BOSSES at one of Bolton’s largest hotels have revealed the measures they are taking to ensure they are back in business as soon as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

While some UK hotels are managing to reap the rewards of their rural or coastal locations, staff at Bolton Whites Hotel have been furloughed, pinning their hopes on an October return for conference bookings while watching their matchday income from Bolton Wanderers’ home games disappear as crowds remain locked out.

“All of our event space was pretty much booked up until the end of the day but as soon as lockdown hit in March we faced daily cancellations,” said Rachel Wilson, the hotel’s director of sales, revenue and marketing. “Overall we had around a £1m worth of bookings cancelled in March which was horrendous.

“It had a huge impact and as of April 1 the hotel stopped trading to the public and all the staff were furloughed for four months.”

When Rachel returned to work in July, the hotel, which is part of the University of Bolton Stadium complex, began trying to sell its space for events of up to 30 people and concentrated on its food and drink offering.

“We did well through July and August ,” she said. “Corporate clients began staying again and we were very lucky with the Eat Out To Help Out scheme with the restaurant very busy throughout August.

“We have a huge lounge area so it was easy to social distance and people felt very safe.”

The Bolton lockdown restrictions have no brought further disruption to the hotel with a number of events now not allowed to take place and the restaurant having to close once again.

“We are basically operating as a bedroom factory,” said Rachel. “People can come and stay with us but they can’t even come down for breakfast and it’s room service.

“We have lots of staff we’ve brought back from furlough and no work for them - it is really frustrating.”

The hotel are now offering a takeaway menu available daily from 11am until 8.30pm with customers able to drive up and collect their food.

“We employ so many people from Bolton that it’s scary to think that if we don’t keep going and generate income they might lose their jobs,” said Rachel.

Meanwhile staff are working hard to make changes and maintain a safe two-metre distancing in all their conference rooms ahead of the longed-for October restart.

“We’re ready to go and customers are ringing us every day to book,” added Rachel. “We are just waiting for that date from the Government.”