When you first learned of the Covid-19 outbreak, was there any initial concern relating to public health and your business?
Absolutely there was, we were getting various snippets of information from various sources often at odds with one another and nothing was clear other than the smell of fear. People were panicking a lot when it first started and there were some wild sounding stories in the media both on and off line. It very soon became clear that thing would change massively in our sector as well as most others. Back in the early days there was absolutely no chance of acquiring any PPE it was like hens teeth!
We found out what the best readily available anti-viral cleaner was and made sure we had enough for our immediate needs without trying to stockpile it. There were plenty of people back then who were trying to take every advantage possible and we took the stance that we were not going to do that. We started the business for the long haul and plan to be around still when all this is over.
All our rooms now feature a mini-fridge and hand gel so we can keep guest and breakfast Covid-19 safe
Once changes to the nature of your sector began to take hold, how was your business affected and changed?
The year had already started badly. We went away as is our custom in January to get a little winter sun prior to starting out on what should have been our busiest season ever, oh boy how that changed! We got back and after 3 weeks great swathes of the UK were hit by severe flooding. Although Skipton was barely affected at all, people had planned to travel from all over the country and many of the areas where they came from were affected. Even if not, most were afraid that if they travelled they may be cut off and unable to return, so the cancellation of bookings began and has never really looked back for most of the year.
Almost as soon as everything began to dry out, along came Covid-19 which hit the country more like a tsunami! The cancellations were now in full swing and our trade like most other accommodation providers around us plummeted with alarming speed. There were virtually no bookings from the end of 2019 right through until 4th July when the first national lock-down ended.
We did open the doors to key workers as per the Government Guidelines and a few took advantage, but not many and we were offering reduced rates in order to assist those helping to keep the country open for business. This meant the taking were down probably in the region of 95%
Tea & coffee facilities in every room mean guests can relax and put their feet up as soon as they arrive