COVID-19: Event cancellations impact Germany hotel performance
Unsurprisingly, Germany has faced a wave of event cancellations and postponements as the COVID-19 outbreak continues. As well as the cancellation of the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) and postponement of the International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF), both in Berlin, several other events have been disrupted.
Let’s begin with Berlin
Both IHIF (2-4) and ITB (4-6) were scheduled to take place during the opening week of March, so it’s no surprise that their respective announcements affected hotel performance. Following ITB’s cancellation announcement on 28 February, occupancy started to fall and affected revenue per available room (RevPAR). On 4 March, Berlin reported a year-over-year RevPAR decline of 56.8%—reaching its worst level on the day the event was due to commence.
A similar situation occurred in Frankfurt, where the postponement of the Light + Building 2020 conference led to a 73.7% occupancy decline on what would have been the event start date (8 March). Interestingly, Frankfurt’s airport markets began to feel the impact once flights to and from China became limited on 30 January. However, it was the event effect that caused declines in the market’s center.
While other markets are yet to report a significant event-driven decline, the downward trend is evident. As the below image shows, key markets such as Munich, Cologne and Dusseldorf all reported below-50% occupancy levels in the week commencing 9 March. It is worth considering that the cancellation of sizeable events would only heighten this issue.
On 8 March, the German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, requested that events with more than 1,000 attendees were cancelled. At that time, Germany had more than 900 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and numbers have reportedly surpassed 4,000 at time of writing—which has been reflected in stricter government measures.
One issue that could have an ongoing impact is the disruption to Germany’s sports calendar. The impact to Bundesliga fixtures escalated in tandem with the severity of the situation, developing from a behind-closed-doors approach to complete suspension until at least April. Similarly, there is currently no confirmation on new arrangements for Bayern Munich’s Champions League tie with Chelsea, and the same market will be affected by Euro 2020’s postponement to next summer.
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