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Analyses

December 2021: A frosty month for the European hotel industry

The performance of the European hotel industry fell back in December due to the Delta and the new Omicron variant, although the dynamics remain highly variable depending on the country.

In December, hotel performance returned to a downward trend after a few months of recovery. The decline in European RevPAR compared to the same month in 2019 was in fact -35.5% in December, compared to -31.2% in November. The relapse was more noticeable in the Northern and Eastern countries.

 
 

Compared to its European neighbors, France recorded the smallest decline in activity in December (-14.0%), while other countries were much more affected such as Austria, at -80.2% of its pre-crisis standards, Latvia (-70.6%) or the Netherlands at -76.8% compared to December 2019.

France is now ahead of the United Kingdom, where hotel revenues fell by 27.0% in December, while Germany recorded a much steeper monthly decline (-59.8%).

The Delta and Omicron variants hit in December and affected certain European countries, notably Germany, where the decline in hotel activity rose from -46.9% in November to -59.8% in December. The United Kingdom fell back to -27.0% compared with -14.6% in November, a month that was marked by the hosting of the COP26.

Austria, the European country with the largest decline in performance in December compared to pre-crisis levels, saw a sharp drop in performance: the decline in RevPAR went from -57.3% in November to -80.2% in December. This was mainly due to its total re-confinment between November 22 and December 12, followed by a phased re-opening. For the same reasons, but with a different timeframe, the Netherlands also fell back in December. 

Overall, most European countries recorded a drop in activity in December, although Spain in particular held up well (-22.8% of RevPAR, compared with -21.2% in November).

Conversely, the impact of Omicron was later in France, where hotels, buoyed by the Christmas vacations, continued to grow in December compared to November. The wave arrived there at the beginning of January. Luxembourg (-44.1% in December, compared to -50.2% in November), Latvia and Poland (-30.1% in December, compared with -31.1% in November) also continued to make progress during the month.

However, for these countries, this lull was short: at the beginning of January, all European countries were hit by the "Omicron wave", leading to further declines in activity.

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