Obviously, it was difficult to do worse. The second quarter of 2020, ravaged by the effects of the pandemic, among other confinements and travel restrictions, had seen the results of hotel groups plummet to abysmal levels. It is therefore not surprising to see revenue per room – RevPAR, a key hotel indicator that combines hotel occupancy with the average room rate – return to much better shape over the same period this year.

The improvement is particularly noticeable for groups that are mainly positioned in the most dynamic markets, i.e. the United States and China. Hoteliers who, for the most part, are posting triple-digit growth in the second quarter of 2021 with +102% in China for the Huazhu group, +110% worldwide for the American franchisor Wyndham, +150.9% for IHG, and up to +233.8% at Hilton and +262.6% at Marriott. ” Global occupancy continued to improve, reaching 51% in the quarter. We also saw strong improvement in average price, which was down only 17% from the second quarter of 2019,” Anthony Capuano, CEO of Marriott International, noted in the group’s earnings announcement. As an example of this newfound momentum in certain markets, Marriott Group hotels in China posted overall second-quarter results at 2019 levels. In the same period, Wyndham’s economy properties even outperformed 2019 in the US.

We are leaving behind the most serious crisis in the tourism sector in recent history“, believes for his part Ramon Aragones, CEO of the Spanish group NH Hotel. Vaccination campaigns and the gradual lifting of travel restrictions, the return of tourists to the domestic plan and the gradual resumption of certain business trips: several elements are contributing to the gradual turning of this black page. The recovery has been clear since May,” said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Accor. With the massive deployment of vaccination and the gradual reopening of borders, these good trends will continue over the summer.” A forecast confirmed by the observation of Keith Barr, CEO of another industry heavyweight, the British group IHG: “With hotel occupancy and rates continuing to improve, nearly 50% of our hotels achieved RevPAR above 2019 levels in July.

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For all that, the comparison of results with the pre-covid era is still largely unfavorable for hoteliers. For example, the Accor group is showing an overall -60% drop in RevPAR in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. As for IHG, while the first half of 2021 shows a 20% growth in RevPAR compared to 2020, it is still -43% below the level reached in 2019. In the

In the second half of 2021, IHG’s hotel occupancy rate remained 19 points lower than it had been in the same period in 2019, while average prices are only 87% of their pre-covid level.

For while the Chinese and North American markets have regained their momentum, the same is not true everywhere, starting in Europe or Southeast Asia. While Accor observed an acceleration of activity in Europe over the end of the second quarter of 2021, the Southern Europe region, which includes France, posted a RevPAR down by -63% compared to 2019. As a consequence of the confinement in April, RevPAR for France shows an overall decline of -61% (and -76% to take the case of Paris alone, a market much more penalized than the provinces by the absence of international travelers). ” This figure nevertheless masks an improvement in RevPAR of 22 percentage points between April and June 2021

,” the group points out, with the provinces supporting this increase.

Results still at half-mast in Europe and Southeast Asia

Even more than in France, the European hotel leader recorded a -74% decline in RevPAR in Northern Europe, including -70% in the UK and -84% in Germany, due to the later continuation of restrictions and the absence of business events. As one of the key hotel players in South America, the French group’s results also reflect the difficulties in the subcontinent with RevPAR down -62% in Q2 2021 vs. the same period in 2019. ” An improvement in activity was observed at the end of the second quarter due to the acceleration of vaccination and the decline in the number of cases of contamination, particularly in Brazil

“, however, underlines the French group.

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Conversely, the India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey region, supported in particular by good activity in Dubai, is moving forward again with a RevPAR down “only” -44% compared to the second quarter of 2019. Finally, as regards the Asia-Pacific region, the situation is contrasted with relatively small declines in China (-18%) and the Pacific region (-19%), but Southeast Asia which is largely suffering from its dependence on international travel and is posting a -69% decline in RevPAR

.

Le St Regis Qingdao, un des nouveaux hôtels du groupe Marriott en Chine.The St Regis Qingdao, one of Marriott’s new hotels in China.

The delta and fourth waves, the pace of recovery in business travel and the resumption of meetings, and whether or not events and trade fairs will be held: several uncertainties still hang over the coming months. After a generally good summer for leisure tourism, the success of the autumn depends essentially on travel and business tourism. In this respect, and as far as the United States is concerned, the hotel group managers were all confident in their comments on the results that business travel would pick up again in the autumn. The a

he recent announcement by several giants of the postponement of the return to the office of their employees – to October 18 by Google and even to the beginning of 2022 by Amazon – could however complicate things.

With the uncertainty still present, few hoteliers are committing to specific targets for the end of the year. ” It is still too early to draw up an outlook for the end of the year, but we are confident in our ability to capture the recovery in all areas and to deploy a reinvented vision of travel,” said Sébastien Bazin on behalf of Accor. Only Wyndham expects RevPAR to increase by 40% in 2021 compared to 2020, which is a 16% decrease compared to 2019.

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Still, a new optimism is emerging from the cascading presentation of hotel groups’ results. For Anthony Capuano, CEO of Marriott, “While we are closely monitoring Delta and other variants, we are optimistic that the upward trajectory of the global recovery will continue. We expect that more workers returning to their desks on a hybrid basis will serve as a catalyst for a significant increase in individual and group business demand in the fall.” He concludes that, while the pace is expected to vary by region, ” we are on track for a full global recovery.” Let’s accept the omen.