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'We may have to close' - hotel hit as guests rush to cancel


Michelle Campion, Westgrove Hotel director of sales. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Michelle Campion, Westgrove Hotel director of sales. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Michelle Campion, Westgrove Hotel director of sales. Photo: Steve Humphreys

A Kildare hotel has seen bookings plummet as guests rushed to cancel reservations.

Westgrove Hotel, in Clane, Co Kildare, is now faced with the possibility of shutting its doors and letting staff go as Kildare is among the counties placed into an effective second lockdown over a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Michelle Campion, Westgrove's director of sales, told the Herald cancellations came flooding in yesterday morning.

"The phone started going at eight o'clock this morning when the first call came in looking to cancel," she said.

"We knew September was going to be a problem but this was going to be the busy time that would help see us through.

"We may see the hotel close because if nobody can travel here it won't be able to sustain the cost of opening.

"Come September, any chance we had of sales will have slowed down almost to a drip. A lot of our current business would be to do with family staycations and once that has stopped by September, the markets that you can address are very small."

Ms Campion said the hotel has "heavily invested" in safety measures and protocols required and staff had undergone extensive Covid-19 training was in advance of reopening.

"Everybody pulled up their sleeves. I mean, I'm the director of sales and I was cutting the grass. All of the training, and doing kind of website training at home, making sure staff are prepared to come back to work, and our staff undergo temperature checks on the way in for every shift."

She said that the cancellations are mostly for the month of August but bigger events, such as weddings and conferences, are now off the books too.

"We had a conference from one university booked in for October and that has been postponed indefinitely. Weddings were holding on for September, late August," she said.


"Now, they are realising that they might have to postpone again into next year unless they're willing to have a really small event.

"We literally only started re-recruiting. We had actually advertised three jobs so the number of staff we have here was going back up."

Guests are now left conflicted as Ms Campion said the hotel can not offer assurance to customers because they have not been given clarity on whether or not the area will be put under lockdown.

"People are kind of presuming from the headlines that the midlands are going to be locked down, so they are not going to travel from different areas in the country to this hotel if they are unsure about their safety," she said.