Ireland’s Dalata Hotel Group reported a pre-tax loss of €70.9 million in the first half of 2020, compared to a profit of €37.8 million in the same period last year.
Its first-half revenues tumbled by 60% year-on-year to €80.8 million as the coronavirus lockdown forced the temporary closure of its properties in Ireland and the UK.
Ireland’s largest hotel group said January and February trading had been positive but the hotels had record low occupancies during the remainder of the six-month period.
Since the end of June, the group has been gradually re-opening properties and all are now open.
Occupancy for the group reached 30% in July and is estimated to be 40% for August.
The chain has 29 owned hotels and 12 leased hotels across the UK and Ireland, under the Maldron and Clayton brands.
Locations include Dublin, Cork, London, Manchester, Leeds, Belfast, Cardiff, Cambridge and Birmingham.
“While bookings from domestic guests are encouraging, the outlook for the near term remains uncertain at present with short lead time on bookings and it is not yet known when international travel will return to more normal levels,” it said.
It said its growth strategy “remains compelling with exciting opportunities in London and larger regional UK cities”.
Dalata also announced on Tuesday that it has signed agreements to lease two Maldron hotels to be built in Brighton and Manchester, which brings the current pipeline to almost 3,300 new rooms.
Its pipeline of seven hotels already being built includes two in Ireland and five in the UK. They will open between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022.
Pat McCann, Dalata Group chief executive, said: “Since we re-opened all of our hotels to the public we have launched new marketing campaigns targeting the domestic visitor in Ireland and the UK with a strong focus on value pricing.
“The introduction of the Dalata Keep Safe Programme across all hotels, comprising advanced sanitisation procedures, new technologies, and effective physical distancing measures, has been well received by our corporate and leisure guests, employees and suppliers.”
He added: “While the future remains uncertain, I am encouraged by the positive demand drivers in the markets in which Dalata operates.
“There is also likely to be pent-up demand for key destination cities such as London and Dublin.”