APEX Hotels Limited has used lockdown to improve the guest experience after facing almost eight months of restrictions and closures during the financial year.
Like much of the rest of the sector, operations and cashflow were significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic – driven by Government and international travel restrictions, coupled with the move to working from home affecting business travel. As a result, the hotel group reported pre-tax losses of £16.4m (down from £7m pre-tax profit last year).
However, the group took advantage of the slowdown in international and domestic travel during the year to 30 April 2021 to invest in back-office infrastructure, guest-facing technology and its staff training programmes – leaving it well-positioned to maximise the opportunities offered as the travel sector picks up.
The rise in staycations as restrictions eased also proved advantageous for Apex Hotels and its well-established properties in Edinburgh, London, Glasgow, Dundee and Bath – with the group quick to capitalise whilst international travel remained off the cards.
Chief Executive Angela Vickers, said a combination of successfully adapted strategic priorities, market positioning, and the ability to appeal to those looking to explore new locations through the hotel portfolio, helped bolster results.
She said: “This was an incredibly challenging period for the entire industry, with intermittent restrictions and closures imposed for almost three-quarters of the financial year.”
“However, we used the time wisely to by investing in initiatives that added long-term value, supporting future performance and a strong comeback, and capitalised on the appetite for staycations as restrictions on domestic travel eased.”
“We rolled out new technologies, including new property and guest management systems to reduce the time spent processing data and allow our staff more time to serve the needs of our guests. We also brought in a new staff training programme, enhancing learning and development, as well as launching a big data project to provide us with valuable insights to drive further business improvements.”
“With the reopening of the hospitality industry, and thanks to a successful vaccination programme roll-out, we are in an excellent position to grow revenue once again and we are confident in our ability to drive long-term, sustainable growth as we near the end of the pandemic. We look forward to welcoming guests, old and new, and returning our results to pre-pandemic levels. Our outlook for the year ahead is optimistic.”