Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pictures Of Spain is reporting each month on the trends of Spain’s hotel industry, reporting on and interpreting the monthly figures released by Spain’s Institute of National Statistics (INE), which reveal the varying fluctuations of the country’s hotel sector, covering price rises and falls, hotel occupancy rates, changes in overnight stay figures and the origin of non-resident hotel guests. also provides a detailed regional breakdown of the figures.

March 2009 Overview

The big news to emerge this month from the INE is the 7.3% drop in average hotel prices throughout Spain in March compared to the same month in 2008. Assigned a points rating by the Hotel Price Index (HPI), this drop represents a fall of 9.5 points; a clear indication that a number of hotels throughout Spain have been forced to cut their prices in the wake of falling hotel figures.

So have these price cuts had any positive effect? Initial analysis would seem to suggest not. The second talking point to emerge from this month’s figures is the reported 18.9% fall in overall overnight stays in hotels in March compared to last year. While the average stay increased by 0.6% to 2.9 nights per guest, the indications are that people are still travelling much less than they used to in 2008.

Taken as a quarterly figure, 2009 has so far seen 16% fewer overnight stays when compared to the first three months of last year, yet these figures may be skewed somewhat by the fact that Easter - a traditionally busy time for the hotel sector - fell in March last year and April this year, so it is expected that next month’s figures will paint a clearer picture by way of comparison.

In terms of average hotel occupancy rates, the downward trend continued. While the 42.2% occupancy rate for March was better than the previous month (February 2009 saw an average occupancy rate of just 40.3%), this is to be expected given that Springtime always attracts more travellers than late winter. More pertinent, however, is that fact that hotel occupancy rates in March this year were down by 16.8% when compared to last year; which is a greater decrease than last month (when 2009 rates were only 14% worse than 2008), suggesting that the credit crunch is still having a negative effect. As ever, the weekend occupancy rates were better, with 48.7% of hotel rooms occupied - although this still represented a fall of 13.7% compared to last year.

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