Published on Thursday, June 25, 2020

Hotelplan warns of job losses as Covid-19 forces restructure

Hotelplan UK has warned of potential job losses as it looks to reduce the size of the business because of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

The UK arm of the Hotelplan Group features a number of specialist travel brands including Inghams, Ski Total, Esprit Ski, Flexiski and Santa's Lapland, all based in Mountain House, Godalming, together with the Inntravel business based near York and adventure travel business, Explore Worldwide based in Farnborough.

In a statement, the company said: "Following a period of intensive discussions with its Swiss parent company around a wide range of scenarios for the future, it has become clear in recent weeks that the impact of the Covid-19 crisis has been, and continues to be, financially damaging for the business.

"The UK business was initially hit at the end of the winter ski season, with resort and border closures cutting the ski season short by some 6 weeks. As of today, none of the UK brands has been able to operate any meaningful summer programme and any reopening of borders or cautiously phased-up flight schedules will not be enough to revive the business overnight.

"As a result, a wide-ranging strategic review has been undertaken and plans re-shaped in line with reduced demand. Each of the UK operations will be smaller and more focussed in the short-term.

"The business is also proposing the closure of the Godalming office and having one single office space in the south - Nelson House in Farnborough, a building which Hotelplan owns and currently houses the Explore team.

"Teams will continue to work from home until the Farnborough office can safely accommodate both businesses and a more agile, flexible approach to home working is envisaged for the future."

"A 45-day consultation process will begin on July 1 in the south about these proposed changes to employment, and potential job losses of up to 27% across the total UK business are under consideration. Similar actions are being considered across the European divisions of the Hotelplan Group over the coming days and weeks."

CEO Paul Carter added: "We are now collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime.  

"The ongoing impact of Covid-19 means we will endure heavy losses this year, whereby previously we've always been profitable. As news of job losses across the industry intensifies, it is now clear that the damage will be significant.

"Throughout this process, we have done everything we can to protect jobs for as long as possible, including reviewing our brand portfolio, product range and office footprint, whilst above all protecting our award-winning service. However, looking beyond the support of the UK job retention scheme, we face a set of circumstances where this is not enough to sustain us and we have exhausted all other options."

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