Yorkshire Bank helps hotel group reopen for business

A family-owned hotel group is welcoming guests back to its venues and has secured Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) funding from Yorkshire Bank, which is owned by Virgin Money UK, to support its economic recovery.

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, reopened on 4 July in line with government guidance after a 15-week closure because of the coronavirus lockdown.

The company’s 250-strong workforce has returned to work from furlough and has been busy preparing venues by implementing physical distancing and hygiene measures based on the hotel and accommodation guidance provided by the UK government.

While the management team is optimistic about restaurant bookings and business accommodation returning to normal quickly, around half of the group’s income is generated from weddings, other events and spa bookings.

Michael Webb, owner and chairman, Webb Hotel Group, said:

“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, such as tribute nights, 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. It means we still don’t know how our income is going to be affected for the rest of the year.

“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, said:

“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 well-established 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.

“We’re aware that all businesses will be thinking about their return to operations as the lockdown restrictions are steadily lifted. We’re here to provide financial support and guidance to help our customers get back up and running.”

More information on CIBLS is available on the Yorkshire Bank website: https://secure.ybonline.co.uk/business/our-products/loans-and-finance/borrowing-facilities/business-loan/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme/

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Lisa Baker is the Editor of Always Finance, and writes about Business, Finance Technology and Healthcare. Lisa is also the owner of Need to See IT Publishing.