COVID-19: Dublin demand on the books declining
An analysis powered by STR’s Forward STAR shows interesting shifts in business on the books for Dublin. Overall, we have seen some declines in hotel bookings for the coming weeks, stemming from the postponement and eventual cancellation of the Ireland vs. Italy Six Nations Match that was set to take place on 7 March.
Between last week and this week, Dublin city centre lost 11% of bookings for this coming Saturday when the match was to be held.
Looking further out to St. Patrick’s Day (17 March), we do not yet see declines coming through, but there is a definite muting of growth heading into the holiday with zero pickup for the next two weeks. Year to date on average, Dublin demand should show pickup of about 8%, so that is a pretty hefty slowing of booking pace. The way that St. Patrick’s Day falls this year is odd—the 17th is a Tuesday, although many may take this opportunity to take an extra-long weekend.
Currently there are thirteen confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ireland, with companies taking the cautious route—Google and Twitter, for example, have staff from their European headquarters in Dublin all working from home.
Another COVID-19 impact to consider is air traffic. Late November last year, Chinese airline Junayeo Airlines introduced flights between Dublin and Shanghai. This has been put on hold until the COVID-19 outbreak calms. This new route was an attempt to increase travel between Ireland and China.
What does Forward STAR show us for several key upcoming events in Dublin in 2020?:
- Demand is still relatively muted for the 50th anniversary of the World Irish Dancing Championship in early April.
- Demand is currently averaging around 50% for the four UEFA games in June.
- Touted as a “mega event” for 2020, the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game set for the last weekend of August shows business on the books already at 72%. Most of that demand is group business, a significant portion of which will come from the U.S.