The Barceló hotel chain gives up Easter and foresees a partial recovery in tourism in summer . “The issue will be whether we have half a summer or a quarter of a summer because we will not have a full summer,” said the CEO of the hotel group, Raúl González , in a virtual press conference to present the results of the company in 2020, a black year for tourism around the world.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on tourism has been reflected in an 80% drop in activity in Barceló in Spain , “one of the countries that is developing the worst in the world.”
The chain’s forecasts, with three different scenarios, are between a 50% and 60% drop in 2021 compared to 2019. “We have had a horrible 2020 and a 2021 that begins just as horrible, although I hope it ends much better “, González has recognized.
The leader rules out that Barceló will recover the income levels prior to 2019 until 2024 because “there will be a recovery in occupancy, but it will be necessary to recover average rates and prices and that has a temporary lag.” And when will the occupation recover ?
It depends, in his opinion, on many factors, because while the domestic and non-luxury market may “perhaps recover in 2022”, the hotels of large events in the cities “may not do so until 2024”.
With this scenario, the sector in Spain is “in survival mode ” with the help of ICOs and ertes but without direct aid, “as is the case in other countries.” An example for González is Germany which, to relieve companies from the strictest confinement in recent months, pays 75% of the income that companies had between September and November 2019.
In addition, according to the leader, they also plan to give now 75% of the costs that companies will have to alleviate the collapse. Another example is Japan, which has been the most active in bonds to boost consumption.
The objective of the chain is to take advantage of the crisis to come out more reinforced with “a stronger and more sustainable group”. “We are trying to grow in new geographies with limited risk models, invest in assets and reposition them well,” he explained.
In this sense, Barceló is carrying out several renovations (in hotels in Tangier, Funsal in Madeira, Agadir or Seville) to prepare them so that the return “catches them in perfect magazine condition” and also plans to promote new hotel investments , in addition to hotels that will open this year.
“We are a countercyclical group and now is the time to buy, although we have sold Formentor (Mallorca) unless we have a very good offer we will not sell anything else,” he explained.
The chain focuses on investments in independent assets or in other companies with the help of an investment partner and, although the door is not closed to mergers, it also considers that it is “more difficult” for that to happen. “Consolidation makes sense, we have to build stronger groups in the long term and we would like to be part of it,” he added.