Hotel bookings look good as tourists return, says Dalata boss

Hotel bookings around big events are “strong” as the economy continues to reopen, Dalata’s chief executive said.

“The type of reservations that are booked well in advance would be for events big concerts, big matches and they are strong as you would expect,” said Dermot Crowley, CEO of Ireland’s largest hotel group.

“There is a huge program of events in places like Dublin, Manchester, just around Cork, Limerick, Galway [bookings] are strong around these events.

“In addition, we have tour groups mainly from North America and Europe, [who] Would book ahead, and again they seem quite strong. Obviously, they are traveling for the first time in over two years, so that also seems positive,” he added.

Overall, the “vast majority” of the company’s hotel reservations are “very late.”

“People tend to make their decisions late, it can be two, four days in advance. It’s always very hard to tell what future bookings are like,” Mr Crowley said.

His comments come as the company, whose brands include Clayton and Maldron hotels, reported a pre-tax loss of 11.4 million euros in 2021, compared to a loss of 111.5 million euros the previous year. , according to the annual results.

In 2019, Dalata made a profit of 89.7 million euros.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was 63 million euros last year, compared to 18.7 million euros in 2020.

Revenue in 2021 increased to €192 million from €136.8 million in 2020, and was 45% of 2019 levels.

Following the reopening of hotels at the end of the second quarter of last year, Dalata said the group’s like-for-like revenue per available room fell 19% from 2019 levels for the first six months of 2021 to 58 % in July.

In November, it rose again to 78% of 2019 levels, as corporate events and domestic business returned.

Revenue per available room averaged €40 last year, compared to €27.45 in 2020.

The company had a free cash flow of 28 million euros after payments of interest, rents, renovations and investments.

Earlier this year, Dalata made its first foray into continental Europe with the purchase of a leasehold interest in the Nikko Hotel in Dusseldorf.

The move is part of the group’s ambition to establish a presence in “commercially attractive” major European cities, the company said at the time.

Dalata continues to seek expansion opportunities on the mainland.

“We’re still looking, but we’re still patient too…we still have ongoing discussions about potential opportunities that are popping up across Europe,” Mr Crowley said.

“Something isn’t going to happen anytime soon, but we’re always looking for opportunities that might turn into something very quickly or might not work out for us for one reason or another.”

Looking ahead, the company is “optimistic about the ongoing recovery in business.”

Like-for-like revenue per available room for February this year is expected to be 91% of the level achieved in 2019.

Shares of Dalata fell just over 4% in early afternoon in Dublin Tuesday.

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