Dealing with uncertainty and reconciling opening and operating costs with significantly reduced demand are the stand-out concerns of hoteliers in the Great National hotel group.
Research undertaken by the group shows that other major concerns include social distancing, handling groups, operating profitably, re-engaging and motivating staff, implementing safety guidelines, reassuring guests, paying suppliers and managing cash-flow.
According to Great National's David Collins (pictured)The poll of hoteliers also revealed that
* 53% of hotels have seen a 50% or more cancellation of business for 2020.
* 44% of hotels reported that over half of these cancellations requested a refund rather than postpone to a later date.
* 56% of hotels indicated that they had laid off all their staff.
In terms of liquidity supports, 90% of hotels availed of a wage subsidy scheme, followed by creditor rescheduling (35%), a payment holiday on business loans (32%) and a bank overdraft (29%).
The supports for business survival favoured by the hoteliers were ranked as 1) zero-rated VAT, 2) 2020 commercial rates to be waived, 3) business grant availability, 4) State debt forgiveness, 5) increased domestic marketing and 6) a government-backed travel insurance scheme.
*84% of hotels indicated that they could survive without income for no more than six months.
* 42% see a return to 50% occupancy by August 2020 while 49% do not see a return to 75% occupancy until the 2nd half of 2021.
A total of 59 Great National hotels were surveyed via email between 23 April and 3 May. Of these 38 hotels are located in the UK and 21 hotels are located in Ireland.A total of 32 survey questionnaires were completed, representing a 54% response rate.
As this research addresses general business sentiment, it is worth noting that the following are sample key developments that occurred during the survey period:
23 April: The United Nations Aviation Agency claims that international air passenger traffic could drop by as many as 1.2 billion travellers, or two-thirds, by September 2020.
25 April: US confirmed death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 50,000.
27 April: The British Prime Minister returned to work in Downing Street having recovered from Covid-19.
29 April: US GDP falls 4.8%, the worst economic decline since 2008.
May 1: The Irish Government publishes a roadmap for re-opening Ireland society and business.