ACCREDITATION: Staff at Ballygarry House, the first hotel to be accredited with COVID-19 Safety Charter for Hospitality, pictured as they returned to work last week.

 

After a 15-week rest, Ballygarry House returns to a new dawn after becoming the first hotel in Ireland to be accredited with the Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Safety Charter for Hospitality.

 

The COVID-19 Safety Charter is a Government-endorsed initiative that ensures tourism and hospitality businesses are well-able to adhere to the specific guidelines outlined for reopening.

Bringing 135 staff back to work, Padraig McGillicuddy, Hotel Proprietor, is delighted to reopen Ballygarry House’s doors to guests and welcome them to the establishment that has been 62 years in the McGillicuddy family.

“This year is the year of the Irish, all business will be home grown and it’s going to be largely based on a quality product with value for money,” Padraig said.

“We got plenty of work done on creating a message to satisfy consumer confidence through social media videos. We launched a fun reopening video and we have had over 100,000 views which is a remarkable result. We also launched a video endorsing the measures we are taking to reassure the guests and instil consumer confidence in our COVID practices. Simple things like replacing the traditional Irish handshake with our ‘hand on our heart’ gesture, a symbol of our love of all things hospitality.”

He explained that this will be an exceptional year where the business will do well to breakeven, but the priority has been to keep their team together, trade out of it and look forward to a really prosperous year in 2021.
“The cost of the pandemic in lost revenue to the hotel is €4,000,000 some of which can be recovered but it will be a challenge. Thankfully we entered this shutdown in a very strong position so we’ll rise stronger than ever from it.”

With Kerry Tourism generating over €420 million for Kerry which is the main form of employment in the county, Padraig is keen to get Ballygarry back to previous trading levels. However, he stressed the necessity and importance of the lockdown and how it helped slow down the speed of the virus in and around Kerry and Ireland. Ballygarry itself has retrained all staff, re-written its hotel policies and standard operating procedures in line with and beyond Government guidelines so they can assure their guests and staff that safety is the number one priority.