“I’m sure we’re going to have a busy July and August,” says Joe Dolan, former IHF President and owner/manager of Bushes Hotel In Carrick- in-Shannon.
“Although I’d have to say that business on the books today, as distinct from this time last year, are not as good. It’s not unique to me, either. Bookings are slow. A lot of people are keeping their options open. But we’d still expect July and August to be busy but they’ll only be filling the hole left from last winter.”
Being ready for a sudden upturn in business means not only having your premises fit for purpose, clean and in good condition, but also having the properly trained staff to allow your hotel to function as it should and provide the level of service your customers will expect. In this regard, being ready is perhaps not so straightforward. While there are plenty of former employees who have been put on the PUP and laid off, not all of them are going to be available to come back and many of them may have moved on in the meantime.
“In terms of staffing, we would have lost some key personnel and we’re not unique in that sense,” says Joe Dolan, who adds that their state of readiness will depend on his business becoming more imaginative and possible more family-focussed, rather than relying on its traditional market, which has been very much event-focused up to now. “We’ve been 30 years in business and we’ve been through a lot of crises in the past – foot-and-mouth, ash cloud, downturn – but it’s a bit like starting the business from start this time around so it’s a big challenge. But, I’m up for it.”
Read the full article in the latest issue for Hotel & Restaurant Times.