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September 2020: a harsh return to reality for French hoteliers

September marked the end of the summer recovery that had revived a glimmer of hope for the hotel sector. KPIs fall back again, plunging the French industry back into the harsh sanitary reality. As observed in recent months, the severity of the decline remains uneven across regions and segments.

In September, due to the absence of business customers, the occupancy rate in France declined by 33.5 points (43.8%) compared to September 2019 (77.4%) and by 5.2 points compared to August 2020 (49%). Likewise, average daily rates decreased significantly, from €90.1 excluding VAT in August to €76.7 excluding VAT, a decrease of 28.4% compared to the previous year's results (€107.1 excluding VAT). The RevPAR thus lost more than half of its value (-59.4%) nationally, dropping from €82.9 excluding VAT in 2019 to €33.6 excluding VAT this month. This result marks the end of the summer recovery, as RevPAR is down 24% compared to August.

In terms of territories, Paris confirms its distress: occupancy rates drop 65.7 points (22.2% versus 87.9% in 2019) and RevPAR is in free fall with -85.9% (€24.8 excluding VAT versus €176.8 excluding VAT in 2019). The Paris Region fares slightly better, with OR down 45.6 points (35.7% versus 81.3% in 2019) and RevPAR down 67.5% (€25.2 excluding VAT versus €77.5 excluding VAT in 2019). In contrast, the Provinces are once again more resilient but the end of the summer season weighs on their roomnights demand, with OR and RevPAR losing 23.2 points (50.8% versus 74% in 2019) and 41% (€37.9 excluding VAT versus €64.2 excluding VAT in 2019), respectively.



In line with the trend of the previous months, the lower-end segments held up better than the upper ones yet recorded a decrease in RevPAR that was twice as high as in August: RevPAR for the Budget and Economy segments are down respectively by 33.1% (€24.6 excluding VAT compared to €36.8 excluding VAT in 2019) and 46.4% (€32.1 excluding VAT compared to €59.8 excluding VAT in 2019). The upper segments remain the most affected, with RevPAR falling by 59.1% in midscale (to €38.5 excluding VAT from €94.0 excluding VAT in 2019) and by 77.4% in upscale hotels (to €45 excluding VAT from€199.1 excluding VAT in 2019)

September's performance thus cast a shadow on the encouraging results of August. Hotels in the Provinces could no longer rely on the summer vacationers to heal their wounds, and without business customers high-end hotels and the Ile de France region remained stuck. Unfortunately, recent health policies to fight the second wave of the pandemic are poised to aggravate the situation, generating uncertainty for hoteliers and increasing the likelihood that many hotels will close again in some of the most affected markets.

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