Hotels in Greece and Spain seem to be recovering faster than the average in the Mediterranean region, with approximately 80 percent of hoteliers reporting booking levels above the previous year, according to the second quarterly report (April-June) of the 2021 Boutique Hotel Barometer released by The Boutique Vibe.
More than 60 percent of small and independent hoteliers in the Mediterranean say bookings are rising faster than at any time in the last 12 months.
Proving the previous slow-burn recovery is now gaining rapid momentum for the boutique hotel market, only 15 percent of owners said bookings were “worse” or “much worse” than this time last year – and compared to an 82 percent high in winter 2020.
The Boutique Vibe is a collection of small independent hotels focusing exclusively on the Mediterranean region. Its Barometer is an ongoing assessment of hoteliers’ sentiment across the Mediterranean countries of Greece, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Albania.
As more travelers look to embrace Mediterranean hospitality, 52 percent of respondents had at least a positive outlook for the future.
“Sentiment among members is of restrained optimism. They can see light at the end of the tunnel as pre-pandemic optimism returns, but challenges remain,” said Rim Jourdan, CEO and founder of The Boutique Vibe.
These underlying concerns revolve around remaining Covid-19 protocols, travel complexities, and softening of the global economy.
One in three hoteliers questioned are concerned about the global economy’s future. As the “new normal” is closer than ever, hoteliers are refocusing on issues such as the overall rise of costs (16 percent), distribution costs (6 percent), and the threat of new trends in accommodation (8 percent).
The Barometer also highlighted how hoteliers coped during the pandemic in different ways, with reduced operational periods, additional cost-cutting and staff layoffs.
While most of these remain, there has been a significant drop in staff redundancies (40 percent this quarter compared to 53 percent in Q1 2021), indicating hotels are back in the market for experienced personnel.
From crisis to opportunity
On the flipside, hoteliers continue to see the crisis as an opportunity to strengthen their brand, with 33 percent investing in property renovations, 26 percent upgrading websites, 20 percent increasing their marketing spends, and 12 percent investing in new back-office systems.
The positive booking trend and optimistic outlook also translate into further business confidence with 61 percent of owners considering investing in their properties.
While sustainability is at the forefront of most participating hoteliers, their main concerns center on reducing energy output (66 percent), promoting local identity (59 percent) and reducing waste and pollution (58 percent).