Analysis for Europe/MEA
Business travel – phased recovery, new equilibrium, or structural decline?
Out with the old, in with the new – has there been a structural change in the way corporations approach, approve and value business travel? Do we expect business travel to ever come back to ‘normal’? Has a new equilibrium been reached because of COVID-19?
These were all questions that were discussed during a special business travel session at the CAPA Airline Leader Summit 2023 in Budapest, Hungary in Mar-2023.
Sydney sees Pride rise – hotel ADR and RevPAR exceed pre-pandemic levels
The recent Sydney WorldPride 2023 drove the Australian city’s hotel average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) above pre-pandemic levels, while occupancy remained slightly below 2019, according to preliminary data from STR.
WorldPride was held for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere with Sydney hosting a series of events across two weeks to commemorate LGBTQIA+ pride. The festival generated enormous interest with hotels reporting “consistently high occupancy and room rates,” according to Matthew Burke, STR’s regional director for Pacific, Japan & Central South Asia.
Elsewhere, the reopening of Japan’s international border several months ago have helped boost Tokyo’s ADR beyond pre-pandemic comparables for two straight months, while the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh has reported its highest hotel occupancy since 2008.
After slow end to 2022, the business travel outlook is turning more positive for 2023
There is a growing sense that lower levels of business flying are here to stay, with many still expecting top executives to set corporate flying reduction targets, driven by cost savings, changing travel habits and sustainability needs.
Messaging regarding the recovery of the business travel segment remains mixed.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of the industry’s leading voices have claimed that business travel will never fully recover due to changing working habits – namely, remote working and digital nomadism; company cost reduction; and a growing awareness of environmental issues.
Indeed, international business travel has been recovering at a much slower rate than leisure tourism.
WTTC report on economic value gained by cities from tourism – shift towards the east
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has published a report on a topic that is slightly unusual: namely, the economic value of tourism to cities, taking into account its contribution to GDP and employment as well as the usual traveller ‘spend.’
The main conclusion is inescapable.
While ‘old world’ cities in Europe still top the list, as well as North American resort cities such as Orlando and Las Vegas, there is a shift in favour of Asia Pacific. Beijing, for example, is expected to more than double its tourism sector value to USD77 billion in the next 10 years, leapfrogging the current first-placed Paris.
Where actual tourist spend alone is concerned, the top two cities in 2022 were Dubai and Doha, both helped by the Soccer World Cup being played in Qatar.
Again, Asia Pacific cities are expected to overtake or challenge them in the next 10 years.
Ascott takes Crest Collection into Asia as part of brand growth
The Ascott Limited, the lodging business unit of CapitaLand Investment, is set to debut The Crest Collection – its portfolio of bespoke hotels and serviced residences that integrates heritage stories with curated hospitality experiences – in Singapore, China and Vietnam.
The Crest Collection will also continue to grow its current portfolio in France with the addition of its fifth property in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris.
To date, Ascott has secured over 1,000 units across eight properties under The Crest Collection and has more properties under the brand in the pipeline, in key travel destinations such as Jakarta, Bangkok, Tokyo, Osaka and London.
Swiss debuts A340 premium economy retrofit; Hong Kong route to welcome new class from Apr-2023
European flag carrier SWISS International Air Lines has begun installing its new premium economy class on its Airbus A340-300 fleet.
The first such aircraft completed – HB-JMB – returned to service on 24-Jan-2023 and is presently being flown between Zurich and Johannesburg.
All four of SWISS’s A340s will be equipped with premium economy by Apr-2023, from when the new seating class will be bookable for the further destinations served by the aircraft.
AC Hotels by Marriott debuts in Greater China with Suzhou property opening
AC Hotels by Marriott, the design-led lifestyle brand from Marriott Bonvoy, has made its brand debut in Greater China with the opening of AC Hotel by Marriott Suzhou. This marks the introduction of a seventh brand in the group’s Select Brands portfolio into the region.
Known as the ‘Venice of the East,’ Suzhou is an ancient water town filled with elegant waterways, quaint alleyways and peaceful pavilions. The new property is situated in the heart of the city’s historic Gusu District.
Pan Pacific to double serviced suites portfolio by 2023 to meet growth for extended-stay properties
Pan Pacific Hotels Group will double its serviced suites portfolio by 2023, with new openings in key gateway cities such as Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Nairobi. This comes under the Group’s latest wave of expansion, which will increase its global development portfolio by 50%, adding more than 4,000 keys by 2023.
Radisson launches midscale Park Inn & Suites by Radisson brand in India
Radisson Hotel Group is looking to double its Indian footprint with nearly 150 hotels and resorts to be added by 2025. This will be achieved through the launch of its midscale brand Park Inn & Suites by Radisson in the country and a strategic alliance with Ruptub Solutions Private Limited which operates a domestic chain of 1,000+ properties in 120+ cities across India under the brand ‘Treebo’.
Business travellers view reductions in air travel as important factor in reducing carbon footprint
The European Federation for Transport and Environment, a European umbrella for non-governmental organisations working in the field of transport, says a majority of employees now expect top executives to set corporate flying reduction targets.
Research conducted by Ipsos in Oct-2022 as part of the Travel Smart Campaign of the organisation – commonly referred to as Transport & Environment – showed three in five business travellers report having curbed their flying habits as a result of the pandemic.