• Cyril McAree

Covid-19 Sentiment Research

Research undertaken by The Great National Group has revealed a number of insights into how hotels have managed their response to the Covid-19 pandemic including their views on recovery timelines and measures required to enable this to happen.

A total of 59 Great National hotels were surveyed via email between 23 April and 3 May. 38 hotels are located in the UK and 21 hotels are located in Ireland. 32 survey questionnaires were completed, representing a 54% response rate.

As this research addresses general business sentiment, it is worth noting that the following are sample key developments that occurred during the survey period:

23 April: The United Nations Aviation Agency claims that international air passenger traffic could drop by as many as 1.2 billion travellers, or two-thirds, by September 2020.

25 April: US confirmed death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 50,000.

27 April: The British Prime Minister returned to work in Downing Street having recovered from Covid-19.

29 April: US GDP falls 4.8%, the worst economic decline since 2008.

May 1: The Irish Government publishes a roadmap for re-opening Ireland society and business.

Summary findings are as follows:

53% of hotels have seen a 50% or more cancellation of business for 2020.

44% of hotels reported that over half of these cancellations requested a refund rather than postpone to a later date.

56% of hotels indicated that they had laid off all their staff.

In terms of liquidity supports, 90% of hotels availed of a wage subsidy scheme, followed by creditor rescheduling (35%), a payment holiday on business loans (32%) and a bank overdraft (29%).

required business survival supports were ranked as follows in order of priority: 1) zero-rated VAT, 2) 2020 commercial rates to be waived, 3) business grant availability, 4) State debt forgiveness, 5) increased domestic marketing and 6) a government-backed travel insurance scheme.

84% of hotels indicated that they could survive without income for no more than 6 months.

42% see a return to 50% occupancy by August 2020 while 49% do not see a return to 75% occupancy until the 2nd half of 2021.

Stand-out challenges for hotels include the following: social distancing, handling groups, operating profitably, re-engaging and motivating staff, implementing safety guidelines, reassuring guests, paying suppliers, managing cash-flow; in summary, dealing with uncertainty and specifically, reconciling opening and operating costs with significantly reduced demand.

The full research presentation is available to download here: https://www.corporate.greatnationalhotels.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/GNG-Covid19-Research-2020.pdf

Further details are available from David Collins, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, The Great National Group; djc@greatnationalhotels.com

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