Shares in Ireland’s biggest hotel operator, Dalata, have sunk more than 5pc after it warned that it’s experienced a sharp decline in bookings and cancellations as the coronavirus spreads.
The group operates almost 9,000 owned and leased rooms across about 30 hotels in Ireland and the UK. It operates brands such as Clayton and Maldron.
When it released full-year results on February 25, Dalata said that it had seen no material reduction in demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We have since observed a significant reduction in bookings and a significant increase in cancellations following the spread of Covid-19 to Europe, in particular the spread of the virus to Northern Italy and from there to the UK and Ireland,” the group said in a statement today.
It added: “The extent of the impact of Covid-19, the rate at which the virus spreads, and the period for which it continues cannot be predicted at this time. It is therefore too early to estimate the financial impact on the Group; we will provide a further update as the situation develops.”
Chief executive Pat McCann said that the group’s decentralised operating model has enabled it to respond “quickly and effectively as this situation evolves”.
“Our primary concern is the health and well-being of our people and our guests,” he said. “We are implementing additional procedures and following the guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation.”
Mr McCann added that Dalata’s lowly geared, asset-backed balance sheet, together with the group’s experience in reacting to “crisis scenarios”, gives the group the resilience to manage the impact of the virus outbreak.