UK ‘tops leader board’ in European hospitality recovery

The UK continues to lead the hospitality recovery in Europe, with few holiday destinations in southern Europe getting near the hotel occupancy rates in the UK regions.

Hospitality data analyst STR reports the average occupancy in UK hotels was above 60% for a fourth successive week in mid-July, hitting 63.5% in the week to July 18.

In the same week, STR reported “a handful of European countries” showed a week-on-week improvement in occupancy with Ireland on 54%, Spain just below 54% and France and Italy 51%.

Overall occupancy in Europe’s hotels was just 35%.

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STR reported in June that the hospitality recovery in the UK was “unbelievably good” with STR managing director Robin Rossmann noting: “It’s remarkable how quickly UK occupancy has recovered.”
Thomas Emanuel, STR director, described the UK as “at the top of the occupancy leader board in Europe” in July despite occupancy remaining 21 percentage points down on July 2019.

STR reported weekend occupancy across UK hotels has hit 65% each week since the May 17 reopening of hospitality.

Emanuel noted: “Demand is almost exclusively leisure-driven. The UK has benefitted from a successful vaccination program, a phased reopening and improved travel sentiment.

“Other countries are showing improvement, but this is still far from a normal summer in Europe.”

He added: “UK occupancy is catching up with the US and China while the rest of Europe lags.

“Some European markets have been more successful than others in pulling themselves up from pandemic low points despite a void in international arrivals. [But] overall, Europe has a way to go.”

UK regional hotels continue to outperform London. STR reported overall occupancy in many holiday regions above 75% even before the schools broke up for the summer holidays in the week ending July 23.

By contrast, demand for London remained down in advance of the government’s announcement this week that vaccinated travellers from the EU and US will be allowed in without quarantine from Monday.

Emanuel also noted the UK remains Europe’s hotel development “hot spot” with 130,000 rooms in the pipeline.

STR forecast demand will return to 2019 levels in the UK regions by 2023 and in London by 2024.

Emanuel suggested domestic demand would remain key this year and “for a good portion of 2022”.

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