Kilkenny hotels begin slow recovery as South-East sees bookings ahead of national average

Latest industry survey shows early signs of uplift in summer booking levels in some hot spots

Kilkenny People

Reporter:

Kilkenny People

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Hotels in the South-East are beginning to see an uplift in bookings for July and August, the latest industry survey from the Irish Hotels Federation shows.

With booking levels nationally averaging 23% for July and 21% for August, the South-East appears to be out in front of other regions, with booking levels here averaging 38% and 33% for those months respectively. It follows the Government’s recent announcement that it will look at the reopening of hotels and guesthouses in June. 

Colm Neville, Chair of the South-East branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, is encouraging people to plan their holidays and breaks early while there is plenty of choice and availability around. Mr Neville says the positive developments around the vaccine roll-out coupled with the Taoiseach’s announcement around the reopening of hotels have allowed hotels in Kilkenny and across the country to start planning towards reopening.

“However, as the latest IHF survey shows, there is still a long way to go before hotel occupancy reaches even last summer’s levels. Recovery will be a challenge for the hotel sector this year, requiring continued Government support through to 2022, when the tourism industry should start to recover in earnest," he said.

“Staycations were a real positive last summer and we expect booking levels to continue to rise over the coming weeks. Not surprisingly, as indicated by our latest survey, we would expect to see stronger demand in coastal areas, popular tourism destinations and hotels offering packages and facilities for families. This is reflected in the South-East, where occupancy levels at 38% for July are slightly ahead of the national average. There is excellent value available. Guests should contact hotels directly to find out what special offers are available and shop around.”

While the extensive availability across the country may be good news for consumers, it highlights the ongoing challenges facing the hotel sector.

“Tourism supported some 6,200 livelihoods in Carlow and Kilkenny before Covid-19 restrictions, contributing €163 million to the local economy," said Mr Neville.

"Hotels are focused on restoring employment levels as quickly as possible. While employment and business supports to date have been very welcome, it is essential that the Government now provides greater clarity and certainty now around supports into 2022 and beyond.

“Specifically, we are seeking increases in payments under the Covid Restrictions Supports Scheme (CRSS), enhanced employment subsidies, extension of the local authority rates waiver until the end of March next year. We also ask the Government to intervene with the banks to ensure they have appropriate supports and engagement processes in place for hotels and their team members until Covid-19 has been suppressed.”

Mr Neville said hotels also require a clear commitment from the Government to retain the 9% tourism VAT rate to assist recovery and secure a viable and sustainable future for the industry. “Wait and see is not a sustainable business strategy,” Mr Neville added.

The IHF survey was carried out on April 6-8 and the results are based on the response of 330 properties with 32,850 guest rooms spread across the country.

Breakdown of occupancy results for July / August/ September 2021:

National room occupancy:  23 % July/ 21% Aug / 18% Sept
Dublin City and County: 11 % July/ 12% Aug / 15% Sept
Other Cities: 18 % July/ 17% Aug / 11% Sept
Border region:  30% July/ 28% Aug / 20% Sept
Mid-West: 21 % July/ 18% Aug / 16% Sept
Midlands / Mid East: 21% July/ 20% Aug / 21% Sept
South-East: 38 % July/ 33% Aug / 26% Sept
South West: 35 % July/ 33% Aug / 23% Sept
West: 29 % July/ 22% Aug / 16% Sept