Brussels hotels continue growth one year after attacks
26 April 2017
LONDON—The hotel industry in Brussels, Belgium, has posted five consecutive months of occupancy growth following a 12-month period of occupancy declines, according to data from STR.
Notable performance recovery began in November 2016 with a 10.2% increase in occupancy compared with the same month the previous year. That comparable November in 2015 marked the beginning of the market’s struggles after the terrorist attacks in Paris and the resulting travel lockdown in Brussels. Occupancy for November 2015 dropped 19.5% compared with the same month in 2014 and was followed by a 26.7% drop that December.
January and February 2016 showed signs that the market was regaining stability, with average-daily-rate (ADR) growth in both months, but the 22 March 2016 attacks at Brussels Airport and the Maalbeek metro station resulted in eight more months of double-digit occupancy declines. April and August 2016 saw the two most significant drops, at 30.8% and 31.1%, respectively. ADR was less affected, with a 0.8% decline in Q2 2016 and a 5.7% drop in Q3, as hotels responded to fallouts in demand.
Comparing March 2017 with March 2016, Brussels recorded a 19.4% increase in occupancy to an actual level of 69.0%. While this was a substantial uplift, it was still 4.0% behind Brussels’ March 2015 occupancy level (71.9%), suggesting that this short-term growth has not yet resulted in a return to long-term averages.
Segmentation data from STR suggests that Brussels’ March results were driven by a 40.4% year-over-year increase in Group (bookings of 10 or more at once) occupancy, while Transient occupancy grew 18.8%.
“Our latest forecast suggests that Brussels hotels should continue performance recovery throughout the remainder of the year,” said Thomas Emanuel, STR’s director of business development. “Following a 16% decline in demand in 2016, we should see an uplift of 15% for 2017 as both tourism and business travel continues to increase. This is assuming, however, that the market does not experience any further security incidents.”
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