'We were braced for cancellations' - Hotel bosses on emergence of Omicron

Hotel owners in north Norfolk

Rob Williamson, general manager of the White Horse in Brancaster Staithe; the Blakeney Hotel; Richard Graveling, manager of the Grove Hotel in Cromer. - Credit: Archant/Archant/Mark Bullimore

Hotels in north Norfolk say Christmas parties are not being cancelled despite concerns about the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Last week, Norfolk MP George Freeman called on firms to think again before throwing large gatherings - but the government has said there is no need for people to change their plans.

Some companies have been calling off larger events in favour of smaller, team-based parties.

Rob Williamson, general manager of the White Horse in at Brancaster. Picture: White Horse Inn

Rob Williamson, general manager of the White Horse in at Brancaster. Picture: White Horse Inn - Credit: Archant

Rob Williamson, general manager of the White Horse Hotel in Brancaster Staithe, said: "We were braced for cancellations but it hasn't happened.

"We had a couple of parties at the weekend and they went ahead. So we'll be cautiously optimistic going into the busy period."

The hotel is busier than normal for this time of year, he said.

"The feedback we're getting from guests is that after reflecting on lockdown, they are thinking, 'You only get one life, let's go and live it, as long as you're cautious and safe'."

The Grove Guesthouse pictured with owner, Richard Graveling. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The Grove Guesthouse pictured with owner, Richard Graveling. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Richard Graveling, manager at the Grove Hotel in Cromer, said: "We haven't seen a huge amount of cancellations for Christmas parties.

"We've had the odd person who's been unable to come but that is because they have Covid, it's not that they fear any future variant."

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The hotel is holding Christmas comedy nights on Thursdays.

"A table called off at the last minute because one of them had tested positive. It's not people being cautious or wary of any new variant."

He said that November has been "one of the busiest on record" and the brisk trade is "a knock-on of people not being able to get overseas as much but still having the urge to get away for a night or two".

Coronavirus measures will remain in place at the hotel, he said.

The Blakeney HotelPHOTO: Nick Butcher

The Blakeney HotelPHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Kieran Grieve, from sales and marketing at the Blakeney Hotel, said: "There hasn't been an impact we've seen with people either cancelling or holding off bookings."

He said they have had some enquiries from people who had been planning to travel abroad and are now hoping to spend the Christmas in the UK.

Echoing the other hotel managers, he said that in November bookings were up 15 to 20pc compared to normal.

As for regulations, the hotel will follow the government guidance.

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