First global hotel performance data for 2004 from the HotelBenchmark Survey by Deloitte shows a marked improvement compared to last year.Latest figures show that all regions across the world - Europe, Asia and the Middle East - managed to post double-digit growth in revenue per available room (revPAR) during 2004. The Middle East stole the show, pushing revPAR up by 28% on the prior year however Asia was not far behind reporting growth of 25%. Europe saw an increase of 15% however this figure is inflated due to the weakness of the dollar against the Euro. When measured in Euros the market only saw an increase in revPAR of 6%.
Given the challenges presented in 2003 including the war in Iraq, SARS as well as general economic conditions, it is not surprising that hotel performance in 2004 has exceeded this. However, what may come as a surprise to some is that revPAR in the Middle East and Asia is now ahead of the last strongest year on record, 2000. Analysis of a consistent sample of hotels over the last four years shows that hotels in the Middle East and Asia achieved a revPAR of almost US$10 higher than four years ago. This picture is consistent with latest figures from the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) which show that the growth in international visitor arrivals to these markets is amongst the strongest in the world. During the first eight months of 2004 both regions saw visitor numbers exceed the levels achieved during the same period in 2002 - the previous record year.
Whilst on the face of things, or in US$ terms at least, the picture also looks good for Europe, with revPAR up US$17 in 2004 compared with 2000. The reality is somewhat different. Europe continues to struggle due to the strength of the Euro against the dollar, with revPAR still some €9 lower in 2004 than it was in 2000. Whilst performance generally may be moving in the right direction, it is clear that hotel performance across the euro-zone is not growing as fast as the rest of Europe. Year end figures for 2004 show that revPAR in the euro-zone grew at approximately half the rate (+2.5%) of that seen elsewhere in Europe (+6%). The UK and markets across Eastern Europe really have been at the forefront of helping drive the recovery across Europe in 2004.
Julia Felton, Director of HotelBenchmark at Deloitte said: “Given the events of recent years, 2004 was always expected to be a stronger year for the hotel industry. As it turned out, it was an exceptionally strong year for tourism as a whole, with international tourist arrivals showing the strongest rate of growth since 1984. Clearly this has had a knock-on impact on hotel performance. It is really encouraging to see how quickly some markets have recovered, particularly given that hotel performance in the Middle East and Asia is exceeding the levels achieved in 2000. Despite the recent tragic events of the tsunami disaster in South East Asia, the impact on hotel performance to the region as a whole is expected to be limited, as the region is still perceived to be a safe destination for people to visit.”
Julia Felton added: “Whilst performance in Europe, still has some way to go, this continues to move in the right direction. However, the continued appreciation of the euro continues to cause concern. With the UK expected to be the fastest growing of any of the big-4 European economies over the next few years it is expected that this will continue to drive the recovery.”