The Village Hotels brand owner’s revenue plummeted 60% as the company battled the effects of lockdowns.
Warrington-based VUR Village Hotels also saw losses spike after being forced to close for three months and then being forced to cope with low occupancy when restrictions resumed.
VUR operates 32 hotel and leisure complexes on the outskirts of cities across the UK under the Village brand. It employs more than 4,000 people.
The Warrington-based company reported sales of £ 86.5 million for 2020 – up from £ 215.5 million in 2019.
It recorded a pre-tax loss of £ 147m – a sharp increase from a loss of £ 9.5m in 2019. This includes a revaluation loss of £ 108.4m on the company’s assets.
The accounts also show that the group made $ 20 million during the year.
VUR said the hospitality industry first felt the effects of the pandemic in January 2020 and that business levels were “significantly impacted” by early March.
In his report to the board of directors, Director Coley Brenan said March was “traditionally one of our busiest months,” but with the announcement of the national lockdown on March 22, occupancy had dropped to just 30%.
All hotels in the group were closed for the remainder of March and remained closed from April to June. English hotels reopened from July 4th, Scottish and Welsh hotels later that month.
Mr Brenan said, “Occupancy began to improve, hitting 31% in July and peaking at 55% in August, with resort hotels in Blackpool, Bournemouth and Swansea benefiting from demand in the Staycation market.
“This initial recovery was short-lived, however, as regional and local tiered bans went into effect in September and October, and a second four-week national bans began on November 5.
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“During this lockdown and for the following restricted trading hours until the end of December 2020, the hotels remained open to key worker groups.
Occupancy averaged just 25% in November and December compared to 80% in 2019. Average room rates also fluctuated over the year, with an average over the twelve month period of £ 60; compared to £ 68 in 2019. “
The group also saw a decline in health and fitness memberships over the year from 99,000 to 75,000 as of December 31. The group’s dining options have also been hit hard by bans and social distancing regulations.
Mr Brenan said, “In addition, the ongoing restrictions on the mixing of groups and families meant that meetings and events of almost all kinds could not take place, which decimated our normally buoyant business of weddings, tribute party nights, and business and corporate meetings . “
That meant Village was experiencing the worst Christmas trading period ever, “where all meeting and event business, including traditional Christmas and New Year celebrations, was canceled as Britain headed for a third national lockdown”.
Mr Brenan said village hotels stayed open to key workers in early 2021 – and occupancy rose slowly earlier in the year as other hotel groups closed.
He added: “Despite the impact on the hospitality sector in 2020 and 2021, the group remains committed to expanding the Village brand by acquiring an existing hotel for conversion in May 2021 and agreements to purchase land for new developments in June 2021 concludes. “
Village opened its hotel in Southampton Eastleigh in May 2021. It bought the former Hilton in Bracknell in May 2021 and will reopen as the Village Hotel this month.
VUR Village Hotels is ultimately owned by mutual funds managed by KSL Capital Partners.