'We had 321 people booked': Cancellation of one Christmas party will cost Cork hotel €40k revenue

'We had 321 people booked': Cancellation of one Christmas party will cost Cork hotel €40k revenue

Michael Magner, who owns Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire, said the cancellation of Christmas parties, corporate lunches, and gatherings would have a big financial impact on his hotel. Picture: David Keane.

A CORK hotelier estimates his business will lose €40,000 from the cancellation of one Christmas party alone.

Michael Magner, who owns Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire, said the cancellation of Christmas parties, corporate lunches, and gatherings would have a big financial impact on his hotel.

“We had 321 people booked in for a Christmas party on December 10.

“That alone would result in about €40,000 in revenue, between accommodation, food, and beverage.

“That is all gone,” he said.

The recent surge in positive Covid cases nationwide has led to many companies and organisations cancelling events over the festive season.

The latest industry research by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) forecasts over €90m in lost revenues for the sector.

“We have estimated the loss of revenue from our books to be €200,000 between Christmas parties, gatherings, corporate lunches, and meeting room business,” continued Mr Magner.

The Cork hotelier said the quieter-than- expected Christmas period would also have a big knock-on effect on the local economy.

Mr Magner said: “All our Christmas party bookings are gone. Meeting-room business is gone as well. Companies are now working from home, so they have cancelled meetings that had been booked in the hotel.

“These typically would be companies with large workforces and they would be taking people off-site for specific training. That is now moving online.

“What you turn in December helps you through January and February. It has a big knock-on effect, as it is all money which is being circulated around the local economy. The indirect consequence of that is that we won’t be buying half the amount of food and drink from our suppliers.”

Mr Magner praised the Government for its support to date, but said they need the financial supports to remain for the coming months.

Chairman of the Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) Fergal Harte echoed Mr Magner’s sentiments.

“Christmas parties have been decimated and that business is gone,” he said. 

“We have been seeing it for the past couple of weeks. Whenever uncertainty arises, it leads to real concern from the public. I am hearing that from colleagues throughout the industry in Cork.”

Mr Harte, who runs The Kingsley Hotel in Cork City, said he hoped the Government would extend its supports to “protect” employment and livelihoods.

“We are asking the Government to consider the supports again,” he said. “We have new challenges essentially. The first quarter of next year would always have been a quiet period anyway, so we are asking for the employment wage subsidy scheme [EWSS] to be extended at its current level until next April at a minimum, and for the local authority rates waiver to be retained until next June. We need to protect employment.”

IHF warning

The IHF has warned that hotels are facing a “cliff edge” as the Government plans to cut EWSS supports from December 1 and discontinue the local authority waiver from January 1, 2022.

IHF chief executive Tim Fenn said: “As a direct result of Government public health advice, the trading environment for the hotels sector is now completely different to a few weeks ago. Hotels and guesthouses are taking an enormous financial hit. We have been repeatedly told that there will be no ‘cliff edge’, yet that is not what we are seeing from the Government at present.

“This is about real lives and livelihoods. Before this pandemic, over 270,000 livelihoods were supported by the tourism and hospitality industry. These jobs matter, not only to the people working in the industry, but to the wider economy.”

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