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April 2016: the French hotel industry is losing ground

After a month of March that offered a glimmer of hope, a very morose context made last month difficult for France’s hoteliers and results fell sharply across all categories. As tourism struggled to to revive itself following November’s terrorist attacks, the situation was aggravated by attacks in Brussels at the end of March. Properties in Paris and the Paris region have suffered again.

With a Revenue per available room (RevPAR) down by 9.4% throughout the country compared to April 2015, French hotels have posted their worst results since the tragic events that impacted the country last year. The occupancy rate is down sharply at all properties, which experienced a 3.1 point drop across all categories to reach a modest level of 63.3%. Falling arrivals have dragged average daily rates and development in their wake, for a net drop by 5% in April 2016 with respect to the same period last year. The strongest drop in results could be observed at upscale properties (RevPAR -13.6%). In a particularly difficult context that spared no segment in France, budget hotels held up the “best” (RevPAR -4.5%), due to their weaker presence in the Ile-de-France with respect to other segments.

Monthly results of hotel chains by category - April 2016

Rarely has an "April in Paris", so lovingly performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, been so moribund for Paris hoteliers. The capital is being hit full throttle by France’s tourism depression, with a RevPAR down by 20.3% across April 2016 – after a “mere” 6.1% drop in March. In the Paris region the situation is hardly better as far as concerns the rest of the hotel industry as the RevPAR is down by 13.9%. In the capital, clientele is not always present since occupancy fell by 10.5 points in the course of last month – a downtrend that reflects that of average daily rates, down 8.4% with respect to April 2015. The rest of France’s regions held up a bit better against the quasi hibernation of its tourism sector: properties were able to minimize the drop in occupancy rates (-0.3 points) and average daily rates (-0.8%), for a RevPAR down slightly last month (-1.3%).

This April confirms the difficult start of the year for France’s hotel industry, with a RevPAR down by 4% from January to April across all categories. Reduced activity is particularly evident at upscale properties (RevPAR -5.6% since the beginning of the year) and the midscale (-4%), which rely more on international clientele and the good health of Paris’s hospitality sector which is currently suffering. Within Paris, the RevPAR fell by 12.8% since the beginning of the year, the drop leveling out at -8.3% in the rest of the Île-de-France.

While last month cooled things down in regional hotels that had been resilient until now, results at properties in the twelve other metropolitan regions have been positive since the beginning of the year: the RevPAR progressed by 3.4% in the last four months, thanks to occupancy rates up by 1.3 points since January. Unlike hotels in the Paris region average daily rates fell 3.8% since the beginning of the year, at properties in the rest of France they are up slightly (+0.8%). While waiting for the rebound to happen on a national scale, such -rare- good news for French tourism is always good to hear. French hoteliers, especially those in the ten cities hosting the competition, are impatient to experience the improved results that should come with the European football championship starting in June. More than just a chance to set annual accounts back on the right track, the event also offers an opportunity to sustainably boost activity with hopes to revive the confidence of international clientele.

Also read:

  • Grenoble's hotels stay in hibernation
  • 2015: French hoteliers mark a balance within contrasting circumstances

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