According to Clos, with the pandemic, hoteliers in the city saw the need to bet on national tourism in the absence of international visitors, which forced them to reduce prices as a claim for these customers.
“It was a success,” he says, because they have managed to maintain a “correct” occupation in a market that they did not have before, since the city was mainly filled with international tourists, which made hotels more expensive.
“At the prices of before, we would continue with an occupancy of 15%,” explains Clos, who points out that now they have an occupancy of 60% in open hotels, despite the fact that 30% of the establishments are still closed and many of those that are operating do not have all their plants available
Therefore, the figures are still far from those registered in 2019, when around 66,000 people were sleeping in the city and now there are only 22,000, among which few foreigners are still counted. When international demand recovers, Barcelona hoteliers hope to return to pre-pandemic prices.
The general director of the Barcelona Hotels Guild, Manel Casals, assures that the forecast was that by the end of the year 85% of the hotel plant in Barcelona would be open, but now he believes that this percentage will be lower, since some hoteliers who have Several establishments in the city have decided to close some and concentrate customers in the others, in anticipation that December and January will be bad months.
Historically, November, December and January are months of low occupancy in Barcelona, despite the fact that this year November is working well and for December the bookings are good.
Those in charge of the union do not dare to predict when normality will return because, to a large extent, it depends on the evolution of the pandemic and, at the moment, in some European countries it is getting complicated.
“We depend a lot on them and some may be afraid to travel in case they reach the destination and, for some reason, they have to be confined,” says Casals. The one that is still not recovering is congress tourism, although it seems that the sector will register a significant increase in visitors next year.
“Consistency” with room rental
In these circumstances, hoteliers believe that the commitment to quality tourism is the way to go, so they ask the administrations for “coherence”.
Those responsible for the Barcelona Hotel Guild believe that wanting to attract quality tourism is “contradictory” with, for example, allowing the rental of rooms to tourists or rejecting projects such as the Four Seasons hotel or the Hermitage museum project in the Barcelona’s port.
Despite the situation, Barcelona continues to be an “attractive” place for hotel investment, as evidenced by the hotel purchase operations that are being registered, since investors “believe in the destination” and that the current one is one ” temporary situation, “says Clos.