>HOTELS IN snow-affected parts of the country have lost up to 70 per cent of their Christmas week business, according to the Irish Hotels Federation – even though thousands of people trapped by weather booked hotel rooms in the past week.
The IHF says the ground-floor business of hotels – such as bars and restaurants – has “gone” this week and any uplift from cancelled flights and disrupted travel plans has been slight.
Christmas week is normally a bonanza for the hotel sector, with turnover up to three times that of a normal week. However, because of the big freeze, many establishments have lost out on the cash flow that normally sustained them through January, according to IHF president, Paul Gallagher.
“Ireland effectively shut down because of the weather and, as a result, business was devastated on three of the busiest weekends in the year,” he said.
Mr Gallagher acknowledged that some hotels, particularly those near airports, had picked up business because of the air travel turmoil caused by snow in Ireland and throughout northern Europe.