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European hotel sector optimistic about growth

Staff writer |
Growing optimism about economic growth is fueling expectation for hotel sector growth in 17 of 18 major European cities surveyed in the third annual PwC European Cities Hotel Forecast.

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This year's report explores revenue and occupancy forecasts framed within the context of influential megatrends and challenges facing the European hotel sector. All of the 18 cities featured in the forecast are crucial gateway cities and/or business and tourism centres, some anticipated to become mega cities, and mirror challenges facing other cities in Europe where position on the economic and hotel cycle is crucial.

Some cities are clearly better placed to grow than others, given a variety of factors including economic stability, regulation, supply and demand. The cities predicted to have the greatest revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth in 2014 are Dublin, followed by London and Paris, then Edinburgh, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Moscow.

In 2015, London is predicted to lead RevPAR growth, followed by Dublin, then Lisbon, Prague, Moscow, Edinburgh, Zurich and Frankfurt. In Dublin, a lack of new supply and strong demand is expected to drive RevPAR over each of the next two years by 5.2% and 3.8% respectively.

Despite sizeable supply increases, strong demand means London is forecast to see the flip side of Dublin, with RevPAR growth of 3.8% and 5.2% in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The hotel market has nearly returned to its pre-recession peak (reached in 2007), however, only in nominal terms. The sector remains significantly behind in real terms. Overall, the average Europewide RevPAR in 2013 was €67.99, which was 6.5% lower than the 2007 high of €72.70, but 18.5% lower in real terms. The RevPAR disparity shows how the hotel sector has underperformed the wider economy, as real GDP in 2013 across the EU was only marginally below the 2007 peak.

Growth in occupancy has been stronger, with a percentage close to its 2007 peak. In 2013, occupancy reached 67.4% in 2013 compared to 68% in 2007. ADR lagged with €100.88 compared to €106.98 in 2007, which was 5.7% lower than the pre-recession levels in nominal terms but 17.9% lower in real terms.

Though overall demand for European travel remained strong, 2013 proved to be a volatile year of up and down growth, varied by market. In annual terms, overall occupancy was up and all regions saw growth, with the strongest gains in Northern and Eastern Europe. Hotels saw a 2.4% gain compared to the same period in 2012, according to STR Global data.

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