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[Part 1] Paris attacks - Survey: Impact on tourism professionals

Professionals of the hotel and restaurant industries clearly felt the terrorist attacks’ repercussions on their activity, and many of them fear lasting consequences. Learn more from our survey, conducted by Hospitality ON in partnership with Olakala.

Hospitality ON, in partnership with Olakala, conducted a nation-wide survey of French tourism professionals (hotels, restaurants, OTAs) in order to understand how their activity suffered the effects of the November 13 attacks.

All the testimonies we received (many thanks to our readers and collaborators) illustrate how different the impact sensed by tourism professionals could be depending on where properties are located, the nature of their activity, and their clientèle mix. Here are a few selected testimonies:

·          "Many cancellations, especially from the corporate clientèle the following week, and from the Asian clientèle in the second half of November and around Christmas. In November, the occupancy rate fell by 25%." (hotel in Paris)

·          "2 terrorist attacks the same year... the trust is broken, and it will take a long time to win it back."(hotel in Paris)

·         "Instant departures of customers, multiplication of cancellations. Revenue down 10% at the end of November; regarding December, a more tourism-inclined period, 25% decline [in reservations]." (hotel in Île-de-France, outside of Paris)

·         "Customers did not cancel too much. However, they booked a lot less. Even far away from Paris, customers stay at home and travel less. […] Year-end seminar and corporate meetings, very common in the past few years, are almost non-existent at the end of November and December 2015." (hotel on the Atlantic Coast)

·         "17% decrease in demand compared to last year." (mountain cabin in the Alps)

·         "Cancellations at our property are mostly related to Christmas markets." (hotel in Alsace)

·         "Close to 50% cancellations in our hotels following the cancellation of the Festival of Lights. All of the groups and a few individual customers canceled. Since the terrorist attacks, sales also slowed 10%." (hotel in Lyon)

·         "Mass-cancellation from tour operators regarding leisure travelers." (hotel in Normandy)

·         "Impact has been negligible. We work with local clientèle, 60% French, which did not halt  activities." (hotel in a medium-size city)

·         "The provinces are also affected, but much less than Paris." (hotel in a medium-size city)

·         "What happened is really dreadful, yet for us the impact will probably be “positive” (if one can say that), I think people will want to escape bigger cities and meet up in quiet areas such as ours." (rural hotel in Southern France)

·         “In the past 15 days, 7% decrease in activity for hotel and restaurant with regard to the corporate and leisure clientèle. No short notice cancellations, yet no prospects of recovery for tourism in the coming months. The low season is just beginning here, and we hope for a return of tourists by the spring of 2016." (hotel & restaurants in wine country)

·         "A sharp drop in activity in the evenings [in November]." (restaurant in provinces)

·         "Impact was marginal and only affected us during the first weekend." (restaurant in provinces)

·         "Cancellations of group reservations (for example company holiday parties) and of a few individual reservations" (restaurant in Paris)

·         "The impact of November’s attacks is clearly much stronger than in January. We are not very confident in regard to Christmas or 2016, we are taking a wait-and-see approach. […] The impact goes beyond a drop in revenue. We have issues regarding human resources in cities such as Paris or Strasbourg; the slowdown in activity does not allow us to fill in December’s schedules, and we are forced to resort to imposed paid leaves. Hiring for 2016 had to be suspended." (network of restaurants)

·         "In the week following the attacks, the number of customers dropped 50% in the evening and more than 35% at lunchtime. In Île-de-France, the drop represents -20% at lunch and -25% in the evening." (network of restaurants)

·         "Local and tourist clientèle were affected: we work with tour operators, and most canceled reservations for the upcoming weeks." (network of restaurants)

Beyond the impact felt in Paris and the Île-de-France region (read our article) across the board, many tourist accommodations in the provinces were also affected: 2/3 of professionals noticed a slump in activity, especially in areas affected by indirect consequences such as the cancellation of events (Festival of Lights in Lyon), or events facing a potential drop in attendance (cities with Christmas markets, especially in Alsace). Even if the whole of France was affected, on an individual scale activity at some properties was not hindered, either because they work exclusively with a corporate clientèle and/or long-stay clientèle who did not suspend their activities, or because November was already a low-season month with reduced activity, or because they benefited from postponements.

Despite a 25% to 30% drop in Paris in the days following the terrorist attacks, the specificity of the current situation lies in the duration of their impact. There is a clear average delay (individual situations may vary significantly) in terms of reservations for the upcoming weeks – and even months. Here are the average trends in the hotel industry in the end of November, according to different areas:

Prospects for the activity of hotel professionals (November 2015 - on the basis of reservations and other indicators)

Part of the delay observed today could be offset by last-minute reservations (customers who defer their purchase) or subsequent postponements. The final impact should thus be lower, especially considering the time frame of a trip may be distant for some customers.

According to a third of Parisian and Île-de-France hoteliers, effects on the activity should be felt at least “until March 2016”; a significant portion of these hoteliers feel their activity is likely to be affected in the second quarter of 2016 as well. On the other hand, the attacks’ effects should fade more quickly for hoteliers outside the Île-de-France. In the provinces, industry professionals insisted on the clear drop in activity expected for December, especially in certain cities (Lyon, Strasbourg). Unlike the Île-de-France, activity should recover quickly in 2016 at hotels and restaurants in the provinces, thanks to delayed reservations picking up, and thanks to an effect of compensatory adjustment for secondary destinations outside of urban centers. Some destinations already show an increase in reservations compared to the previous year, sometimes as early as December.

In the specific case of traditional F&B, the situation was very difficult in the week following the November 13 attacks. A sign that Parisians were not in the mood to go to the restaurant, attendance dropped 25% to 50% in the French capital compared to the previous week. The decline is -10% to -30% in Île-de-France, and even if the situation is less critical in the Province, it is hard to deny that there were significant repercussions on attendance numbers. Evening service was particularly affected by this sudden defection of the clientèle. Prospects for the upcoming weeks are of great significance for the industry, as December is usually a high-activity month… As for hoteliers, even if COP21 brought a certain relief in Île-de-France, hotel professionals remain apprehensive of the impact that will be felt in the weeks to come.

Coming soon to Hospitality ON: the complete assessment of Paris terrorist attacks, in numbers.

Also read:

  • Attacks in Paris: daily follow-up of the impact on French hotels
  • Terrorist attacks in Paris: impact on the hotel industry
  • After the attacks, hospitality professionals step to the fore
  • First steps to support the hotel industry after the attacks

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