Businesses have always been affected (directly or indirectly) by events outside of their control. Think Covid 19, foot and mouth, exchange rates, terrorist incidents just for starters. But we’ve never been more connected than we are today and just one seemingly unrelated incident can impact an entirely different industry on the other side of the globe.

Because of this, it’s vital that businesses continually scan the environment to assess what might affect them – for better or worse so that they can plan a contingency should the worst arise.

In addition to the primary forces of politics, the economy, society and the environment, you should also consider technology advances and legislation. Together they spell out the acronym P.E.S.T.L.E

Within this section, you’ll find Masterclass videos, content and templates to help you complete your own environmental scan to help future proof your business.

Bitesize masterclass

Quick overview

Access helpful bite-size sessions to watch when you’re ready. Learn how to complete your own environmental scan to help future proof your business.

We’ve included a template relevant to your industry sector to help you capture anything that you spot as you’re scanning the news, industry publications, blogs and relevant authority sites. 

We recommend you make it a regular habit just to check relevant sites and sources of information, record what you find and conduct a scenario planning exercise where there is a risk to your business.

The type of things you should be looking for include:-

  • Change of government (local, national and overseas governments)
  • Change of policy (local, national and overseas governments)
  • Change of trade conditions (imposed by other countries)


We have recently seen how: –

  • A change of administration in another country can equally affect previous promises of trade agreements.
  • A change of policy can mean that borders are closed to us
  • Disagreements can cause disruption to existing trade agreements


Could we have foreseen these? Potentially yes.


How is the economy in the world, country, region, right now and what is the likely change in the next 6-12 months?

  • Prosperity
  • Recession
  • Depression
  • Recovery


Even a change in the economic circumstances the other side of the world can impact our businesses if our business relies on goods, products or customers from that country.

Depending on the product or service you provide you could be impacted by: –

  • Excess supply of your product/service and lack of demand which could force prices down (and vice-versa). Equally this could force competitors out of the market increasing your market share. 
  • The state of the economy can also impact the available workforce.

Societal trends can have a major impact on our products and services and those businesses that are able to spot trends early are often able to capitalise on being early to serve the new markets. Some of the trends we are seeing now include: –

  • Desire for flexible working (times and place)
  • Greater focus on health (physical and mental)
  • People valuing experiences over material things
  • Rural living is becoming more desirable


Social media is a great way to spot new trends and keep up to date with what different generations and customer demographics are looking for. By incorporating these into our businesses we can remain attractive to our customers and stay ahead of the curve.

  • This is perhaps the fastest moving area of change currently and it doesn’t just affect traditional industries. Customers now expect to be able to find information, customise items, purchase items, meet, learn, be entertained, even be diagnosed or treated via some form of technology.
  • Technology can be expensive for early adopters but lagging behind can also be a problem – especially in being able to offer the basics such as on-line booking. Regularly scanning the industry to see what your competitors are doing will help you stay abreast of the trends.
  • Changes in legislation often mean changes in processes, equipment, costs and even potentially the number of people you’ll need in your business. However, aside from emergency bills, any changes are rarely sprung on a business and those businesses that tend to fare the best with legislation changes are those that loosely follow the legislative programme that parliament considers each session. 
  • Some of the main changes to affect the visitor economy sector that we have seen in the last few years, which some businesses still haven’t fully incorporated are: General Data Protection Regulations 2018 (GDPR), Online Distance Selling Regulations (2021), Natasha’s Law – Allergen Labelling (2019).

Visit Britain are very good at keeping the visitor economy sector updated on latest regulations. 

  • Gone are the days when businesses were able to treat sustainability as a tick box exercise.  Regardless of everyone’s level of personal commitment in acting to protect the environment, such is the awareness of the impact of climate change, that individuals and businesses alike are now seeking out products and services that actively seek to reduce their impact on the environment.
  • Hospitality UK have produced a Roadmap to Net Zero which has some helpful advice and guidance for pubs, restaurants, hotels and breweries.
  • ISLA have developed a best practice framework for the Events Industry 
  • This is a growing trend and unlikely to go away and any business that doesn’t keep ahead of advancements in sustainable practices will find themselves left behind.

The two qualities that have led most businesses through difficult times are agility and resilience. Both of these rely on businesses planning for the unexpected. By conducting an environmental analysis on a regular basis and acting on what you find, your business will be well placed to withstand any future shocks. 

If you need any help or support in conducting your environmental research please contact us.

Marketing Environment Masterclasses

In this first of two masterclasses on the marketing environment, Deborah demystifies what we mean when we talk about the marketing environment. By the end of this video on the marketing environment you will understand the political and economic factors that could impact your business and how to be aware of these without becoming bogged down by the detail.

Market Research - Environmental Research - Hotels

Market Research - Environmental Research - Hotels.xlsx


Market Research - Environmental Research - Pubs

Market Research - Environmental Research - Pubs.xlsx


Market Research - Environmental Research - Restaurants and Cafes

Market Research - Environmental Research - Restaurants and Cafes.xlsx


Market Research - Environmental Research - Self Catering

Market Research - Environmental Research - Self Catering.xlsx


Market Research - Environmental Research - The Night Time Economy

Market Research - Environmental Research - The Night Time Economy.xlsx


Market Research - Environmental Research - Visitor Attractions

Market Research - Environmental Research - Visitor Attractions.xlsx