Dalata Hotel Group CEO Pat McCann has said that he expects COVID-19-related restrictions to last until September.
Talking to The Irish Times' "Inside Business" podcast, McCann said, "I would love to think we'd see some flickers of recovery from September. I have no expectation of anything before that. In reality, this may go on until December and into the new year.
"I feel the restrictions will have to go on longer than people expect. A lot of the restrictions will not end before September, and if that was the case, then you would have a slow return to normality."
At present, 29 of Dalata's 44 hotels in Ireland and the UK are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, but McCann stated that Dalata can survive in the face of COVID-19-related restrictions until the end of the year, if the restrictions last that long.
To date, Dalta has laid off 2,500 staff members, implemented pay cuts and introduced short-time working for its remaining staff members.
Aiding The Fight
To aid those involved in fighting the spread of COVID-19, Dalata has made its Clayton Dublin Airport and Burlington hotels available to accommodate workers for the HSE, Dublin City Council and the government. McCann said, "We are helping the cause in terms of providing accommodation to those people who may otherwise struggle at this point in time."
"In A Very Strong Position"
McCann stated that he believes that the key to Dalata successfully navigating its way through the COVID-19 crisis is preserving cash, and that, with €1.5 billion worth of assets on its balance sheet, the group is in a strong position.
He asserted, "We are in a very strong position to withstand the fact that we may have no revenue for at least six or eight months. We own the bulk of our hotels, so we have very valuable assets that could be utilised if we need further cash.
"It gives me a lot of comfort that we can survive this for a very long time."
Looking Beyond 2020
McCann said that he believes that 2020 is the year to "make you survive", 2021 will be about beginning to "build back the business" and 2022 will likely be the year when "some levels of normality" are regained "in terms of visitor traffic and numbers".
He added, "If we had a definitive end date that would make things easier, but unfortunately we don't."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.