Christmas reservation cancellations now stand at 90% for some hotel operators.
Thousands of revelers have been frightened by the upsurge in Covid-19 cases and fears over the new Omicron variant.
Executives in the hospitality industry have warned their industry faces the threat of multi-million dollar losses due to the surge in bookings cancellations and the devastation of critical revenue from the l Christmas hospitality.
Taoiseach MicheÃ¡l Martin acknowledged that owners of hotels, restaurants and cafes had been affected and promised the government would assess what could be done to support the sector.
Hospitality industry executives said their traditional Christmas bookings had been slashed by more than 50% with the loss of office Christmas parties, large festive gatherings and school trips.
Hotel owner Pat Tangney said the hospitality industry has been devastated as a flood of cancellations over the past fifteen weeks dashed hopes of a strong festive business season and a recovery after the two-year pandemic.
Mr Tangney – who operates the Firgrove and Clongibbon House hotels in Mitchelstown – said he had processed more than 500 cancellations in recent days.
âNot only that, but we have cancellations that extend into the New Year – we’ve had music nights, social events and the like canceled.
âWe tried to offer small groups an incentive to change dates or change reservations, but it was not good. They canceled and that’s it. We have had events where we booked groups, additional organized staff and even organized security personnel.
âThose St. Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Eve events are all gone – now we even worry about our basic food and drink business. “
The head of the Irish Hotels Federation, Fergal Harte, said the Christmas business in the office had been “totally wiped out” in the past fifteen weeks.
âIt was a big blow because these were very large bookings for each hotelier,â he said.
âWe now mostly depend on smaller groups and those bookings that hold up. “
Mr Harte – who runs the Kingsley Hotel in Cork – said the impact of cancellations could not be overestimated given that hotels and restaurants depend on a strong Christmas season to get through the New Year’s lean season Year.
Restaurant owner Dave Ryan, who operates Hanna’s in Fermoy, has confirmed that he had to cancel all of their Christmas evening operations due to the number of large reservations withdrawn.
âWe could have tried to continue with small groups, but it was just too risky considering everything that is going on,â he said.
âOur take-out business normally represented around 17% of our business. But that has now grown to 38%, which I think says a lot about what’s going on in the country. “
Restaurant Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins said it was a worrying time for everyone in the industry.
The Taoiseach acknowledged the impact of reservation cancellations on the hospitality industry. âWe are aware that the decisions of the past week have resulted in many hospitality cancellations. It had an impact, âhe said.
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