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Clayton Hotels owner suggests full recovery could take up until 2024

The Dalata Hotel Group which owns and operates the Clayton and Maldron chains has said the near-term outlook ‘remains uncertain at present’, with new Covid variants and the continued spread of the virus still threatening to curtail widespread growth in international travel. Which does not come as a shock as many hotels are trying to get back on their feet after the pandemic.

The largest hotel operator in the country has suggested it may not return to pre-pandemic levels of trade until 2024, following two years of Covid upheaval and the time it will take to fully recover.

The Dalata Hotel Group which owns and operates the Clayton and Maldron chains has said the near-term outlook “remains uncertain at present”, with new Covid variants and the continued spread of the virus still threatening to curtail widespread growth in international travel. 

Overseas visitors remain key to Dalata’s big city hotels, particularly in Dublin and London. Nevertheless, Dalata has seen continued upward momentum since Irish-based hotels reopened in early June and virtually halved its first-half losses.

Dalata posted a group loss of €37.8m for the first half of this year, down from first-half losses of nearly €71m last year. First-half revenues were down 51%, year-on-year, at €39.6m; reflecting the reality that mainstream usage of its hotels in the UK and Ireland only resumed in May and June of this year.

Dalata crashed to a €111m loss last year as Covid decimated tourism and hospitality-related businesses in 2020. While the group has not offered any guidance for this year, it has seen strong recovery since hotels reopened in June.

Group occupancy levels were 44% in June before rising to 58% in July and 68% last month.

Additionally, the group generated adjusted earnings of €24m in July and August, alone, against €1.4m for the entire first six months of the year.

Dalata’s Dublin hotels still managed to generate more than €16m in revenue despite the vast majority of its business coming from staycation trade. 

Chief executive designate Dermot Crowley – who formally takes over as group boss from Pat McCann at the beginning of November – said Dalata’s Dublin properties are heavily reliant on international visitors. He said he was hopeful of a bounce in UK visitors in the remainder of the year. Overall, he said he would be “quite happy” if it takes until 2024 for the industry to fully recover.

Mr Crowley said Dalata’s near-term expansion efforts would continue to focus on new properties in UK cities, with the group having effectively reached its limit in Ireland. He said expansion into continental Europe remains a medium-term objective for the group.

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