fpventures blog - Covid-19 impact

We are certainly living in strange times, like so many things in the current Covid-19 era the business of providing Serviced Accommodation or short term lets has been massively restricted to the point of temporary suffocation. Here in Stroud on the edge of the Cotswolds we currently run and operate three properties and have been growing the business steadily since launching the first apartment in July 2018. Our aim from the outset was to refurbish our properties to a high standard and then fit them out really well providing everything that our guests could want or need if staying for one night or a month and beyond. Business has been going well and with our third property going live at the beginning of March 2020 we were all set for what we hoped would be a very busy six months from April to September. As we provide accommodation for contractors as well as the discerning traveller we usually have guests in our short term lets throughout the year but tourism does make a big difference and the summer is a very busy time.

Que Covid-19, as we could see it coming we were very pro-active in contacting guests and offering refunds or vouchers for future stays. We took the decision early to switch to providing accommodation to NHS staff, key workers and essential contractors before Government guidance came out instructing hotels, B&B's and holiday lets to close. With the support of Booking.com and AirBnB we have been providing accommodation a significantly reduced rates to doctors, nurses and engineers providing medical gas services to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. When we decided to change from general enquiries to key workers our housekeeper decided to stop work and we fully support that decision so if we wanted to keep supporting the NHS and key workers then I would have to be doing the cleaning. We have temporarily extended our stays to a minimum of four nights, this means we can then manage the cleaning and the laundry which is on a much reduced service. We leave the property to stand for the recommended 72hrs after the guest checks out and then in I go armed with mask, gloves and my cleaning kit to get the property ready for the next key worker who needs it. It is a small part to play but I know how important it is to have properties like these available for key and critical workers when nearly all the other accommodation locally has been shut down.

Mark Smith