‘There is a future- there is a to-morrow’, chef, restaurateur and hotelier Richard Corrigan said to-day (Thursday 7th May).
He was participating in the latest ‘The Firm Optimist’ on-line discussion with Nicky Logue, general manager of The Dublin Intercontinental Hotel, moderated by Micheline Corr of recruitment consultants ‘The Firm’.
Richard Corrigan said that despite the Covid 19 pandemic, he remained confident about the future. ‘We are taking bookings for weddings at Virginia Park Lodge. Many are from the USA, Australia and the UK and some are bookings for 2020 which have been moved out to 2021. The diary is filling’, he said.
Virginia Park Lodge has also launched an on-line wedding consultation service, which he says is ‘an interesting business concept for the future’.
However, he expects difficulties when his hotel and London restaurants re-open. ‘We will need to have discussions with our landlords. When we re-open we will need to pay staff and suppliers to continue in business. Restaurants will need help’.
Nicky Logue said that the Irish Government had reacted quickly to the crisis with employee and business supports. ‘The sector will need on-going support including an extension of Covid 19 payments. Other initiatives like zero VAT and a rates freeze are also being discussed. Tourism needs to be a priority for the new Government and the industry will need a strong Minister for Tourism, he said.
Richard and Nicky agreed that their businesses will rely on the domestic market when hotels re-open and that ‘staycations’ will be vital. ‘But people on holidays will need attractions and other facilities which they can visit’, Nicky said.
He added that achieving an enjoyable guest experience while maintaining social distancing will be a challenge. ‘Intercontinental Hotel Dublin will seek to operate restrictions in a gentle manner and to five-star standard’, he said. Guests can expect an enhanced hygiene regime with electrostatic room cleaning among the new technologies.