Apex Hotels has reported pre-tax losses of £16.4m, down from a £7m pre-tax profit last year.
The Edinburgh-headquartered group used lockdown to improve the guest experience, after facing almost eight months of restrictions and closures during the financial year.
Like much of the rest of the sector, operations and cashflow were significantly impacted by the pandemic – driven by travel restrictions and the move to working from home affecting business travel.
During the year to 30 April 2021, Apex invested in back-office infrastructure, guest-facing technology and its staff training programmes.
A rise in staycations as restrictions eased helped established properties in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bath and Dundee.
Chief executive Angela Vickers said that market positioning and the ability to appeal to those looking to explore new locations helped bolster results.
“This was an incredibly challenging period for the entire industry, with intermittent restrictions and closures imposed for almost three-quarters of the financial year.
“However, we used the time wisely to by investing in initiatives that added long-term value, supporting future performance and a strong comeback, and capitalised on the appetite for staycations as restrictions on domestic travel eased.
“We rolled out new technologies, including new property and guest management systems to reduce the time spent processing data and allow our staff more time to serve the needs of our guests.
“We also brought in a new staff training programme, enhancing learning and development, as well as launching a big data project to provide us with valuable insights to drive further business improvements. ”
She added: “With the reopening of the hospitality industry, and thanks to a successful vaccination programme roll-out, we are in an excellent position to grow revenue once again and we are confident in our ability to drive long-term, sustainable growth as we near the end of the pandemic.”
Last May, Apex’s results for the 12 months ended 30 April 2020 showed that revenue was already down 9%, from £75.5m to £68.7m, year-on-year.
As a result of the start of trading restrictions, pre-tax profit was £7m, down from £12.4m the previous year.
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