A new hotel brand, ‘The Address Collective’, has been launched following a €16m investment by the McGettigan family.
It comes amid what is an exceptionally difficult time for domestic tourism as Covid-19 continues to hinder travel.
The brand is currently made up of three well-established hotels: The North Star Hotel in Dublin 1, The Kingswood Hotel in Citywest, and the Ambassador in Cork.
Following the launch of the new brand, the three will be known as The Address Connolly, The Address Citywest and The Address Cork.
Run by husband-and-wife team Brian and Ciara McGettigan, there will be 480 bedrooms, employing 300 people across the three properties.
The launch of the rebranding comes at an unprecedented time for tourism, with international travel largely curtailed.
Despite this, Mr McGettigan is optimistic about the future of the industry in Ireland.
“We remain steadfast in our decision [to rebrand]. Our long-term vision and strategy is to grow this brand,” he told the Irish Independent.
The company is also continuing with its plans to build a fourth Address hotel on Dublin’s Parnell Street.
The new development includes almost 9,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The investment will amount to €34m and is planned to open in 2022 as The Address Parnell.
“The brand is high-quality; all hotels are four-star,” Mr McGettigan said.
As well as bringing each of the three hotels up to four-star standard, he says significant investment has gone into the chain’s ‘Cookhouse’ bar and restaurant experience.
“This is a very chic, trendy, contemporary experience. It is very popular for guests and from an off-the-street customer point of view. We do a club lounge as well, [which offers] 24-hour access for guests.”
Earlier this year the head of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, said he expected tourism numbers here to be down by around 80pc this year.
The hotels that make up The Address Collective have been impacted by the fall in visitors, with the three properties reporting mixed performances.
“Regionally, it has been performing quite well, as in our Cork property. The Citywest property has put in a good performance under the circumstances,” Mr McGettigan said.
However, things have been more difficult at the Dublin 1 hotel.
“I would certainly say the city-centre hotel is the hardest hit, with all the attractions being closed due to Covid-19. So the city centre is tough, but it will bounce back and tourism will bounce back,” he said.
Mr McGettigan has every confidence the group will come through this period of uncertainty.
“We’re strong. We’ve got very good bank support, which is very important, so we will certainly be able to chart ourselves through this,” he added.
“We are happy and confident and are ambitious about the future. We have come this far, we are going to keep on going, albeit, I know against the severe backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
To assist the tourism industry, the Government launched a number of initiatives as part of its July stimulus.
Included in this is €26m in funding to be administered by Fáilte Ireland to contribute to reopening costs for businesses, and a ‘Stay and Spend’ incentive for taxpayers.
It has also agreed to extend the Employment Wage Support Scheme until April 2021, as well as extending the waiver on commercial rates.
Mr McGettigan said the stimulus is welcomed, however he warned it may not be enough for the sector.
“I think they have to go back and look at the VAT and reduce it, and I feel they have to extend rates by maybe up to a total period of 12 months.”
The wage supplement, he believes, should be extended beyond April 2021 in order to ensure survival for businesses.
“But it’s a very hard balancing act for the Government with news everyday regarding Covid-19, and then obviously to keep the economy on track or get it reopened,” he says.
In order to reassure customers and comply with the Fáilte Ireland Covid-19 Safety Charter in each of the three hotels, the company has spent a considerable amount of money on safety measures.
“The health and safety of our guests is of paramount importance,” he says.
Mr McGettigan’s domestic ambitions don’t stop at the three hotels under management and the additional one currently under construction.
While the number-one priority is getting through Covid-19 and opening the fourth hotel, the company has big plans to expand further.
“We would be open to buying or leasing hotels, or entering into joint ventures in order to expand the business,” he said.
In doing so, its focus will be on city-centre locations, at first in Ireland and the UK.
“We would like to get into Belfast, and we’d like to get into Galway. After that, into Glasgow and maybe Manchester.”
Beyond that, Mr McGettigan has further plans to crack the European market.
“The UK expansion would probably take a couple of years, and we will look at Europe throughout that time, but Europe would be after that. We will be focused on Ireland and UK expansion, and then beyond.”
The wider McGettigan Hotel Group has nine hotels across the country, with Brian McGettigan’s brothers and father also involved in the business.
REF: Irish Independent