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Coronavirus: Bournemouth’s hotels have been preparing to welcome back guests

By Jason Lewis, The Bournemouth Echo

HOTELIERS across the conurbation are ready are raring to welcome back guests when the time is right this summer.

That is the message from the chair of BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA), the group that represents many of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s hotels.

While the hospitality industry has taken a big hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and government-introduced lockdown, BAHA chair Tim Seward said hotel owners are remaining upbeat.

“Staff are furloughed still and there are businesses that are very positive about the summer when we can open in July,” he said.

“We are waiting for an announcement on when and where and how.

“It comes back to as and when hotels can open, they can get the rest of the summer and we can be okay.

“Some hotels are looking to close temporarily to be ready for next spring, but they are not closing forever. They are looking at how to keep their business going.

“With the people I speak to, not just in big hotels but in little B&Bs and guest houses, there has been some positive work.”

Lockdown put a stop to the traditional income from visitors but several Bournemouth hotels took the chance to use this time to make improvements.

This includes the Hampton by Hilton creating a new breakfast area, Hotel Piccadilly painting the front of their hotel, Marsham Court creating a new seating area and the Queens Hotel & Spa continuing with a full refurbishment to a four-star standard.

Operations, such as those at Cliff House Hotel, Southbourne, and Oceana Hotel Group, diversified by offering collection or delivery takeaway which have been well received

On Rightmove there are around 18 hotels, guest houses and B&Bs across Bournemouth on the market.

However, Mr Seward said there had not been an increase in sites on the market since the start of the pandemic.

“Those hotels were all on the market pre-Covid-19,” said Mr Seward. “I keep a very close eye on those hotel listings at the moment and those hotels and guest houses were all on the market.”

He added: “When you look at the beach being full, we want everyone to come back safely, but actually as a seaside resort compared to others, we are doing very well.

“There is another resort that has eight hotels for sale on their seafront. We don’t have that. We are in a good place at the moment and I think hoteliers have been careful.”

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