A plan to rescue hundreds of postponed weddings around Ireland has been proposed by a leading industry analyst.
Speaking to Micheline Corr of The Firm, in a ‘Firm Optimist’ interview, Aiden Murphy, partner at Crowe, said that enabling more wedding receptions to take place would benefit not only the ‘Happy Couples’ and their families, but also a labour-intensive activity for hotels.
‘The move would support re-opening of ground floor activities at Irish hotels so greater numbers of staff can be brought back onto the payroll’, he said.
‘In a Level 2 scenario, each hotel could be allowed provide banquet events up to a size which is appropriate to their events space, as determined by either the local authority or HSE. Table layout and configurations would be allowed within pre-agreed parameters, in an arrangement that has already worked in larger restaurants and bars. Events that will drive rooms demand from the domestic market and which can be managed in house will next year be a crucial aspect of creating demand and hotels will need lead time to put arrangements in place and market these events. This could allow, from Easter onwards, weddings and leisure breaks to include after dinner entertainment which also helps get work flowing again to the many performers and artists who have been left without gigs for a long time now. Hotels are a controlled and managed space and hoteliers will want to play their part in getting society up and running as important community stakeholders in activities and employment across the country’ he said.
In a wide-ranging interview Aiden Murphy said that Government supports for hospitality businesses hit by the pandemic were more comprehensive than those provided in the 2009 economic crisis. This will enable many hotels to recover, but it will be 2022 before the sector will experience significant growth. Hospitality businesses will need cash and reserves for the recovery process, and while they are likely to be supported by Government and the banks, those with cash reserves are likely to survive and recover at a faster pace.
He said that the impact of Brexit on Irish tourism will be strongly related to the future value of sterling against the euro and other currencies. Any downturn in the economy of Northern Ireland would also have a negative impact on hotels close to the Border.
He said that many hotels had coped well with the impact of the Covid pandemic, but those who have developed three year plans will be best placed to benefit from a future upturn in the economy.