The hotel industry faces 2021 more inclined towards pessimism than optimism. Despite the acceleration of vaccination and the first signs of recovery in tourist flows, the outlook is bleak. “Spain is one of the countries that is evolving the worst in the world. We closed 2020 with a drop in income of 70% and this year we are going to close it with an adjustment of 50% in the most optimistic scenario,” stressed Raúl González, CEO of Barceló Hotel Group for the EMEA region, during the presentation of the company’s results in 2020.
The forecasts that the hotel manages is that the first quarter of 2021 will close with an 80% cut in income, which will be progressively reduced to 65% in the second quarter and to figures close to 30% in the next two compared to the previous figures to the crisis. “The recovery of 2019 income will not occur until 2024. There will be a recovery of occupancy before and then we will have to return to average prices and that will take at least two years,” González said. Therefore, the outlook for the high season is rather pessimistic. “We will not have Easter or spring, but we will have mid-summer. There is still a lot of limitation to mobility. We have had a horrible 2020, a 2021 that begins just as horrible and I hope it ends better,” he stressed.
And in this rebirth planned for tourism in high season, the British market, the main issuer of travelers to Spain, will play a fundamental role. The news that they will try to return to a new normal as of May 17 has been received with mixed feelings. “Having to wait until that date is bad news, but having a date is good news. If the vaccination strategy works for the United Kingdom, I hope that in May or June the arrival of British people will reactivate very abruptly. When be allowed, people will travel a lot. “
While waiting for demand to reactivate, the hotel company has committed to an investment plan of 200 million to reposition assets in Tangier, Madeira or Seville, among other destinations. “It is time to reposition the portfolio and prepare it for when the market recovers.” With a revenue drop of 80%, the group co-chaired by Simón Pedro Barceló has had to pull cash and debt to meet expenses. “We closed 2020 with a little more debt, above 300 million. In a normal scenario, this level would be below once EBITDA. We also have 18,000 rooms owned and with lines of credit without having, with which we could endure several years in this situation. “