How we've helped The Valley Cottages
The Valley Cottages are hidden away in 13 acres of gardens and woodland, a unique collection of luxury self-catering holiday cottages that offer the perfect escape at any time of the year.
I think it’s going to be very hard to tell the impact at this stage. I think the impact is going to be felt next year when we are figuring out what the losses are, and when we are trying to make up the ground that has been lost
How we helped
There is never a good time for a business to be forced to shut their doors. COVID-19, and the subsequent impact it has had on local businesses across Cornwall, could be felt for decades to come. The impact has been, perhaps, felt hardest by those who were getting ready to welcome visitors for the summer period of 2020.
Alex Horsfall, from The Valley Cottages near Truro, is one business operator juggling the competing priorities of a business being on pause and staff placed on furlough, while also managing the day-to-day demands of a business that will be looking to restart as soon as government regulations allow it to do so.
In reflecting on the current situation that he and many others within the tourism sector currently find themselves in, the former Cornwall Chamber of Commerce '30 under 30' award winner believes it is too early to tell the impact that COVID-19 will have on the sector here in Cornwall.
“I think it’s going to be very hard to tell the impact at this stage. I think the impact is going to be felt next year when we are figuring out what the losses are, and when we are trying to make up the ground that has been lost,” he said.
The Valley – a secluded village of 46 5-star cottages – has with it two pools, a squash court, tennis court and restaurant. Maintenance and upkeep of these facilities has needed to continue throughout the lockdown period, in the hope that opening their doors to guests could still take place during the summer holidays this year.
Just as we spoke to Alex, a burst water pipe had caused one of their two pools to overflow, reiterating the need to keep essential staff members on board despite no sign of income coming in.
“The thing with holiday parks is that we’re all in a very difficult situation. We can’t physically furlough all staff, as there are staff that are still needed. We know we are losing money, and we know we have lost an awful lot of revenue, but there’s not a lot we can do about it,” Alex said.
So what does the immediate future look like for Alex, and no doubt many others within the tourism sector?
“It’s looking like it should be as good a season as usual, but we are all worried about when it’s going to get underway as we are waiting tentatively to get confirmation as to when we can actually restart. A week of moving July bookings, for example, would see us lose £50,000,” he said.
“We have been fortunate that we spent 15 years building up a bit of a war chest, so we need to be thankful to our guests for moving holidays instead of just asking for a refund. This has really helped us get through this period.”
Alex connected with the Skills Hub earlier this year, and with his staff having been trained in digital marketing, the opportunity to further their skills has had a great impact in keeping existing and future guests abreast of updates with regards to The Valley Cottages.
“The digital marketing course was absolutely fantastic. We were looking to upskill our non-manual management staff, helping them improve but also to benefit our business,” Alex said.