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Hotels betting on post-Covid future

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Hotels betting on post-Covid future

Hotels betting on post-Covid future
July 20
10:00 2021

Faced with long restrictions that are only just being lifted many hotels are using the opportunity to make significant upgrades.

As Ireland’s hospitality sector reached another milestone this week with the Government announcement that indoor dining can resume later this month, the country’s hotels are betting on a positive future post-Covid.

The sector was one of the worst-hit by the pandemic with major restrictions but in place on travel, dining and drinking. Summer 2020 offered a brief reprieve with the massive surge in staycations. 2021 is offering similar hopefuls signs but significant challenges remain for the industry.

However across Munster in particular many hotels, small and large, have used the lockdowns to embark of significant upgrade projects in preparation for a return to full travel.

John and Francis Brennan unveiled their renovated hotel The Lansdowne in Kenmare this week, which they acquired, upgraded and opened in six months. The decision shows their commitment to a revival in both the domestic and international tourism market.

“It is a turbulent time in the hotel industry but everything goes in cycles. We have been there before and will probably be there again,” John Brennan told the Irish Examiner when he acquired the former The Lansdowne Arms in February.

Smaller hotels are no different. Rob and Rebecca O’Keeffe are the proprietors of The Emmet Hotel in the centre of Clonakilty in West Cork. They said their journey through the lockdown has seen them come back stronger and with a renewed sense of value for their staff, guests and all the community around them.

Like many businesses their initial focus when Covid struck was to focus on the wellbeing of staff. “As time went on and further lockdowns were imposed, we began to think long and hard about how we wanted The Emmet to be when we finally reopened,” Robert said. “We tried to take full advantage of the lockdown to improve the hotel and to come back with a better product. Our first step was to improve our accommodation by upgrading and redecorating our bedrooms and bathrooms.”

Along with room upgrades, they also relocated their bar to give the hotel a new look and feel. “We were closed for eight months which is quite a long period,” Rebecca says. “We took this as an opportunity to improve what we have. We upgraded the garden in particular because we believe the outside is the new inside. These are changes which will enhance the hotel, not just now but for years to come.”

“We wanted to come back better,” Rebecca added. “After such a difficult time, I think it is important to have something new and improved for our guests and customers. More space, more comfort, everything upgraded.”

While hotels have reopened with restrictions many operators are planning future upgrades. Last month the family-owned Vienna Woods Hotel in Cork was granted planning permission for a major €6m upgrade that will almost double its capacity.

Co-owner Michael Magner said they hoped to begin construction in the fourth quarter of this year. “It sends a clear signal that the local authority wants to support family businesses, as well as the hospitality industry. It’s great news for us, for local employment, for the local economy, “ he told the Irish Examiner last month.

“Moreover, it will create badly-needed jobs in a sector that has been absolutely ravaged by the pandemic.”

Source: The Irish Examiner

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