Hotel occupancy rates set to fall from 2019 high of 73% to 32%

A survey of hoteliers has found that average national occupancy levels are set to dramatically fall from the highs of over 70% last year to just over 30% this year.

Dublin occupancy levels are forecast to be down by half with regional levels down almost 40%.  

As a result, Dublin hotels expect to be harder hit overall than regional hotels with total revenues for Dublin hotels forecast to be down 62%. 

In comparison, regional hotels are predicting a fall of 55% on 2019 record levels.

This survey was carried out by Crowe, an accountancy practice and advisors to the Irish hotel sector.

87% of hotels have been closed for the past three months but are preparing to reopen on June 29. 

Hoteliers are preparing to operate in a marketplace where lower occupancy levels will be the norm for some time due to the collapse of the international tourist sector, including corporate travel. 

Crowe said it is inevitable that competitive pressure will put downward pressure on average room rates. Hoteliers are predicting the average room rate of €111 in 2019 is set to fall to €94 for 2020. 

It predicts that Dublin room rates will fall by 28% this year while room rates outside of Dublin are expected to be down 13% on 2019 levels. 

Nationally 42% of hoteliers expect the impact of Covid-19 to last more than 18 months, affecting trade into 2022. 

But the survey revealed that hoteliers have learned lessons from the economic crash of 2008 and now understand that discounting has a limited impact on overall demand stimulus. 

As a result, Crowe is predicting that hoteliers plan to protect room rates by avoiding over-discounting room rates in 2020, allowing the industry to create a better base for 2021.

Aiden Murphy, a partner at Crowe, said the survey also reveals that 90% of hotels have needed to approach their bank for changes to their loan repayment terms or additional working capital. 

“Due to the collapse of international demand and an increase in operating costs, there is little expectation for hotels to generate a profit this summer. As a result, there is a situation whereby 50% of hotels in Ireland could run out of money in the months ahead,” Mr Murphy added.

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