Emma Deighan Twitter
NI hospitality group McKeever Hotels saw its sales rise by a modest 0.4% to £11.3m last year but warned that Covid-19 presents many risks for the firm this year.
The business, which runs Adair Arms Hotel, Ballymena, Corr’s Corner Hotel, Newtownabbey, Dillons Hotel, Letterkenny and Dunsilly Hotel and Dunadry Hotel, Antrim said in its latest financial report that rising costs of food and energy as well as more competitive stock coming onto the hotel market presented challenges to the business, even before the outbreak of coronavirus.
“The worldwide spread of Covid-19 throughout 2020 resulted in a global slowdown in economic activity. The effect of Covid-19 presents many risks for the group, the effects of which cannot be fully quantified at the time of approving the financial statements. There are material uncertainties in relation to the group’s ability to continue as a going concern arising from the uncertainty caused by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said.
Pre-tax profits for the company last year were down 52% but were still in positive territory, sitting at £418,000.
“In planning its future activities, the director will seek to develop the group’s activities while managing the effects of the difficult trading period caused by the outbreak,” it added.
Like many other hoteliers here, McKeever Hotels is trying to entice the domestic market with discounted stays at many of its properties and elsewhere in the industry Hastings Hotels is renting out rooms during the day to the corporate customer from £75 .
The ‘Hotel Office’ day package seeks to give office workers an alternative to the kitchen table with 8.30am until 5.30pm time slots, free Wifi, a large desk and tea and coffee facilities.
Meanwhile a Tourism NI campaign to draw in more overnight stays provided something of a boost in August and September.
Janice Gault from the Northern Ireland Hotel Federation said: “Bookings increased three-fold in August 2020 compared to the same month last year.
“September has also shown a similar pattern with almost double the number of bookings seen in 2019.”
She also said that in coming months, many hotels are seeking alternatives to the Christmas party to push up revenue.
“People are looking at cookery demonstrations, cocktail making and even Christmas Bingo! There is a hope that agreement can be reached on ticketed events which would include cabaret evenings and live shows. These would be seated and staged in line with social distancing.
“The understanding is that magicians may also be allowed, along with comedy shows which are being explored with social distancing measures in place, along with the appropriate risk assessments,” she added.
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