Optimism in the Spanish tourism sector is soaring this Easter, a period in which all the records of recent years are expected to be exceeded, both in terms of the number of visitors and the spending incurred. The return of international visitors and the desire of national travellers has led many destinations in Spain to hang the ‘sold out’ sign in their establishments.
With less than a fortnight to go until the first long holiday period of the year, the major Spanish chains consulted by Europa Press are forecasting a very positive Easter Week, in which they are confident of improving their revenue per room with high occupancy rates thanks largely to the recovery of early bookings.
The outlook for the Meliá hotel company’s holiday business for Easter is very positive, currently improving sales figures for 2019 by 22% thanks to the increase in average rates and the recovery since the beginning of the year in markets such as the British, German and domestic customers. They also highlight the positive sales of the US market and the recovery of the Asian market “waking up from its long lethargy”.
The improvement in bookings is mainly concentrated in the Canary Islands, where hotels are above 65% occupancy, improving their historical average rates, as well as the peninsular coasts, with more consolidated prices, improving their occupancies compared to the previous year.
Practically all the hotels of the chain headed by Gabriel Escarrer recorded double-digit growth in average room rates (ADR) last year. A line that is expected to be maintained this season.
The NH hotel chain is also confident of improving on previous years’ figures. As of today, its outlook for Southern Europe is very positive with very favourable expectations in all countries and destinations, both in terms of booking volume and average prices.
Most destinations are responding better than in 2019, with some Italian destinations such as Florence, Naples, Milan or Rome, or the Portuguese Algarve leading the way. In Spain, the recovery is led by Marbella, Barcelona and Madrid. Compared to last year, Milan is performing better, along with Florence, Palermo, Porto, Lisbon, Naples, Madrid, Zaragoza and Malaga.
The Mallorcan hotel company Riu is also looking forward to a good season. They currently have 10% more bookings on their books than last year and “there is still room for sales in practically all the destinations in Spain” with very strong demand.
The Riu family company detects a positive trend in all international markets, and in the case of the domestic market the tendency is to book more in the short term. Domestic destinations such as Jerez, Palma de Mallorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife are registering increases in demand of over 10%.
Barceló Hotel Group has also detected an increase in advance sales, especially in destinations such as the Canary Islands. Other destinations such as Andalusia and Levante are more dependent on last minute sales. In general, average occupancy is expected to be 10 points higher than in 2022, with an average increase of +12% in ADR, which has generated 50% more revenue, with a special impact in the Canary Islands.
Despite inflation, hoteliers do not see a reduction in consumption by travellers, and the Hesperia Group expects to end the holidays with an occupancy rate of around 90% in all its hotels. It also expects to exceed its ADR for 2019 by approximately 35%.
So far this year, its ADR is 16% higher than in 2022 and its RevPar is 70% higher, mainly thanks to occupancy rates. Compared to 2019, RevPar growth stands at 70%, supported by the effect of ADR growth (39%).
PRICE INCREASES OF UP TO 20%
In the case of Sercotel, the forecast is to achieve occupancies similar to those of 2019 and 2022, standing at around 90%. This will allow them to increase prices by around 20% compared to previous years, also driven by the return of international customers.
In terms of destinations, Catalonia and Levante are leading the way with occupancies of around 80%, thanks mainly to the international client, while the rest of the destinations are currently at occupancies of around 70%. Particularly noteworthy is the increase in prices at hotels in Madrid.
Optimism is also felt at Palladium Hotel Group, which expects to reach occupancy figures of around 80% in global terms, even higher than those recorded in 2022, thanks to the recovery of international travel in its most important source markets.
The hotel company expects to achieve a 15% increase in RevPar compared to the previous year and specifically in Europe they expect to close this Easter with occupancies of around 65%, and with an increase in RevPar of around 10%. The favourite domestic destinations are the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and the Andalusian coast, while on the other side of the Atlantic, occupancy will be concentrated in Mexico, Punta Cana and Jamaica.
Likewise, Vincci Hoteles’ forecasts are very optimistic, supported by the recovery of both the European and Asian markets and the anticipation of bookings. In its case, the best positioned destinations are urban destinations with Easter traditions such as Seville, Malaga and Granada. The chain headed by Carlos Calero also sees an increase in the average daily rate compared to last year.
THE CANARY ISLANDS ARE AMONG STRONG FAVOURITES
In the case of Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, part of the Piñero Group, the forecasts are very favourable in all hotels and destinations, exceeding initial forecasts. The destinations with the greatest increase in the international area are Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, while in the Spanish market, the destinations that are responding best are Tenerife and Majorca.
The company notes a general increase in rates following the 2022 trend, but points out that “their impact is minimised by the general increase in costs”.
Paradores agree on the diagnosis: it will be a good Easter for the tourism sector. Their forecast is to achieve an Easter Week very similar to that of 2022, exceeding 75% in the whole week, with occupancies of 90% on the main days. If these forecasts are met, there would be a slight increase in ADR compared to 2022. The destinations with the highest advance bookings are the Canary Islands and destinations where Easter is deeply rooted.
The Hotusa Group also improved its data both in terms of rates and occupancy, with cities such as Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Paris, Lisbon, Rome and Naples standing out in particular. The rates are maintained in the high segment and do not show a reduction in consumption.
In the case of Hoteles Silken, they have a current situation of incremental bookings of close to 30% more in sales. The destinations that are responding best are Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Seville and Vitoria. Compared to the previous year, they have recorded improvements of 15% in ADR and 10% in Revpar. In their case, rates have increased minimally, around 5%.
The hotel company Marriott also notes an upturn in both bookings and prices for Easter in almost all markets, with occupancy similar to pre-pandemic levels. The company highlights the extraordinary figures both in its establishments in Seville (boosted by Easter) and in Majorca and Tenerife with booking figures similar to pre-pandemic levels.