Darren Madden

  • With the Summer season finished and schools reopen, hotels are now reporting a 70% drop in projected revenues for the month of September, compared to this time last year.

    A new survey by the Irish Hotels Federation shows bookings for September & October have plunged, with average room occupancy levels at 30% in the West, and just 24% nationally - compared to 86% for the same period last year.

    The hotels federation says additional stimulus measures are required to save the sector - such as reviewing the 6-person limit on indoor gatherings, extending the wage subsidy scheme, extending the rates waiver period for tourism businesses, and reducing tourism VAT to 9%.

    Mayo Chairman of the IHF, Westport hotelier Darren Madden says it was a busy Summer for hotels across Co Mayo, but there are significant challenges for the months ahead.


  • Hotels and guesthouses in the West of Ireland are reporting average booking levels of just 20% for July and 18% for August, according to the Irish Hotels Federation.

    The record low levels of pre-booking for what are usually the busy Summer months come amid uncertainty over when Covid-19 restrictions will be eased enough to allow most hotels and other hospitality businesses to reopen.

    The IHF is now calling for urgent clarity on how long businesses and employee supports will continue, and for a roadmap towards reopening the hospitality industry.

    Darren Madden of the Clew Bay Hotel in Westport is a local representative of the Irish Hotels Federation  - he says the most important issue for hoteliers is when they can reopen their  doors, and is calling for a clear roadmap from Government.

  • The increase in the VAT rate for the tourism and hospitality sectors from 9% to 13.5% is very disappointing, according to the Mayo branch of the Irish Hotels Federation.

    It's been described as a serious blow to the tourism industry, particularly in rural Ireland, as businesses outside of Dublin will be hardest hit.

    The 9% VAT rate was introduced in 2011, but is being raised now to pay for other social demands.

    Darren Madden, manager of the Clew Bay Hotel in Westport, is chairman of the Mayo branch of the Irish Hotels Federation and he's calling on the Finance Minister to delay the increase in VAT until after next Summer.

  • Fears over the spread of coronavirus have already hit some major sporting fixtures, and St Patrick's Day parades across the country are also being cancelled.

    Businesses in towns and villages across the region will be hit as a result of the cancellations, while the hotel industry is beginning to feel the pinch.

    Darren Madden of the Clew Bay Hotel in Westport is chairman of the Mayo branch of the Irish Hotels Federation.

    He says the number of international tourists will be down this year, due to Covid 19.

    However, he says hotels can offer good value to Irish customers to enjoy "staycations".

    Mr Madden says hotels have introduced the necessary practices during the current crisis, and says it's important that hotels can keep their staff employed during this uncertain time, so they can continue to deliver a quality service once this coronavirus crisis is over.

  • Hotels across the region are reporting an uplift in bookings for June, July and August, following the recent go-ahead from Government to reopen their doors from 2nd June.

    Darren Madden, owner of the Clew Bay Hotel in Westport, says his team are now busy preparing the hotel to welcome back guests, having been closed since last October.

    Darren is also chairman of the Mayo branch of the Irish Hotels Federation.

    Speaking with Midwest News today, he said he's looking forward to opening the doors to guests in three weeks time....