Hotels in England are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel after the PM’s reopening announcement on Monday night sent bookings sky rocketing.
Andrew Stembridge, executive director at Iconic Luxury Hotels, told BH that bookings for its country hotels, which includes Cliveden, Chewton Glen and the Lygon Arms, ‘snowballed’ after the PM’s televised conference, with months of pent-up demand spilling out into reservations.
“Demand for spring and summer bookings in our provincial properties have been consistently strong over the past month however this snowballed following the PM’s announcement last night, which gave long awaited clarity on when hotels would be allowed to reopen,” he says.
Andrew Grahame, chief executive at Farncombe Estate, the portfolio comprising Dormy House, The Fish and Foxhill Manor, echoed this feeling, telling BH that the hotel saw a staggering 450% rise in reservations immediately after the announcement, with visit to the hotel websites doubling in the last two days.
Hotel booking data from Profitroom found that bookings for UK properties reached as ‘all-time high’ in the wake of Monday’s conference, showing a 307% year-on-year increase. Furthermore, room night bookings were up by 605%, and direct bookings rising by 685%.
Rockliffe Hall’s managing director Jason Adams added to this sentiment, whilst highlighting the need for further clarity on reopening certain parts of the business.
He says: “We have seen a huge increase in web traffic; we are currently updating the website ourselves with the new information. Some detail is still missing, can golfers eat outside, can we open steam rooms and sauna or have any treatments. Each affiliation is working through the detail and we are waiting on news from each and every one of them. England Golf, The Spa Association and UKHospitality.
“The inbox is very busy, and a lot just moving bookings from March, April and early May into the more summer periods. The great thing is now we have dates and we can plan, and hope dates don’t get moved.”
Under the new rules, indoor gyms, leisure centres, including spas, are able to reopen on April 12.
Penny Weston, Director at Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat, Staffordshire said enquiries have surged, with people now able to see a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
“Enquiries since last night (Monday) have surged. We have had hundreds overnight, from social media but mostly email too. It’s great to feel so busy.”
Titanic Spa in Huddersfield, a top eco spa in Yorkshire, said the roll-over of bookings is also helping to boost business.
Warrick Burton, managing director says: “We have been inundated with enquiries since the announcement earlier this week, where we are accepting bookings from May 17. Many enquiries are for those asking for 2 night stays so we have introduced a new 2 night spa package for people to stay with us longer. We also have many bookings from beforehand (on hold or via vouchers) that need to be fulfilled, which will impact the business for quite some time.”
On Monday evening, Boris Johnson announced that England will be released from lockdown in four steps, at five-week intervals, so long as cases continue to drop and the pace of the vaccination programme remains on track.
Outdoor hospitality will be permitted to reopen on April12, with indoor hospitality reopening on May 17. Johnson added that the aim is lift all legal limits of socialising on June 21.
According to Graeme Bateman, managing director, Elite Hotels: “We are naturally relieved and welcome the news that UK hotels are finally able to start planning and will be able to welcome guests once again from 17th May. Based on the level of advanced bookings, we know that there is a strong desire for people to get out and about which, coupled with continuing overseas travel restrictions, enables us to feel confident this will lead to a rush in summer bookings at UK hotels..”
Richard Ball, managing director, Calcot Health & Leisure Limited (includes Pride of Britain members Calcot Manor and Barnsley House) said the hotels are close to reaching capacity for the summer months already
He says: “We are heartened by the Government’s approach to unlocking our hotels and restaurants, and working on details to open all our gardens and terraces for an “Alfresco Spring” just as soon as we get the green light in April. We are also taking provisional bookings from May 17th for rooms in all our hotels on flexible terms, and reaching capacity in the summer months already. Our teams are itching to get back to work.”