Northampton hotel owners 'absolutely buzzing' to be reopening next week with hope for staycation boom
'It's great to get back out and we're thrilled to have people back through the doors'
Hotel owners in Northampton are excited to have holiday-makers back in their rooms from next week after getting confirmation from the prime minister.
Boris Johnson has confirmed that hotels and B&Bs can reopen to everyone and overnight stays with other households will be allowed from Monday (May 17).
Susan Henderson owner of The Poplars Hotel in Moulton, hopes it will provide a boost to the sector with people already booking up rooms for the first weekend and throughout the year.
"I'm hoping things will get back to normal, the first weekend is quite busy but there are not so many business people around," she told the Chronicle & Echo.
"But absolutely I'm looking forward to it - it will be good."
Susan has been among the hoteliers offering rooms to key workers during the lockdown but Monday will be the first time everyone else can go away.
Dodford Grange Bed & Breakfast owner Frankie Jackson is similarly upbeat about reopening with plenty of bookings to prepare for and welcome.
"We're absolutely buzzing, there's a lot of work yet to do but it's great to get back out and we're thrilled to have people back through the doors," she said.
Susan said Northampton is not a typical place for a 'staycation' with events at places like Silverstone Circuit, the theatre and festivals the main attraction.
So she believes trade will pick up even more when those sorts of things restart again over the summer.
"It's lovely filling up the diary - we have to be more lenient with cancellations and work around everything the best we can but people are being vaccinated and feel confident to stay at a hotel," she added.
Frankie thinks the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions combined with the improving weather is creating a tangible 'feelgood factor' among the population.
One regular customer has booked the whole B&B for a weekend for their family to all stay together after more than a year apart, she added.
Weddings will also be able to have 30 attendees from next week too, which should also help hotels, particularly Dodford Grange.
Frankie said: "We've got about 80 brides booked in so it's absolutely brilliant and we're not looking sad about anything."
After another lockdown of five months, Susan is simply glad to be returning to some sense of normality.
"We all need everything to get on and return to normal. I was very optimistic last time and maybe I was overly optimistic and another lockdown has come and dampened that," she said.
"But you can see things are improving so I'm staying positive as I have no choice!
"It's nearly summer and the sun will shine and things will get better if people behave."