An update from our Operations Director, Duncan Stewart:
Covid-19 will end at some point in the future but without question the pandemic has hit the hospitality sector hard. Restaurant and event locations will be hardest hit having to manage social distancing for a long time into the future and possibly restrictions lasting to the end of 2020. Large chain hotels with large group accommodation suppliers will have to change their operation to be able to trade and likely at heavily reduced capacity while the smaller operations working on tight margins will not hit the revenue targets they need to break even.
Our apartments are open for Key Workers that can provide documented evidence of the reason for their stay. We have a minimum night stay policy in place with the accommodation being serviced when the apartments are vacated. Our staffing levels have been reduced by 62%, our linen costs halved as we operate minimum night stays together with our utilities costs as we have closed down floors as required. We have managed to limit refunds to booking to less than 20% of the advanced revenue secured as we have moved bookings to future dates and or issued vouchers for future stays.
Health and Wellbeing
We have adapted our operation to allow guests to access the building with a personal code and to collect their apartment information from a secure dropbox. The safety and security of the guests and the staff is paramount with the changes made offering security and peace of mind to all. Each apartment that is vacated is left for two days before the team go in and deep clean all areas. After cleaning the vacated apartment is left for another two days before being available to book.
Reopening Recovery Plan
From the latest Government instructions, Chavasse Apartments and York Street Studios will open, in full, from the 11th May with our reception desk open from 9am to 5pm daily. Our reservations teams will continue to work from home and our housekeepers will be on hand as required. May is already seeing bookings being held and new bookings coming in for the end two weeks will see our costs being met by the revenue generated.
We are focusing on the domestic market as our Aparthotels offer the ideal accommodation for business and leisure users for the months ahead offering home from home accommodation for two to 8-person family groups that when allowed, will want to get away. Staycations I am expecting a boom from June onwards as international restrictions remain in place so in-country city breaks and away days will be the targets for us.
Our forward reservations remain strong with little cancellations from June onwards with September through to December revenue figures on the books as forecasted. 2021 we are capturing new reservations for peak annual events such as Aintree, Grand National and seasonal holiday periods Easter and May bank holidays as people are starting to look ahead to the future and taking advantage now of advanced rates and early booking deals.
I wish all our partners, our staff and investors all the very best health and I look forward to seeing you all in the future.
A construction update from our Project Director, David Cain:
Living Brick continue to make good progress at the Baltic Hotel project, with particular attention to the wellbeing of our workforce, who continue to produce excellent work during these challenging times.
Both the joinery and mechanical & electrical contractors continue to make in roads into their work packages, whilst the ceiling and partitioning specialists are making good progress on the upper floors, which they are progressing top down.
Externally, the brickwork contractor has been putting the finishing touches to the existing brickwork fabric with good results.