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113,600 people (full-time equivalents) worked in hospitality in 2021. The number of employees thus fell by around 6000 compared to the previous year. The restaurant industry expects that it will be several years before business is back at pre-pandemic levels. The pandemic and the restrictions that it has brought have left a deep mark.
How many hospitality businesses are there in Switzerland?
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According to the most recent figures, which date back to 2018, there are around 28,300 hospitality businesses in Switzerland (source: Swiss Tourism Federation, “Tourismus in Zahlen 2020”).
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Swiss restaurateurs should not be disheartened by the difficult situation, however. One reason to be cheerful was the Rendez-vous campaign, which saw GastroSuisse and HotellerieSuisse team up with Switzerland Tourism ST to invite people to hold unforgettable reunions at Switzerland’s most beautiful tables. The campaign was launched in mid-June 2021, shortly before the Federal Council lifted the restriction on the number of people at a table.
High uptake resulted in around 80 offers
The first national hospitality campaign since the outbreak of the pandemic met with great interest in the industry. More than 150 dining venues put forward a concept for a table. The high uptake ultimately resulted in around 80 offers that combined creativity with culinary flair. One particularly welcome outcome was that all tourism regions and all price brackets were catered for. The campaign officially ran from the start of July until the end of October 2021. It recorded a total of 21.44 million ad impressions, thanks to media partnerships, influencer measures and performance campaigns. However, table availability was often weather-dependent.
Varied Swiss gastronomy
Booking numbers were not as strong as hoped, but the campaign still drew attention to Switzerland’s varied gastronomic scene. This was illustrated by the more than 5,300 competition entrants, the more than 21.44 million impressions mentioned above and the 145,000 visitors to MySwitzerland.com/rendezvous.
The intuitive landing page with full descriptions of each Rendez-vous table and the cooperation with booking partner Ticketino made the reservation process very straightforward. Thanks to support from ST, GastroSuisse and HotellerieSuisse, diners did not have to pay any booking fees. Bookings could also be made directly with the table providers.
Special campaign for beleaguered hotels
ST ran a special campaign in support of the hotel industry in summer and autumn 2021. It was centred around themed listicles and bookable packages, and featured more than 100 city hotels that were hit especially hard by the pandemic.
The lists were based around themes such as art in the city, top wellness spots, stargazing packages and Sleep & Dine offers. Whatever the theme, the featured hotels were able to highlight what makes them special, be it art, spa facilities, a rooftop terrace, dining opportunities or location. The diverse accommodation inspired families, sports lovers and culture vultures to take a break in a Swiss city.
Safety and hygiene remain important considerations for hotel and restaurant guests. The Clean & Safe label, which was launched in 2020 and which some 4,100 businesses have applied for, continued to instil confidence in 2021. It was particularly appreciated as a guide for foreign visitors.