Postpone don't cancel urges Laois glampsite on behalf of Irish hospitality businesses

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Postpone don't cancel urges Laois glampsite owner on behalf of Irish hospitality businesses

The 'glamphouse' at Glamping Under The Stars in Ratheniska run by Kyra Fingleton

The hashtag #postponedontcancel is trending on social media, as the hospitality industry scrambles to safeguard against the economic impact of Covid-19 coronavirus.

#postponedontcancel’ is a campaign asking prebooked guests who cannot travel due to corona crisis restrictions to throw a lifeline to hospitality businesses.

In Laois Kyra Fingleton runs Glamping Under The Stars, a glampsite in Ratheniska popular with hen parties and families, and previously seen on the RTÉ version of Don't Tell the Bride.

"Deferring your holiday rather than cancelling outright could be the difference between a mild case of covid-19 closure - from which the business could recover - and a terminal bout," she said.

"Some hospitality businesses just won’t make it. High overheads and large staff structures could make a period of lost revenue more that a business can stand. Especially as the outbreak is likely to hit its peak just as we reach peak tourist season," Kyra believes.

She reports a positive reception so far from her guest forced to call off their bookings.

“Overwhelmingly, our guests have been understanding and supportive. Many are repeat guests and know us personally. They know our business is suffering. Having worked hard to build up a reputation for magical glamping – especially among families and hen parties, we had more pre-bookings than ever this year.

"We were afraid we would go under if we had to refund all the deposits paid. Thankfully, our guests are really keen to rebook – for later this year, or in 2021. Whenever we reopen, we are going to be very busy!” she said.

This sentiment is echoed across the hospitality sector she said.

"There is very much a sense of ‘we’re all in this together’, which might just be enough to carry our favourite hospitality businesses through," the glampsite owner said.

Glamping Under the Stars is an award-winning, family-owned boutique glampsite in Co. Laois. The glampsite has quickly established as one of the best in Ireland, offering a range of quirky, luxurious accommodations including bell tents, wood lodges and a gorgeous hand-built shepherd’s hut.

As a mother to 3 young children, Kyra is committed to creating a magical glamping experience for families – offering the joy of campfires and stars, with all the comforts of home. The relaxed atmosphere, comfy beds and pretty vintage touches are also a
hit with hen groups, who regularly hire the place out for private parties.

"The corona virus crisis has thrown the world into disarray. While it may seem flippant to discuss the economic implications of the virus when the global death toll continues to rise, some businesses – particularly those in the tourism sector - fear they may never open their doors again following the lockdown closures.

"No question, the hospitality industry is in a high-risk category. There is no cocooning from it. As businesses that promote travel and, by and large, focus on the joy of increased social interaction, tourism establishments were among the first to have to close due to covid-19.

"Some, such as restaurants and food providers, have been able to streamline their services and offer takeaway only, but it is a very innovative accommodation provider that is able to offer takeaway bed nights," she said.

So, what to do?

"In an industry that is all about people and guest relationships, now, more than ever, it is those guests who have the power to make or break their favourite hotels, pubs, campsites and glampsites," she said.