THERE’S been something of a silver lining for the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon since the Covid-19 restrictions imposed on the construction and hardware sector were lifted almost two weeks ago.
“Were able to hire a cherry picker and go ahead with the outside painting ourselves. Myself and my brother, John took it on and our father, Dan looked after the lower bits. It was no bother and it saved us a fair bit of money,” said the hotel’s general manager.
Michael is passing on the opportunity to partially reopen the Falls on June 29, when the lockdown will be further relaxed to allow cafés and restaurants providing on-premises food and drink operate, where they can comply with social distancing measures and have strict cleaning in operation
He said they are planning to reopen on July 20 but are awaiting details of regulations that will impact how the hotel operates. Meanwhile, he’s happy to report that the reservation desk has been very busy.
“They are yet to say anything about the occupancy levels or the square footage of a premise to ensure social distancing change be achieved. The Irish Hotels’ Federation is involved in the discussions about new protocols. We have a large footprint so there won’t be any problems with space here.
“I’m optimistic about getting back to a fairly decent level of business at the Falls; the signs are there. The bookings from mid-July on are good; its mainly the home market,” he said.
Michael noted the 10 self-catering apartments and three-bed cottage in the courtyard are booked out.
“It’s the family market; they’ve plenty space for the kids and they can get outside to play,” he said.
The market for couples and groups looks promising too, according to Michael.
“We’ve had enquiries and bookings and a survey by Golden Years Ireland has confirmed that a lot of the over-55s want to go away somewhere when all the Coronavirus problems are over. They don’t want to abroad yet; it’s somewhere in Ireland,” he said, adding that it’s a niche they will focus on.
Also, on the agenda to get things moving again at the Falls Hotel will be their autumn/winter weekend entertainment events, which attract many return guests, and give a bit of a boost to the local economy.
“We won’t kick off until the second weekend in November but there will be regular events after that up to March,” he said.
Michael acknowledged that the road to a full recovery for the hotel industry will be a long one and will need support from government level, along with growing their customer base through strong marketing.