Since the corona closures Bonn hotels await first tourists

Bonn · Bonn's hotels are preparing to reopen after the forced break due the corona virus. Bookings in the federal city are currently increasing more than in Cologne. But it will probably take a while before the industry gets back on track.

 Olaf Dreesen will only reopen his boutique hotel in Bad Godesberg next week-

Olaf Dreesen will only reopen his boutique hotel in Bad Godesberg next week-

Foto: Stefan Hermes

Tourists will have to do without a visible smile at the reception in most of Bonn's hotels for a while yet. Where no plexiglass pane protects employees and guests from each other, the joy that tourist overnight stays are possible again since Monday is hardly visible under the breathing masks.

Most hotel companies have worked flat out to achieve this. Hygiene protection concepts were drawn up and the correct implementation of distance regulations and contact restrictions had to be ensured. What for some hotels was tantamount to a reopening, as their operations came to a complete standstill in recent weeks, for others meant an extension, as they were able to occupy part of their rooms with professional guests.

Bonn needs tourism

"In the end, we had an average occupancy rate of ten percent in the past few weeks," says hotel manager Görge Henrich from Motel One. On Monday, he was looking forward to the arrival of 60 guests who will bring life back into the 218-room hotel at the Berliner Freiheit. His 30 employees are still on short time. "Normally we would be fully booked over the upcoming holiday," said Henrich, who sees his hotel well prepared for the coming weeks.

"Without a doubt, the city of Bonn and its hotels and restaurants live from tourism," Olaf Dreesen is convinced. The owner of Rheinhotel Dreesen and Villa Godesberg, as well as the traditional Bonn restaurant "Im Stiefel", assumes that it will be a while before the industry gets back on track. So he will only reopen his two hotels at the beginning of next week. "In June at the earliest," says marketing director Nicole Dembour-Schillo of the Althoff Hotels, "they will reopen the Königshof am Hofgarten.

Dreesen provides his explanation for the delay in the start: "We are neither on the coast, nor a classic holiday area." Also the offer to provide home offices in the hotels was not a success. "We had opened our hotel for system-relevant professions, but it was close to zero in bookings," explains Barbara Fandel from the Beethoven Hotel in Bonngasse.

62.2 percent fewer overnight stays in Bonn

"Bonn is registering a 62.2 per cent drop in overnight stays," confirms Udo Schäfer of the Bonner Tourismus- und Kongressgesellschaft (T&C). He said that damage was to be expected such as had not occurred since the post-war years. It will also have a lasting impact on the industry in the medium to long term. In addition, the tourism manager fears "that the crisis will also change event formats in the long term with regard to digital offerings“.

He said that the Beethoven jubilee had been expected to be a very good year, and that growth had already begun in the months from January to February. Schäfer describes the current relaxation with reference to profitability as a "first step towards being able to think carefully and survive". Mayor Ashok Sridharan's view promises hope: "Many events could be postponed until next year. This will not compensate for the large losses, but in my opinion it will provide some of the hoped-for tourism effect, albeit with a delay".

Hotel portal HRS, on the other hand, reports a plus

Björn Zimmer, press spokesman for the hotel portal HRS, on the other hand, answers with unbroken optimism. In the past week one registered an increase at hotel reservations of 157 per cent for Bonn, compared with the average of the last four weeks that is even a better value than for the neighbour city Cologne. These figures must be seen as a sign of hope for the hotel and restaurant industry in Bonn. 77 Bonn hotels can be booked via the HRS website. The island hotel of Alexei Samoilov is also one of them.

Nevertheless, he appeals to his potential customers that the main thing to do now is to stop "booking via, HRS and others. At fifteen to 25 percent commission per booking, the hotel could no longer be operated at the low prices. Michael Schlößer, chairman of Dehoga-Nordrhein, also demands significantly more tourism marketing for Bonn. "Other cities and regions are way ahead of us in this."

(Original text: Stefan Hermes / Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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