Study shows hoteliers have reasons to feel confident

4 01 2011

Leading Sustainable Tourism2

Occupancy rates at four and five star hotels in the Algarve have increased, according to a study by ILM Advisory, a company specialising in the sustainable development of tourism and hotel sectors in Portugal.

The data, collected from 26 four and five star hotels, showed that hotels increased both their occupancy rates and revenue per available room (RevPar).


_In the period between Jan-Sept of 2010 the surveyed hotels had an occupancy rate slightly higher than in the previous year (58,08% vs 55,93%), although it is important to state that the data from 2010 doesn’t include the performance of the last quarter of the year.
_The Average Room Rate (ARR) registered an increase of 5,14€ in the comparative of Jan-Sept 2010 vs year 2009 (66,97€ vs 61,83€), however, and once again, the 2010 data doesn’t consider the last three months of the year.
_In the accumulated period of Jan-Sept 2010 the respondents registered an average RevPar higher than in 2009, by 6,06€. The significant growth of the RevPar in the Summer of 2010 in comparison to the accumulated Jan-Sept 2010 (32,14€) was mainly justified by a positive increase in the occupancy rate.
_The three main markets of the respondents are: Portuguese (29,9% – 38,5%), English (15,6% – 24,6%) and German (13,4% – 22,2%). While the Portuguese and English markets are more concentrated in the Centre and Eastern Algarve, the German appear more widely spread throughout the Algarve. The traditional outbound markets to the Algarve registered a decrease in demand in the comparison of 2009 vs 2010 – English (-3,3p.p), German and Irish (-1,3p.p. each). On the other hand the demand of tourists from Spain and Benelux increased (by 4 p.p. and 1p.p., respectively) justified, in part, by geographical proximity (Spain) as well as by the promotion efforts of ATA in the diversification of markets (Benelux).
_Tour Operators achieved a significant weighting in the operation of 4 star hotels, being responsible by 37% of demand. This distribution channel, as well as MI/ Corporate Groups, lost representation in the comparison of 2009 vs 2010. In the hotels where Tour Operators are responsible for at least 50% of the reservations, the Online Platforms appear as the second most relevant distribution channel with a weighting varying between 11 – 20%, showing the low performance of the direct sales of these units, which had repercussions on their sales.
_In terms of Revenue Mix the accommodation department is the main revenue centre, followed by the Food & Beverage department, representing, respectively, 58% to 68% and 25% to 34% of hotels’ revenues. The accommodation department assumes a higher representation in the hotels belonging to chains when compared with independent units.
_With regard to the operational costs it was possible to observe that the human resource costs suffered a sharp drop in the comparison of 2009 vs Jan-Sep 2010, falling from 31,6% to 26,9% of the total revenues generated. On average, per year, the human resourcing costs are equal to 5.200€ per room.
_The marketing costs vary between 50.000€ and 280.000€ per room. This big gap is justified by the existence of independent hotels and others belonging to chains.
_The energy costs registered a decrease of 0,6p.p. in Jan-Sept 2010 vs 2009. The daily cost, by occupied room, was of 6,6€.
_With regard to the Gross Operating Profit (GOP) in 2009, 40% of the respondents assumed a weighting between 31% and 40% of the total revenue. In the period of Jan-Sept 2010 the GOP was on average 10p.p. higher than in 2009, although it is important to mention that the 2010 data does not include the results of the 4º Quarter which normally registers operational losses.
_According to the forecasts of the hoteliers, the 4 star hotels in the Algarve will end 2010 with an occupancy rate of 55% and an ARR of 64€.
_For 2011, the hoteliers predict stabilization for both of these areas.
_Finally, with regard to the threats for their business, the hoteliers consider that the decrease in prices due to the increase of competition, as well as the accessibilities and the fragile economic context (European and National) will be the main constraints.


