'There aren’t enough bookings'; Some Cork city hotels not ready to reopen

'There aren’t enough bookings'; Some Cork city hotels not ready to reopen
Fergal Harte General Manager of The Kingsley and his team are delighted to reopen the doors. 

A lack of bookings has become a concern for Cork city hotels that are yet to reopen their doors despite approval from Government to resume operations.

Hotels in many of Cork’s coastal towns reopened on Monday in line with the Government’s guidelines, but many city hotels took the decision to wait until next month due to a lack of bookings.

With the wipeout of international tourism and lack of large corporate events coming to the city, the hospitality sector is set to rely solely on the domestic market for the remainder of the summer.

Cork Chair of the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) and general manager of The Kingsley Hotel, Fergal Harte, said that “it is definitely a big concern” for city hotels and that he is aware that quite a number of his colleagues have chosen not to open.

“Business, particularly for the cities, just isn’t there. We’re hopeful that that will start to pick up. From my own perspective, that’s what we would like to see happen and it’ll be a case of taking all of this one step at a time.

“There aren't international tourists coming in and the corporate side of things is quiet for the summer anyway, everyone is focused on the domestic market,” he said.

The Kingsley reopened its doors on Monday to “plenty of interest” but Mr Harte said that bookings were slow to pick up until about a week to 10 days before reopening.

In normal circumstances, the hotel caters for 60% to 70% corporate bookings and remains popular for short city breaks also.

General Manager of The Metropole Hotel, north of the River Lee, said that while the hotel is receiving bookings, there are not enough to reopen until mid-July.

Roger Russell said that each manager has to make a decision about reopening on their own merit and that the hotel will reopen on July 13 after taking into consideration many different factors including demand.

He said the lack of international tourists and businesses coming into the city means that reliance is on the domestic market, the success of which will depend on people’s willingness to take a staycation.

Mr Russell expects the number of guests at the hotel to be “low in the beginning depending on how things develop”.

He said that the hotel which usually operates “at about 90% occupancy” during the summer months will be doing well if it has 30% occupancy over the remainder of the season.

“While there are bookings, there aren’t enough bookings and there’s a huge difference in demand there when compared to last year,” he said.

The hotel sector is urging the public in Ireland to take 'staycation' breaks this year to support the tourism industry and help rebuild the economy following the enforced closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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