Hospitality chiefs has warned that tier 4 will be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for rural hospitality businesses, as they deal with a flood of cancellations over the weekend as new restrictions were announced.
Robin Hutson, founder of Home Grown Hotels, tweeted that his ‘brilliant team’ had spent the last 24 hours since the Prime Minister’s tier 4 announcement on Saturday cancelling reservations, costing his Pig Hotels and Limewood hotel circa £500,000 in lost revenue.
The Pig comprises seven properties, with only its Kent hotel closed due to tier 3 restrictions.
Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that London and areas of the south east and east of England will enter tier 4 of restrictions from midnight, meaning that all travel is now restricted and all household mixing over Christmas will be banned.
Huston warned that there will be ‘plenty more’ cancellations to come, and called for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ‘take note, rural hospitality in tier 1,2,3 having a tough time right now’.
He tweeted: Of all the sector wounding twists and turns of rules and regs this year, the fallout from Tier 4 for #ruralhospitality Festive Season probably the worst, seasonal businesses relying on Christmas to get through to Easter. #finalnailinthecoffin”
Others reiterated his concerns. Andrew Grahame, chief executive at Farncombe Estate, which comprises three properties in the Cotswolds added: “It’s devastated our business – we were full for Christmas Saturday morning and by the evening down to 30% with all of our markets in tiers that can’t travel! Furlough is not enough.
Steve Lowy, CEO at The Residence, a group of serviced apartments responded: “We will have £300k cancellations for arrival in Jan, following this latest announcement. Killer… was the start of the fight back but feels like fight has to start all over again.”
Andrew McKenzie, MD at The Vineyard Group said: “Three closed hotels in T4 bleeding us dry.”
Now more than ever, it is crucial that a Minister of Hospitality is appointed to champion the sector in front of government, forcing them to sit up and take notice of the economic, social and employment contribution of the industry to society, before it’s too late.