_In the period of Jan-Sept 2010 the occupancy rate was 2,39p.p higher than in the year of 2009 (44,99% vs 42,59%), however, it is important to state that the values of 2010 don’t include the 4th quarter.
_For the same period a decrease in the ARR of 6,31€ was felt (157,28€ vs 150,98€) due to the opening of new hotels as well as by the decrease in prices registered in five of the eleven operations surveyed.
_The RevPar registered an increase of 3,22€ when comparing the accumulated of 2009 vs 2010, however the last quarter of 2010 was not considered.
_The three main markets are: Portuguese (22,9% – 31,9%), English (28,5% – 37,2%) and German (9,2% – 17,1%). The German market is habitually associated with the hotels having the higher ARR, with prices starting at 200€/night.
The national market was responsible by cushioning the reduction in demand felt in 5-star hotels. Portuguese tourists represented one third of the total demand, showing its’ supremacy in this destination.
_Regarding the distribution channels, in the comparison of 2009 vs Jan-Sept 2010, the dependence on Tour Operators was lower. The growing tendency of Last Minute reservations explains the increase in direct demand (FIT/Walk-In) by 5p.p.. An increase in demand via Corporate/ MI Groups and Online Platforms was also felt in 2010, compared with 2009.
In terms of Revenue Mix the accommodation department is the main revenue centre of 5 star hotels, followed by the Food & Beverage department. The significant reduction in the representation of golf in the Revenue Mix during the summer of 2010, was justified by the increase in demand of Sun & Beach tourists.
_Concerning the operational costs a decrease of 3p.p. was noted in the human resource cost centre, when comparing 2009 vs Jan-Sept 2010. In 2010 this cost centre assumed a weighting of 41% of the total revenues generated.
_The marketing costs assume, on average, about 6% of the total revenues, representing an investment of 1.280€/month per room occupied.
_The energy costs represented 5% of total revenue, with an average cost of 25€ per room occupied.
_On average, the maintenance costs per occupied room in the 5-star hotels are approximately 28,5€. This high value can be defended due to the measures required to maintain the quality of the product and service.
_For half of those surveyed, the GOP represented in 2009 between 21% and 30% of revenue. Comparing the performance of 2009 with Jan-Sept 2010 it appears that for 40% of the hoteliers their GOP increased, while for other 40% it decreased. It is important to remember that the last quarter of 2010 is not included, which is when losses are normally registered.
_The 5-star hoteliers expect to conclude the 2010 year with an occupancy rate of 53% and an ARR of 170€.
_In 2011 the hoteliers predict maintenance of the ARR and a slight decrease in the occupancy rates.
_Finally, with regard to the threats for their business, the hoteliers consider that accessibilities and the fragile European and National economic context will be their main concerns for 2011.


20 01 2010

Consumers living in Portugal or planning to visit the country this year are looking to spend more on luxury travel, hotels and fine dining, according to the results of a recent survey*.

The Luxury Lifestyle Survey, conducted last month by Vila Joya, Portugal’s only 2* Michelin restaurant & hotel, in partnership with ILM Advisory and Yellow Kite Luxury Lifestyle Marketing & PR, showed that 86% of respondents are willing to pay the same or more for luxury items in 2010 than they did in 2009, with a particular emphasis on travel and hotels.

This corresponds with 66% who said they spent the same or more on luxury items in 2009 compared with previous years – positive signs for economic growth and an increase in consumer spending in 2010 in the luxury sector.

Moreover, it was shown that consumers in 2010 are willing to spend up to 15% of their income on luxury items – defined as travel, hotels, fine dining, clothes and cars.

Leading brand recognition – without prompting – provided names such as Mercedes heading the luxury car sector, Armani the clothing sector, Moët & Chandon the food and beverage sector, and Ritz the international hotel sector.

A key element of the survey looked at what influenced people to spend more in the luxury sector, and why in fact they would pay more for it. Service came out clearly at the top, with nearly 50% of all respondents citing this as the defining factor in the decision to spend more on a luxury product versus a normal product. Quality was the next key factor, understandable for a product costing more than average.

Key motivators for choosing luxury hotels ranked relaxation as number one followed very closely (with less than one percentage point) by wine & gastronomy – a point proven by the fact that 51% of respondents had enjoyed a fine dining experience within the previous month, 25% regularly enjoy one each month, and 42% at least every three months. 60% usually spend less than €250 per meal but one respondent did admit to spending €3500 on his last meal!

Home luxuries were the products on which 38% of the respondents cut their expenditure in 2009, and the one on which they are planning to cut more during 2010. On the other hand, travel experiences are the luxury products on which people are willing to pay more during 2010, something mentioned by 41% of the respondents.

The specially-invited group of luxury lifestyle buyers had the following demographic – 48% of the respondents earn more than €125,000 per annum, 89% have completed college/university, 32,86% were aged between 30 & 39 and 40% between 40 and 55.

The full results of the survey, which also assesses the factors that determine customer choices in the luxury sector, are available from ILM.

*The Luxury Hotel Survey was conducted between 16-29 December 2009 among 210 participants. Over 67% of all nationalities currently live in Portugal, with the remainder being regular visitors and/or second homeowners. All results have been independently verified by ILM Advisory.
Vila Joya Luxury Hotel Survey