Three international hotel groups gave us their assessment of summer 2023. Accor (1st group in Europe with 317,074 rooms as of January 2023), Hilton Worldwide (7th group in Europe with 77,565 rooms as of January 2023) and Melia Hotel International (10th group in Europe with 51,770 rooms as of January 2023) are sharing their views.
Adam Williamson, SVP Business Insight & Revenue Management, Europe & North Africa, Accor Hotels:
“The summer was a solid one overall in Europe, with RevPAR higher than last year, despite already very good results for 2022, boosted by post-Covid demand. This is largely due to prices, but the occupancy rate remains very honourable, especially given the economic context. Customers have clearly prioritised leisure and holiday spending, despite incomes under pressure from soaring interest rates in markets such as the UK and the recession that is hitting certain countries such as Germany even harder.
France is leading the way, with good results in Paris, despite less buoyant regions. The Mediterranean coast and Lyon generated RevPar above 2022, boosted by prices, although the occupancy rate was a little lower than forecast, mainly because of the heatwave, which deterred some holidaymakers, and the riots in Marseille, which reduced demand in the city at the beginning of July.
Leisure demand was down in Lyon and Toulouse, traditional stopover towns for those travelling south. We did, however, increase our performance with direct customers and negotiated income.
This year also marks the major return of international tourism to the whole region, and the trend was confirmed this summer, which goes a long way towards explaining the positive results. In France, domestic and intra-European flows were down on last year. The United States made a marked comeback in cities such as Paris, but also, to a lesser extent, Bordeaux, Nice and Lyon. China is also making a comeback, particularly in Paris, although its share of the overall mix remains limited.
We ran a sales campaign throughout the summer, highlighting certain programmes and activations, as well as opportunities to redeem ALL loyalty points. Social media enabled us to successfully promote sunny destinations based on contextual data, such as weather forecasts: we observed peaks in searches for related hotels.”
“Although there were slight signs of a slowdown in weekend business at the end of the summer period, September and October are traditionally very strong months and the forecasts remain positive. The calendar is not in our favour in countries like Germany, where some of the key events of 2022 will not be taking place this year, but we had already anticipated this. We expect good results in France for the rest of the year, particularly with the Rugby World Cup, which will generate additional demand.”
David Kelly, Senior Vice President, Continental Europe, Hilton
“We’ve seen another record year of travel across Europe, with strong demand for our 350+ hotels across the continent. This demand has been driven by leisure guests in the main - and despite macro pressures, we are seeing that people are prioritising travel and experiences for their discretionary spending. Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Rome continue to be hugely popular with American tourists in particular, with guests from the Middle East also keen to visit European cities. With major upcoming events including the Rugby World Cup and next year’s Olympics in Paris we are optimistic about continued strength in demand.”
Melia Hotel International
“The holiday season in Europe has confirmed the positive forecasts we had when we presented our Outlook in the month of July, observing a positive evolution of reservations in the third quarter of the year, which not only exceeded, as we said, by around 30% those of the same period in 2019 in monetary terms, but those registered for 3Q 2022 even improved by a high single digit.
The trends noted in terms of the recovery of the mix of issuing markets are also confirmed, and the UK and USA markets stand out in particular; We can also highlight that, in addition to recovering advance sales, we are having a very positive behaviour in “last minute” sales, especially from the UK, as well as the nationality with the greatest increase and rate contribution is the USA, especially positive for hotels from Baleares Luxury and our Zel Mallorca.
In general, the greater demand for luxury hotels and superior rooms is also reaffirmed, and this demand, and the improvement in the average rate especially in this segment, are helping the three areas (Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and Peninsular Coasts) to improve results. previous years, with occupancy that continues to improve, but still maintains a path of improvement.
We clearly observe a greater demand for Premium rooms and luxury hotels, and a predisposition to spend more on experiences (individual, as a couple or as a family) than on material goods, which has an impact on the consumption of F&B experiences, wellness, cultural, sports and leisure offers in general, in hotels.
The resilience of demand is driving an excellent season in terms of occupancy (which is very close to the occupancy recorded before the pandemic), and average rate (which is significantly above the average rate of 2019), but inflation and the high cost of raw materials and products and services of all kinds is weighing down our margins. To “protect” our margins without affecting quality and customer experience, which is our priority (having managed to maintain a very positive NPS of 53,6 in our hotels!) we are deploying cost efficiency measures through digitalisation and organizational efficiency, the planning and negotiation of large contracts such as energy contracts, etc.”