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December 2014: Europe's hotels in fine shape for New Year's and Christmas Eve

Europe's hotels ended the year in festive spirits, with results up in all countries in December. With a few exceptions, this trend reflects on the whole of 2014.

Boosted by year-end events organized at the different destinations, occupancy rates at hotels in the Old World increased by 2.6 points in December, to reach an occupancy rate close to 59%. Properties were thus able to increase average daily rates by 1.8%, to achieve a Revenue per available room (RevPAR) close to 85 euros, up 6.6% over the same period last year. All hotel categories benefited from Christmas and New Year's festivities, with monthly growth in Revenue per available room by between 2.9% for Budget and 7.1% for the upscale.

Monthly results at hotel chains by category December

While all destinations posted positive indicators after the holidays, some were more successful than others. Hungary is thus positioned as leader of the strongest growth centers for the second month in a row, and this time far ahead of its European neighbors with 30.9% growth in its RevPAR. In addition to its growing appeal among international clientele and its recovery with respect to a year 2013 when the economy was more depressed, the country hosted the Women's European Handball Championship in December 2014. In the Netherlands, year-end activity was also strengthened by punctual events, such as three biennial fairs in Amsterdam. Hoteliers in the country thus ended the months with a 10.5% increase in their RevPAR over December 2013. Despite a a calmer events calendar, as is often the case at this time of the year, three other destinations posted double-digit growth in their RevPAR, Portugal (+15.4%), whose growth confirmed itself month after month, Poland (+11.5%) and Belgium (+10.3%). France followed the same trend as the continent, but at a slower growth rate  than its neighbors thanks to a 2.3% increase in its RevPAR.

Europe's hotel industry thus closed another year of growth, with 3.8% improvement in its RevPAR in 2014. It is driven by the 1.6 point growth in its occupancy rate and 1.4% improvement in its average daily rate. In terms of destinations, only France was unable to improve in 2014, although it was close to zero growth with a 0.2% decline in  its RevPAR excluding taxes, due to a 3 point increase in the TVA during the year. (Find the detailed analysis of hotel activity for the full year in our Report for 2014 that will be published in the next issue of Hospitality ON magazine.)

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