‘We’re in quite a lucky position in that we have no debt after selling our previous hotel, so we’re not exposed in that respect and we actually budgeted ahead for a build project on the hotel.
‘That build project has been going ahead while the hotel has been closed, it’s quite a magnificent extension. It’s actually quite fortunate we’re able to do it in this break in time because trying to sustain that at the same time as the hotel being open would have been very difficult and taken much longer.
‘We’ve also been planning our protocols for re-opening. Hand sanitizer on tap – check. One person in the kitchen – check. No buffets – check. Room service outside the door – check. QR codes instead of menus so you can just scan them, little videos about the room instead of someone personally showing you around – all those kinds of things.
‘I am an optimist, essentially, otherwise I would not be in hotels, and my gut feeling is that people are perfectly capable of making their own risk assessments. In the hotel industry we constantly do risk assessments in every single area, there are risks being thrown at us all the time. Covid-19 might be a serious one but we’ve got checks in place for every area of the hotel so this is just stepping up that level of vigilance.
‘That’s where having a small hotel helps too, we can read the guests, if they are nervous we can show them the systems are in place. But what I would really like best of all is for them not to feel nervous, to come in feeling confident in the knowledge that we’ve got it all under control so that they can actually let someone else cook for them and make their bed and just relax.
‘As part of this new building project, we’ve also increased our number of breakout areas. I’ve got no intention of marking out the floor into social distancing squares, personally I find that whole thing antithetical to the entire business of being human and certainly antithetical to the whole hospitality business. Putting up screens between tables and things like that is not going to enhance anyone’s experience. But I think people will be sensible and we can help them with the lightest touch possible just so that people feel really secure.’