French hotels held up better than their neighbors in 2021

The Ritz, Place Vendôme in Paris, December 15, 2021. BENOIT TESSIER / REUTERS

It’s not yet the recovery, it hardly looks like it, but all the same, the French hotel industry has reason to smile when it dissects its figures for 2021: its diversity and the strength of its domestic market. enabled it to be the most successful in Europe, despite the persistent difficulties of its Parisian engine.

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The report drawn up by the analysis firm MKG, which is particularly representative of the urban hotel industry, shows a turnover down 43% compared to 2019. It is ahead of the United Kingdom (− 47.6% ), another country where the executive has limited the closing periods linked to Covid-19 as much as possible in 2021. Greece and Spain follow, which had a good summer, while the decline is much sharper in Italy, Germany (−63%) and Benelux. However, the recovery of the European hotel industry is much slower than in the United States, China and the Middle East, and French hoteliers are far from having regained a comfortable financial situation as the start of the reimbursement of state-guaranteed loans (PGE).

An overall successful summer

“As in 2020, the French hotel industry was the most resilient in Europe, reports Vanguelis Panayotis, CEO of MKG Consulting. For structural reasons, because we have the advantages of a domestic clientele, which the countries of the South do not have, and of a foreign summer clientele which the countries of the North do not have. And for economic reasons, because we are not as dependent as Germany on trade fairs and fairs, massively canceled in 2021. ” Germany has also experienced a health tightening since the federal elections in September, which has particularly hurt its domestic tourism.

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The waves of Covid-19, and the associated restrictions, punctuated the year in four stages: the first five depressed months until the gradual deconfinement in May, with drops in activity of more than 60%; an overall successful summer thanks to French holidaymakers reinforced by a European clientele; a still timid recovery in September, with hesitant event activity; and a steady improvement in the situation during the last three months of the year, in particular thanks to the All Saints’ Day and end-of-year holidays.

Despite the upturn that began in Paris with fashion week in September, extended by the return of Americans, Ile-de-France remains the big loser in this tourism crisis.

These broad outlines hide significant disparities between territories and hotel ranges. As usual, the “supereconomic” segment proved to be more resilient than the rest of the market, thanks to customers linked to construction sites and French leisure trips. The turnover of the “budget” hotel business fell by 25% in 2021 compared to 2019, and only by 9% in the second half. The loss amounts to 36.5% in economy, 44.1% in the mid-range and 54.4% in luxury. These last two segments are respectively dependent on trade fairs and congresses and on “long-haul” customers.

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