A Summer of Hopscotch

It's been a long time since you played hopscotch, jumping from one square on one foot, then on two feet on another, and so on until you safely reached Heaven. And yet, if you look closely, that's somewhat what hoteliers have been doing since the beginning of summer, hoping to reach their goal by the end of September.

Admittedly, the ambitions were very optimistic for the summer period, buoyed by the supposedly splendid Olympic Games. The relative disappointment of a slower-than-expected attendance shouldn't overshadow the fact that, in the end, the season should be decent.

Taking a step back to consider the entire period from June to September, we can already see that the effect of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings worked quite well, that Fashion Week was not shunned, that international tourists are present, and that late-season bookings are not bad.

So yes, there are gaps in the calendar, particularly for the segment of meetings and corporate travel. Those who managed to jump onto the Leisure foot, when the offers were right, could reach their goal. But the dynamic is no longer the same as the past two summers! The curves are bending, and the trees won't grow to the sky.

So yes, there is an obvious shift in reservations moving towards autumn rather than August. This is seen more as a postponement phenomenon than a lack of clientele. I skip one square but land on another.

Given the social and political context, we can consider that France has avoided a crash and that the end of the hopscotch is still reachable. Even if bruised, the desire to travel is indeed present. The bad weather might have even accelerated the migrations towards the South, where some resorts are already fully booked for the most popular ones.

Probably spared by the decline in purchasing power, the high-end clientele is not shying away from partying before a back-to-school period that promises to be quite confusing. Luxury establishments are not complaining, without showing indecent triumphalism.

Overall, the major behavioral changes predicted after the Covid crisis are happening slowly. Proximity tourism is fading in favor of (re)discovering more distant lands. Despite occasional weaknesses, air traffic has never been so dynamic in the medium term. And it’s rather good news for the destination France.

As in previous cycles, the hospitality industry must demonstrate reactivity and agility. It must be able to switch from one foot to the other when it has to hopscotch to avoid a bad square. See you at the end of September to count the room/nights and take the pulse of average prices.



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