What will the road out of lockdown look like? Results from industry survey

HVS, EP Business in Hospitality and Bird & Bird last week joined forces to host an international hotel conference which over 680 industry professionals attended online from across the world.

During the event, attendees were polled on a number of key questions; findings included:

  • 70% of attendees believe that Governments do not have a proper understanding of the importance of Hospitality on their country’s GDP and employment.
  • Some 50% consider that it will take 6 months before hotels have reached 50% occupancy levels following reopening.
  • The majority feel that 2019 occupancy levels and average room rates will not be reached until at least 2023.
  • On a more positive note, over half the respondents expect break-even occupancy levels to lie between 30% and 50%, which they feel is achievable by the end of the year.
  • Over 40% believe that fast food restaurants will be the first to recover.
  • Some 27% feel there will be a rise in alliances, the use of ghost kitchens and the delivered-in model.
  • Only 3% believed that Fine Dining would recover with ease.
  • In terms of engaging customers back into F&B spaces, over 50% believe that cleanliness and hygiene will be crucial and 40% consider new service levels will be key.
  • Over 50% consider that we will not see the debt market for hotel finance return to 2019 levels of gearing and pricing until 2022.

The event discussed the challenges facing the industry and was supported by a strong cast of 18 senior industry experts as speakers, panellists and moderators. A link to a video of the whole event can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhDRmGvgyCM

The two key speakers were:

  • Paul Slattery, Founder of Otus & Co, noted that there is a real danger in the creation of toxic conditions for the hotel sector with increased unemployment and weak economic performance caused by a number of factors including inadequate initiatives to keep hotel customers and employees safe from infection and continued under-investment in travel infrastructure by government.
  • Robin Rossman, Managing Director of STR, spoke of the likely long road back to recovery suggesting that full recovery in Europe will take till 2023. He also noted that European recovery will be influenced by a range of factors ranging from a possible second spike to government support to changes in consumer behaviour.

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