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Welcoming guests back after financial backing

For many hotels the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) funding helped them through lockdown to the stage where guests return and owners look towards Christmas bookings and beyond.

A good example is family owned The Webb Hotel Group, which owns Moor Hall Hotel and Spa in Sutton Coldfield, The George Hotel and The Cathedral Hotel in Lichfield, The Gables Hotel near Bristol and The Red Lion pub in Newborough, Staffordshire.

They were able to reopen after a 15-week closure with funding provided by Yorkshire Bank, which is owned by Virgin Money UK. For housekeeping staff within the 250- strong workforce this followed the hard work of preparing rooms for returning guests. Owner and chairman Michael Webb say: “We expect to see a bit of a surge in demand from a portion of our customers. We had to maintain a small skeleton staff during lockdown to handle a large volume of enquiries from people who wanted to move their dates and make future bookings.

“However, there is still a lot of uncertainty around events, such as weddings, corporate functions and entertainment, and we don’t know when we can resume that side of the business. We also welcome lots of guests for spa breaks, which is a significant part of our income. “At the moment, we don’t know how much business we can expect to see in the next few months. It remains to be seen how confident people will feel about using hospitality businesses with ongoing health and safety measures in place.”

“The CBILS funding from Yorkshire Bank will be vital to maintain cashflow if we don’t see enough return business. It has also covered the cost of reopening, which has been considerable with all the new measures we need to implement to keep our employees and guests safe. “Yorkshire Bank has provided excellent support during this challenging time. Our relationship manager was so easy to deal with and handled everything quickly and smoothly.”

Adam Woodall, relationship manager at Yorkshire Bank, adds: “The hospitality sector is one of the hardest hit industries of the Coronavirus lockdown and while businesses can now begin to reopen, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the months ahead. The Webb Hotel Group is a wellestablished business with an excellent track record, so we expect them to bounce back, but understand this might take a bit of time to gain momentum.”

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