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Is declining interest in fashion weeks leading to a decline in hotel performance?

The decline of fashion week has been fiercely debated in recent years, with some questioning whether the concept is outdated, obsolete, or even completely dead. For many, the traditional events have lost their shine and spent the past few years suffering from an identity crisis—are they much more than an advertising platform for high-fashion brands and vehicles for celebrity exposure? That is often the cynic’s argument.

Luckily for STR, hotel data is yet to go out of fashion—so perhaps it can indicate whether traveling to or attending catwalk events is no longer en vogue? With the February fashion weeks on the horizon, we analyzed the recent performance of their predecessors.

Fashion Week RevPAR Performances

Traditional markets

Paris, London, and New York are among the leading fashion week hosts, but 2019 event data could indicate that rising question marks over its value have begun to affect hotel performance. New York’s average occupancy of 84.3% in 2018 fell below 76.0% in 2019, while revenue per available room (RevPAR) dropped from US$116.86 to US$101.10 between 2018 and 2019.

As shown above, London and Paris suffered a similar fate in terms of fashion week RevPAR performance. Additionally, Paris’ average occupancy fell to 67.9% in 2019 (vs. 79.2% in 2018 and 77.3% in 2018), as the French capital continued to feel the effects of the Gilets Jaunes protests. London occupancy, conversely, remained relatively unchanged.

However, analyzing New York hotel performance over a longer period highlights peak and troughs that indicate the influence of factors beyond fashion week. Storm Nemo’s arrival coincided with February 2013’s fashion week, and hotel performance benefitted from the severity to post RevPAR growth of 30.0%. This high base affected 2014 performance (-40.0%) before a more muted decline (-4.0%) in 2015. Yet 2016 heralded the start of three consecutive growth years in fashion week RevPAR, before the latest decline.

Up-and-coming fashion events

The suggested declining interest in traditional fashion weeks has certainly not harmed the cause of more independent events and markets not typically considered as style hotspots. Berlin, for example, recorded its highest 2019 monthly occupancy increase (+11.15 year-over-year) in January 2019—boosted by fashion week growth from 11-15 of the month.

With sustainability more than just a buzz word in the fashion industry, Budapest’s Global Sustainable Fashion Week is another smaller-scale to have gained momentum in recent years. Hotel performance has received a boost across three of the event’s four, with notable RevPAR increases reported in 2017 and 2018.

Budapest RevPAR Boost

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