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April 2019: After the rain, fine skies for French hoteliers

Hotel performances are improving this month with a strong dynamic and a Yellow Vests crisis that is beginning to calm down. France is thus one of the destinations in Europe that progressed the most in April. Results are once again in the green in France which sees bright perspectives on the horizon in the months to come.

For starters, hoteliers have gained clientele: the overall OR is up +2.8 points compared to April 2018, and +0.2 points since January. The RevPAR is also up: +4.1% (63.40€ ex-VAT) in April, +1.8% (56.10€ ex-VAT) since January and even +5.7% (64.10€ ex-VAT) on the last twelve months. The average daily rate remains stable, meanwhile, (+0.0%) for 88.7€ ex-VAT. This trend is the inverse of the last three months when the RevPAR was maintained by an increase in prices, hoteliers prefer to remain prudent in April to stimulate leisure clientele to visit the destination during this holiday period.

The budget segment experienced strong growth in its RevPAR: +8.5% (32.6€ ex-VAT) driven at once by a positive ADR of +3.1% and an OR that grew by 3.5 additional points to reach an average of 70.6%. This growth  i all the more impressive on a regional scale: in Paris and IDF the RevPAR is up +11.4% (42.50€ ex-VAT) and in the Provinces by +7.3% (29.50€ ex-VAT).

The trend is also supported by economy and midscale segments, whose RevPAR increased by around 5% (respectively +5.7% and +5.5%) thanks to occupancy rates up by +3.0 (70.7%) and +3.3 points (71.8%), while the ADR increased only weakly: +1.3% for one and +0.7% for the other.

Upscale hoteliers on the other hand are experiencing a slump. While their occupancy rate continues to grow by +2.8 points to reach 74.0% (the highest OR in the panel) but their prices are down (-1.0%), from an average of 188.00 to 186.20€ ex-VAT, leading to a RevPAR down by -0.6%, to 137.90€ ex-VAT.

On a national scale, growth is driven by the provinces where the RevPAR is up +5.3% and the OR is up +3.1% compared to April 2018. Some cities outperformed, starting with Montpellier. The 7th largest city in France produced the only double-digit monthly growth in its RevPAR (+21.5%) thanks to its OR (+11.2%) while its average daily rate grew slowly (+2.7%). The tourism observatory confirms this increased appeal with +2% more nights (+32.3K to be exact) in the city in 2018, knowing that leisure clientele gained ground over business clientele which is down. Lyon's RevPAR is also flirting with double digit growth (+9%). Its hotel supply is busier in April with an OR of 70.3% (+4.8 points), particularly thanks to the 101st edition of the Foire de Lyon which took place from March 28 to April 8 and each year hosts an average of 200,000 visitors.

Paris also hosted several events starting with the Congress of French General Practice (April 4 to 6). The capital thus achieved a RevPAR up by +3.7% and an occupancy rate, which already was the highest in France  at 85.0%, that experienced the strongest growth in April (+3.3 points). This is a non episodic phenomenon: Paris has been doing well for the last twelve months, and beating records particularly with its RevPAR that reached 133.10€ ex-VAT(+8.9%). These results are in direct correlation to a strong influx of business tourists last year, as the city stole first place in the global ICCA ranking from Vienna, Austria thanks to the organization of 212 congresses in 2018.

The Ile-de-France, meanwhile, is showing slight improvement with an occupancy rate up (+1.6%) but average daily rate down (-0.8%) – like Paris and the Provinces, results are nonetheless comparatively "better" (respectively -0.3% and -0.5%) – resulting in a RevPAR that is subtly positive (+1.3%).

May should confirm this recovery, setting the tone for the peak season in France's summer destinations. June should also be in the green with the Women's World Football Cup.

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