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C&W Hotel Barometer Spain 4Q 2020

Albert Grau • 01/02/2021

The Hotel Sector Barometer for Spain, is produced jointly by STR and C&W, this issue reviews the hospitality market in 2020.

The pandemic is weighing upon the upward trend enjoyed by the hotel industry

  • The recovery must be oriented towards domestic demand and the leisure segment over the short term, in particular towards weekend breaks, national holidays and the holiday season. The MICE segment will remain impacted and international demand will depend on the evolution of the pandemic, the rollout of vaccines and government measures applied to travellers.

  • In terms of indicators, the hotel industry was barely able to exceed occupancy of 30% for the year as a whole. This represents a fall of 59% in comparison with the previous year, driving a drop in RevPAR of 67.8% (down to €27). In contrast, the ADR is proving more resilient with a slide of just 21%, bringing it down to €90.

  • The global situation for tourism shows us that international hotel markets with fewer restrictions, such as Asia and the Middle East, are witnessing activity levels close to those of 2019. Examples of this are Dubai, where occupancy in January of this year has exceeded 70%, and the Maldives, recording occupancy during December and January of over 80%.

The year 2020 has proved to be a historic inflection point for the hotel industry

Occupancy for Spain as a whole amounted to 30.5% in 2020, in comparison with a figure of 75% for 2019. For its part, RevPAR (revenue per available room) dropped to just €27.50, a slide of 68% comparison with 2019. In contrast, the average daily rate (ADR) achieved a degree of stability, though also fell to €90 per room, representing a decrease of some 21% on the figure for 2019. These figures correspond solely to those hotels that remained active during 2020, a proportion that, in some destinations, amounted to just 30% of the total.

In the words of Javier Serrano, STR’s Country Manager for Spain and Portugal, “we must hope for recovery based on domestic demand with a more optimistic outlook for the holiday segment and in a regional context, where we already have examples of destinations that performed decently during 2020. In contrast to this, international indicators for countries where a significant proportion of the restrictions have been lifted demonstrate that demand remains confident and could quickly bounce back”.

The occupancy level plummeted below 40% in all destinations nationwide

The holiday season, in which the circumstances of the pandemic prevented the recovery of hotel activity in sun & sand destinations, combined with the arrival of the second wave of virus which narrowed down options linked to the Constitution bank holiday weekend and the Christmas period, have left in their wake the worst ever year for the Spanish hotel industry. The figures for 2020 are also in stark contrast with the trend during the three-year period 2017-2019, in which records relating to both revenue and occupancy were broken in numerous destinations.

According to data from the Barometer, the city of Zaragoza achieved the highest occupancy in establishments that remained open, producing a figure of 38%. This is in contrast to the Balearic Islands which, at 24%, attained the lowest occupancy. The greatest fall in comparison with the previous year was recorded by Barcelona, witnessing a drop of -67% in occupancy.

According to Albert Grau, partner and co-director of Cushman & Wakefield Hospitality in Spain, “the tourism industry has implemented measures in order to achieve the only realistic goal in these circumstances, namely the survival of businesses. In some circumstances this has been achieved by keeping hotels open in spite of the lower occupancy in order to strengthen the brand, propose new marketing strategies and continue analysing the market with a view to reactivating in 2021”.



The ADR stands at €90, a fall of 21% in comparison with 2019

For 2020 as a whole, the ADR decreased by some 21%, going from €114 in 2019 to €90. Although this drop is significant, it is important to point out that the industry has made great efforts not to fall into the trap of slashing prices. This would not be beneficial for recovery when, at some point, we see restrictions gradually being lifted. Within this context, the smallest adjustment in prices amounted to just 3% in the Canary Islands. This is in contrast to the 31% cut seen in Barcelona, going from €142 in 2019 to €98 in 2020.

According to Javier Serrano, “given that the experience of previous crises shows the difficulty of achieving a recovery in prices, the hotel industry is conscious of the importance of maintaining a rational pricing policy now. In the case of the global financial crisis that began in 2008, more than 5 years passed before the figures of preceding years were achieved. Given that the type of crisis also has entirely different connotations, it is essential to avoid the same phenomenon this time round”.




RevPAR falls by some 68% in one year

Revenue per available room (RevPAR) for Spain as a whole slumped by 68% in 2020. The leading cause of this is the low degree of occupancy together with falls in average prices. As examples of this, we have declines amounting to 77.5% in Barcelona and 69% for Madrid. In the opinion of Albert Grau, “Rather than 2020 being useful to us in terms of making comparisons, it is helpful with respect to focusing hotel management on those aspects that, as of now, will go on to frame the recovery. These consist of safety, a commitment to customer awareness through technology and options to guarantee sales in a market that will be highly competitive and in which travellers can place their trust”.

In line with this, the indicators from STR show that countries who are opening their doors to tourism with fewer restrictions are experiencing a rapid recovery and achieving figures similar to those of 2019. This is the case with Dubai, where some 30% of the population has now been vaccinated. The data favours an optimistic outlook given that the demand side remains confident and eager to travel.


The Hotel Sector Barometer brings together data from 1,200 hotels and more than 165,000 rooms in mainland Spain. The study is the product of an alliance between STR, a worldwide provider of benchmarking, analytics and market knowledge specialising in the hotel sector, and Cushman & Wakefield Spain, the world leader in real estate services.


Bruno Hallé
Bruno Hallé

Partner, Co – Head of Hospitality
Barcelona, Spain

+34 93 467 21 87

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Albert Grau
Albert Grau

Partner, Co – Head of Hospitality
Barcelona, Spain

+34 93 467 50 03

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