Israel’s swift response to the pandemic and its world-leading vaccination roll-out has attracted worldwide attention. As many of you may know, Fornova has its roots in Israel - many of our senior leadership team, including myself are Israeli and our research and development team is based there. The reason I’m sharing this with you is that today, Israel is a beacon of hope for the global hospitality industry.
The country is fast reaching a point of critical mass of people who have been vaccinated – allowing many of the restrictions to be lifted. The positive impact this is having on the leisure and travel sectors is clear and should be a source of inspiration for other countries. I recently made the decision to return home, to be close to family as well as our R&D concert. What I’m seeing has me truly excited about the prospects for our global hospitality industry.
Last week I found myself at a rock concert with 5,000 other unmasked people. I think we were more excited to be out and with so many others than we were about the music! The speed at which life is returning to a sense of normality is fuelling local and drive-to travel.
Covid ‘passports’ (proving that people have been vaccinated) are allowing events, venues, theatres, museums, bars, and restaurants to open their doors, and encouraging short-break domestic travel. And the really good news is… both capacity and rates are increasing. Demand, driven by people wanting to make the most of their newfound freedoms is giving hotels scope to flex their rates. Some guests are paying higher rates for a Sunday/Monday trip than they would have in 2019!
STR data shows that although occupancy rates still have some way to go before returning to 2019 levels – they are trending in the right direction. Despite 35% of the country’s hotels remaining closed HVS Research suggests that 2021 will be a turning point for the country’s hospitality industry for both occupancy and net REVPAR.
Image by STR
Image by HVS
So, what does this mean for your hotel? Well, firstly it should give you hope that recovery is possible. Secondly, it’s a reminder of how important it is to continue tracking progress in your regions, what changes in the restrictions mean for your potential guests, what ADR you should expect once demand returns, and have a plan in place for how you will capture that local and drive-to demand.
With the UAE, USA, UK, and Maldives among the top 10 countries to vaccinate their populations, we will be watching closely to see how hotels - and their travel and hospitality counterparts - are able to capitalize on the easing of restrictions there.