For hotel owners struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic, spring is a long way off, especially when it comes to getting paid.
So it’s not surprising that Greek hoteliers are up in arms – and some even facing closure – after being told by Tui, Europe’s largest travel operator, that they will have to wait until March to collect most of the money owed for room rentals and other services.
The Hanover, Germany-based multinational travel giant has issued contract amendments to the Greek hotels with which it does business, requiring owners to sit tight for the next five months – until March of 2021 – before receiving the remaining three-quarters of the money they are owed, the Financial Times reports.
Several Greek hotels say they are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and weren’t expecting to have to wait for the money beyond the customary 60-day payment period.
In particular, two hotel owners told the FT they are owed more than $700,000 each by Tui and will have to scramble to obtain bank loans to pay their bills unless the money comes through this month.
The hotel owners say they took a big risk opening during the pandemic and that it has been a struggle to turn a profit, with the months ahead now looking particularly bleak as a second wave of COVID-19 rampages across the continent.
Europe has responded with a second wave of lockdowns. And while the restrictions are theoretically slated to expire in early December, governments across the continent could easily extend lockdowns and curfews into the holiday season if coronavirus infection rates continue to rise, according to a recent report by marketing services and research firm Skift.
“They took a big risk opening this year given the pandemic and many have racked up losses,” Nektarios Santorinios, an MP from Rhodes, a top Greek tourist island, told the FT, calling the delay a “bombshell” for hotels. “It’ll be a struggle to survive for many three- and four-star operations.”