Trading picks up for Dalata in second quarter as restrictions ease

But city hotels await return of international travel to fuel demand

Dermot Crowley, new chief executive of Dalata Hotels. Photograph: Damien Eagers

Dermot Crowley, new chief executive of Dalata Hotels. Photograph: Damien Eagers

 

Hotel group Dalata said trading improved in the second quarter as business opened and restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 were loosened, with the group expecting to be close to breaking even in the first half of the year.

The operator of the Clayton and Maldron chains said a combination of cost control and Government supports would bring it close to break-even at adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the first six months of 2021.

Non-essential customers were allowed to return to hotels on May 17th in England and Wales, with Northern Ireland’s hotels reopening a week later, and properties in the Republic accepting guests from June 2nd.

Dalata said occupancies were 24 per cent in Dublin during the second quarter, rising to 32 per cent for regional Ireland. In the UK, hotels were 30 per cent full.

Trading has been better than expected since reopening, Dalata said, with forward bookings continuing to improve. But while hotels in regional Ireland and the UK saw a staycation-driven bounce in demand, those in Dublin and London are dependent on the return of international travel to recover demand more substantially. In June, occupancies stood at 37 per cent in Dublin, 60 per cent in regional Ireland and 44 per cent in the UK.

The group has cash and undrawn debt facilities of €267 million, with cash flow management, improved trading and continued government supports limiting the cash outflow to €27 million since the end of December.

“Despite the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue to focus on protecting what is critical to Dalata’s long-term success. Our people are enthusiastic and engaged, our balance sheet and financial position remain robust, we have maintained communications with our customers, and we have strong partnerships with the institutional landlords who are fundamental to our growth strategy,” said Dermot Crowley, chief executive designate.

Uncertainty

“Covid-19 continues to have a very significant impact on the hospitality industry. I remain encouraged by the pace of the vaccine rollout in both the UK and Ireland but am also aware of the threats posed by the uncertainty surrounding the potential impact of the Delta variant. In Ireland, international travel for non-essential reasons is currently expected to resume from July 19th. I look forward to welcoming international guests back to our hotels in the not-too-distant future.”

The group is set to open its first hotel in Glasgow in August, with a further six planned for Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin between November this year and May next year. The planned Maldron hotel for Birmingham will not proceed, due to difficulties in relation to the site.

“I am confident that with our proven track record, well-invested portfolio, strong balance sheet and team of talented people, we will continue to drive long-term success for all of our stakeholders,” Mr Crowley said.