France’s occupancy timeline, with a look to the future
Like Europe as a whole, France’s hotel performance has been closely tied to the pandemic timeline. In this latest piece, we take a quick look at France’s occupancy highs and lows over the last year as well as what lies ahead for Paris in the coming months.
First lockdown impact
In mid-March, President Emmanuel Macron announced the first national lockdown in France, closing all non-essential public places, including restaurants, cafés, cinemas and nightclubs. This first lockdown was extended twice before a progressive lifting of measures in May.
In April, France’s hotel occupancy fell to an all-time low 13.4%.
During the summer months, hotels in the country posted their highest occupancy levels since February: July (48.2%), August (52.2%) and September (43.1%).
Digging deeper on 12 August, France achieved Europe’s highest daily occupancy level (58.2%) since the beginning of the pandemic. The Netherlands (52.7%) ranked second.
Second lockdown impact
A rise in COVID-19 infections caused France to enter a second nationwide lockdown in late-October. Performance was already trending downward around Europe with summer vacation demand dissipated and no corporate and events business to fill the void. Add in further economic closures and France saw occupancy drop back to 22.8% in November.
Three markets outperformed in December
With most of Europe struggling at the end of the year, three of France’s key markets were among the continent’s top occupancy performers in December.
Thanks to domestic demand, Marseille saw the fifth highest December level (41%) in Europe. Lyon (34%) ranked eighth, while Lille (32%) was 12th.
2021: What’s next?
At the market-level, Paris’ occupancy on the books sat at just 7.1% and 8.9% for February 12-13, respectively. That coincides with the beginning of the winter holidays (13 February-1 March 2021), and with last-minute cancelations, levels could be pulled further downward.
While occupancy on the books remains low, pickup has at least been on the rise for some dates thanks to events in 2021. For the next 365 days (as of 4 January), pickup sat mostly below 10%. However, Paris recorded its highest pickup (24.6%) for 18 and 20 September 2021. At the same time, pickup for the rest of 2021 has fallen off due to continued uncertainty and increased capacity allowing for shorter booking times.