The Cumbria and Lake District region has been identified as a hotels hotspot where enquiries and sales have continued despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The head of UK Hotels Agency at sector specialist Colliers International said that despite the virus presenting even greater challenges than those of the Foot and Mouth outbreak nearly 20 years ago, Cumbria had been the best-performing region for sales of hotels and guesthouses.
Julian Troup said: “In the two year run up to COVID-19, we sold 38 hotels throughout Cumbria, making it our most productive region.
“Since Lockdown at the end of March Colliers International has sold eight hotels in the region, which is evidence of the fact there are still buyers prepared to commit to investing into the hotel and hospitality sector.
“While this figure is some way short of where we would normally be by the final quarter of the year, it is a significant achievement given that 2020 has been like no other year, with national lockdowns and regional tiers creating uncertainty and slowing down transactions.”
Haydn Spedding, who has covered the Cumbria region for Colliers International for more than 30 years, and until recently was a director of Cumbria Tourism, added: “The closest that the hotels sector in Cumbria has been to the challenges of this year was when Foot and Mouth hit the region back in 2001. Just about everything was closed for business during the early part of that year, however by Q4 of that year trade and positive sentiment had all but returned.
“This year has been far more difficult, but deals have still gone through and are still going through. By the end of the year we expect our total sales and lettings in the region to be in double figures.”
The hotels and guesthouses already sold publicly this year by Colliers International in Cumbria are: Lonsdale House, Ulverston; Crooklands Hotel, Milnthorpe; Virginia House, Ulverston; Monkhouse Hill Cottages, Caldbeck; Mylne Bridge House, Windermere; Walmar Bed & Breakfast, Ambleside; Yewdale Inn, Coniston; Oakfold House, Bowness-on-Windermere.
Colliers International is presently marketing a variety of hotel and hospitality businesses in Cumbria and the Lake District. Those that are being marketed publicly include elegant boutique hotel Miller Howe at Bowness-on-Windermere, which has a guide price of £2,850,000; award-winning Riverside guest house at Ambleside, which is available for offers of around £1,375,000; and 4-star country inn The Sun, at Sun Hill, Coniston.
Walking in the Lake District recently topped a poll of what people would most like to do when the COVID-19 crisis is over, and Julian Troup said that the popularity of the Lake District and Cumbria with visitors was reflected in demand for hotels from purchasers.
“The region has followed that of others that have benefitted so much from ‘staycations’. The months of August and September saw numerous examples of hotels and hospitality businesses in the Lakes showing record performances on Occupancy and (ARR) Average Room Rates compared to previous years,” he said.
“Although we remain in a period of uncertainty, the levels of business that were generated during August and September make it clear that people want to get away from the ‘cabin fever’ they have been experiencing because of lockdowns and restrictions and get out and holiday. We are social creatures and people will continue to frequent hotels and guesthouses - they want more experiences not things.
“In terms of transactional activity, we are still seeing a steady flow of buyers looking to invest into hospitality in Cumbria. The pattern of trade has broadly followed that of interest from buyers, and we would expect this to continue given that travel abroad looks set to be more expensive and complicated as a result of the pandemic and Brexit.”