will ensure that we keep constantly abreast of the situation regarding venues and schedule of events,Á¢ÂÂ Martin adds. Á¢ÂÂIt is an exciting lifetime opportunity for both visitors to the area and for the hotel team to be involved in.Á¢ÂÂ
get in training with caterer
From July, in a special Best for Business feature, we will be spending a year with three businesses as they prepare for the Olympics.
We will introduce each operation to mentors who will put the businesses through their paces and make sure they make the most of the games.
If you think your business would profit from the resources and expertise Caterer can call on, then get in touch.
making the most of the 2012 games in surrey
Three half-day conferences, from 8am to 1pm, are being held to give businesses the opportunity to think through the challenges and opportunities provided by the Olympics:
Á¢Â-Â Tuesday 8Á March, Sandown Racecourse, Esher.
Á¢Â-Â Thursday 17Á March, Holiday Inn, Woking.
Á¢Â-Â Tuesday 22Á March, Dorking Halls, Dorking.
For further information regarding Olympic advice for Surrey, visit www.surrey2012.info/business-opportuntities or call 03456 009009
olympic events outside london
Canoe sprint Lee Valley, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire
Canoe slalom and rowing Eton Dorney, Berkshire
Cycling mountain biking Hadleigh Farm, Essex
Cycling road race Surrey Hills
Football City of Coventry Stadium; Hampden Park, Glasgow; Millennium Stadium, Cardiff; Old Trafford, Manchester; St JamesÁ¢ÂÂs Park, Newcastle; Wembley Stadium, London
Weymouth and Portland, Dorset
10 steps to prepare for london 2012
1 Sign up for Tourism 2012 Games This monthly newsletter will provide all hospitality operators with useful information on how they can prepare and benefit from the Olympics
2 Maximise the media opportunities Do you have an Olympic-related story such as a local athlete who could perhaps use your hotel as a location for interviews or a strong connection to a particular country? Highlight the unique features or selling points of your business which might appeal to people visiting, writing or reading about the games.
3 Make use of stunning, free imagery The 2012 games-inspired photography is free to download and can be used in all of your promotional literature
4Be knowledgeable Appoint an enthusiastic member of staff to champion the Olympics to keep your business up-to-date with all the latest news about the games.
5 Use the Á¢ÂÂBritain YouÁ¢ÂÂre InvitedÁ¢ÂÂ logo The logo is free to download and can be used in all your marketing material.
6 Provide a world-class welcome Getting the quality of the welcome and service right is essential for preserving the legacy of the 2012 games, especially as many visitors will be coming to the UK for the first time. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide an outstanding experience that will encourage them to return to the UK and recommend it to their friends and families.
7 Ensure you know how you can and canÁ¢ÂÂt refer to the games There are a number of restrictions in place regarding the use of games-related symbols, imagery and terminology. For instance, the official host country logo cannot be used without the authority of London 2012.
8 Find out what is going on in your local area Your business could benefit from the host of activities surrounding the games such as cultural events, pre-games training camps and publicity surrounding the Torch Relay. The Olympic Flame will arrive in the UK on 18Á May 2012 and 8,000 torch bearers will carry it on a 70-day journey across the country, with entertainment, shows and concerts marking its arrival at each location. It will come within a one-hour journey of 95% of the population. During the games there will be 18 sites across the country, from Edinburgh to Plymouth, where big screens will provide an opportunity for large gatherings to be an integral part of the Olympic experience.
9 Sign the UK Fair Pricing and Practice Charter By committing to fair trade terms during 2012, you will inspire consumer confidence. A list of signatories to the charter will be published on the London 2012 and other websites and made available to visitors and the media. All businesses which sign the charter will be allowed to use the Committed to Fair Pricing logo on their websites and marketing material.
10 Read Caterer and Hotelkeeper Follow Caterer and HotelkeeperÁ¢ÂÂs campaign all the way to the Olympic Games for all the best business advice to make sure youÁ¢ÂÂre a part of the biggest event to ever be staged in the UK.