THE-ICE members discuss recovery of the hotel industry from COVID-19 closures

THE-ICE members discuss recovery of the hotel industry from COVID-19 closures

Representatives from THE-ICE member institutions across 8 countries joined THE-ICE Webinar Series 11: Hotel Industry in Recovery – STR SHARE Center to examine the trends and discuss the recovery of the hotel industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic closures.

On Thursday 17th December 2020 Mr Steve Hood, Senior Vice President and Founding Director at THE-ICE Business Alliance Partner STR SHARE Center, shared global data from 2020 into 2021. Mr Hood showed the peaks and troughs of closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, globally as well as regionally, and led a discussion of the following:

  • Ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the hotel industry
  • Factors influencing recovery
  • Impact of hotel industry recovery on TH&E graduates

Within these areas, the following key takeaways were highlighted:

Ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the hotel industry

  • Full-service hotels continue to struggle, with luxury and urban hotels the most significantly impacted. Mid-scale and economy hotels are performing better than luxury hotels because they are attracting the contracts for accommodating healthcare workers, quarantining travellers, etc.
    • Occupancy is more complicated to analyse in these cases; average daily rate (ADR) must be considered along with occupancy to gain a deeper understanding of the data and see the trends.
  • The pipeline (number of hotels under construction or in planning around the world) reached a peak prior to 2009 and began to decline in the economic downturn that followed. 2020 reached a similar peak level, and then dropped due to COVID-19. There have been less abandonments and deferrals of hotels due to the COVID-19 pandemic than in the 2009 recession, and some hotels are in fact opening in the midst of the pandemic.
  • There is a strong sense of optimism that domestic travel will increase in 2021, and international travel in 2022.

Factors influencing recovery

  • Most gateway cities, such as London, Paris, and New York, were significantly impacted by COVID-19 closures. Recovery is still subdued in these locations due to travel restrictions.
  • Subsequent waves of COVID-19 cases, travel lanes and bubbles, and increasing traveller confidence have impacted recovery numbers.
  • Seasonal changes have influenced demand as in any year, but there is also pent-up demand from travellers in recovering regions, who have been otherwise unable to travel.
    • Staycations drove European demand in August, but numbers are now declining as many countries in Europe re-enter lockdown.
    • It is hoped that recovery trends in China will be a good prediction of recovery in other regions.

Impact of hotel industry recovery on TH&E graduates

  • The impact of the hotel industry recovery on graduate employability will be dependent on the individual graduate and their focus of study e.g. meetings and events are expected to recover more slowly than other areas of TH&E.
    • Domestic tourism and outdoor tourism may become key areas of growth, and students should be able to identify other growth areas to consider as part of their career portfolio.
  • Analytics training and certification provide hands-on experience and proof of projects completed, allowing graduates to demonstrate their experience and ability to use data to potential employers.
  • In terms of student projects to replace internships, there are countless opportunities for research in terms of the data being captured from the pandemic recovery.

The recording of the webinar can be accessed here.

For information about upcoming webinars in THE-ICE COVID-19 webinar series, click here.