Only a third of Spanish hotels opened throughout 2020

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Spanish hotels on coast

MADRID: Only one third of all Spanish hotels remained open throughout 2020. The occupancy of these hotels was below 40% of the total capacity. Findings based on 1,200 hotels with a total of 165,000 hotel rooms. 

According to data from the Hotel Sector Barometer, prepared by STR and Cushman & Wakefield, recovery should be sought in the short term among national tourists who want to go away for weekends and holidays. The market for business travellers and foreign tourists depends on the further course of the pandemic, vaccination campaigns and governments’ policies with regard to mobility. 

From historic high to historic low 

For the whole of 2020, the average income per hotel room decreased by 67.8% compared to the previous year. This only includes Spanish hotels that opened the entire year. With an unused high season, a second corona wave that spoiled the early December Bank Holiday ‘bridge’ and following festive season, the Spanish hotel sector has had a historically bad year. The low point contrasts sharply with the three consecutive successful years 2017-2019 in which records were broken every year in terms of both room occupancy and income. 

Biggest loss for Barcelona city

Zaragoza was the destination with the most hotels (38%) open last year. Barcelona had the fewest city trips booked and the Balearics had the fewest beach holidays (25.7% and 23.7% respectively). This brought Barcelona in with the largest loss of bookings of all Spanish cities compared to 2019 (-67% occupancy). 

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The average Spanish hotel room price fell by 21% last year, from €114 euros to €90 euros per night. On the Canary Islands, prices dropped the least, only 3%, while in Barcelona the reduction was the greatest at 31%. Compared to 2019 when the average hotel room price in Barcelona was €142 euros, the average price last year was only €98. Seville (-28.1%) and Madrid (-25.%) follow Barcelona in terms of price drops. Tourism in these cities was mainly affected by the imposed travel restrictions and the lack of business travellers. 

Last year, turnover per available hotel room decreased on average by a considerable 68%. This duel effects of lower occupancy and price decreases attributed to the decrease. 

Rapid recovery when tourism starts up again 

According to the Cushman & Wakefield report, recovery in countries where tourism is back on track is progressing well. In Dubai, for example, where 30% of the population is now vaccinated against Covid-19, occupancy figures are already comparable to the same period in 2019. By January, more than 70% of hotel rooms in Dubai were already occupied. In the Maldives, this was already more than 80% in December and January. 

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