BUSINESS

Athens hotel prices crash

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Tourism

The occupancy rate at Athens hotels plummeted 60% in July, to 36.5%, despite the fact that the average room is 42.7% cheaper than in July 2019.

For the first seven months of the year, the occupancy rate drop was 49.2%, from 77.2% in 2019 to 39.2% this year. And this includes the good pre-pandemic times of January and February, when business was marginally better than last year.

The average price per room in January-July 2020 was €78.95, from €105.57 in the same period last year. Specifically for July, it was €69.49, from €121.32 a year ago.

Earnings per available room fell 62% in the first seven months of the year, to €30.99, from €81.56 in January-July 2019. For July alone, earnings were down 76.7%, from €108.69 in 2019 to €25.36 this year.

The data, provided by the Athens, Attica and Saronic Gulf Hoteliers’ Association and GBR Consulting, show the extent of the crisis in the region of the Greek capital. 

The hotel owners note that, actually, the occupancy rate had started showing signs of a decline from the end of 2019, “for reasons unrelated to the global health emergency, but rather due to faulty policies adopted to promote tourism development and which led to an excess in supply at all levels of hotel accommodation in Athens and elsewhere.”

The crisis started to become apparent in bookings for corporate tourism events in mid-February, the hotel owners say. April and May were the lockdown months where, by government decree, all hotels except a few designated per locality were shut down.

Year-round hotels were allowed to operate from June 1, but not all chose to open. Despite the fact that air connections were gradually re-established and that Greece, at least then, enjoyed the competitive advantage of a relatively safe destination, June and July were disappointing, with the occupancy rate at 25.7% in June and 36.5% in July. Revenue per available room slumped 79% and 76.7%, respectively. And interest in bookings was concentrated in a far smaller number of hotels than in 2019.

Obviously, this phenomenon of tanking occupancy rates is global. Rates fell 66.3% in Rome, 61.2% in Barcelona and 60.3% in Vienna. But Athens showed the greatest decline in the average room price.

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