Hastings Hotels Group posted a pre-tax profit that increased nine-fold to £6.2 million in the year ended 31 October 2022, and its highest-ever after-tax profit.
It marks a return to form for the group, with a pre-tax profit of £679,674 in 2021 and a loss of £16.6m in 2020 as pandemic lockdowns decimated trading.
A backlog in weddings, a booming staycation market, and the return of international visitors have fueled the resurgence.
While the latest figures fall short of the £49.4m turnover in 2019, figures for the latest pre-pandemic year include Slieve Donard ownership, sold by the group in 2021.
The current portfolio includes the Europa, Grand Central and Stormont in Belfast, Culloden in Cultra, Everglades in Derry and Ballygally Castle, as well as a 50% stake in The Merrion Dublin.
Peter Gibson, Chief Financial Officer of Hastings Hotels, said: “It has been a record year for Hastings Hotels, which is reflected in the highest group profit after tax we have ever posted. So not only have we recovered from the challenges of Covid, our six hotels are performing better than ever.
“This comes despite significant headwinds faced by all businesses over the course of the year, including rising energy costs, inflation and the Omicron variant of Covid at the start of 2022.
“We have continued to invest heavily in our people, our hotels and our technology over the past three years and that is now paying off.
“This included the completion of a £10 million refurbishment program of the Europa Hotel guestrooms and a £250,000 investment in The Spa in Culloden.
“Our continued success is testament to the commitment and dedication of our employees across the group and in Northern Ireland’s tourism industry, which is also going from strength to strength. “We look forward to the future and are well placed to build on this positive growth trajectory in the coming months and years.”
Hastings Hotels Holdings Limited’s financial results also include net assets of £49.5m, up from £44.1m last year.
Government grants fell from £6.3m in 2021 to £120,000 last year, with the group paying £651,089 in corporate tax for 2022.
Wages and salaries were up 12% to £12 million, despite a 14% drop in the average number of employees to 802.
While the number of full-time jobs increased by six, the fall in part-time workers by 138 may have reflected the recruitment problems in the hospitality industry.
In the financial report, Hastings Hotels Chairman Howard Hastings said: “The group has a high level of retention and offers training and development opportunities at all levels of the workforce.
“Our management development program partnership with Ulster University was recently shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award.”
The environmental measures taken by the group are also outlined, with the group stating that it is actively implementing measures to reduce energy consumption and costs and has achieved a 28% reduction in energy consumption since 2008.