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COVID-19 : impact on French hotel industry monthly performances in 2020

The COVID-19 crisis that began in early March obviously had a very significant impact on a year 2020 that had started rather well. How has activity evolved over the months?

From January to July 2020, the average Occupancy Rate for French hotels was 31.6% of built rooms (i.e., of the entire park, whether open or not). The drop was sharp: 36.5 points less than last year. The same is true for Average Prices and RevPARs, which fell by 15.3% and 60.7% respectively compared to last year over the first 7 months of the year. Hotels in the Île de France region and particularly those in the city of Paris were the most impacted, due to their greater dependence on international visitors.

Even if it seems far away today, the first two months of the year were characterized by similar or even slightly higher occupancy rates than in 2019. Then, the health crisis and the lockdown of mid-March caused occupancy rates to fall to the April level, which is both the lowest point of the year but also the sharpest drop relative to the previous year. Hotels in Paris and the Ile-de-France region were impacted much more significantly than hotels in other regions of France. With the first measures of lockdown easing, the first of which began in mid-May, occupancy rates began to rise gradually, slowly approaching normal levels, with a faster recovery for the provinces thanks to consumer demand for travel after the lockdown. This desire was also driven by various tourism stakeholders and the government, which encouraged people to travel within the country following the removal of the 100 km travel limit in June. Paris and its region have not been able to benefit from such a quick recovery due to the predominance of business and international tourism in this area.

Average prices also fell particularly in April, due to a significant drop in OR in March, but also to a shift in supply: high-end hotels were then closed, while some super-economy hotels remained open, particularly to meet the accommodation needs of people on the "front line".  In July, however, hotels managed to reduce the decline (-16.8% only compared with -39.2% in June), thanks to reopenings and the gradual recovery in the occupancy rate. Initial data for August indicate that average prices have nearly normalized, even increasing in some establishments that are well exposed to French vacationers.  

The national average RevPAR was significantly impacted by the combined decline in occupancy and prices. While it was around €53 before the crisis, it fell to less than €20 in March to reach an all-time low (€2.2) in April, 96.5% less than in 2019. From May to July it gradually resumed due to the recovery of activity.  This recovery is however heterogeneous depending on the region. Due to a very uneven recovery in occupancy rates, Paris and the Ile de France region did not benefit from the same performance as the provinces. In July, RevPAR was €17.0 in Ile de France (-81.6%), while it was €43.6 in the provinces (-34.9%).

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