Mixed results for Benelux in 2011: Horwath HTL

While ADR and average occupancy increased in the Netherlands, occupancy increased and ADR decreased in Belgium and both decreased in Luxembourg in 2011 according to research from Horwath HTL’s Hilversum, Netherlands, office.

The research shows that the average room occupancy in the Netherlands has increased from 65.1% in 2010 to 66.6% in 2011. For 2012, a further increase to 68.8% is budgeted. This would bring the occupancies back to the level of 2008, but still below the level of 2007.

Despite the financial crisis, the Dutch hotel market showed an increase in the average room rates for the first time since 2007. The average rates increased from €93 (US$123) to €99 (US$131), an increase of over 6%. The hotel managers indicate that they expect to further increase the average rate to €102 (US$135) in 2012. The rates will then still be more than 7% under the level of 2007.

However if the current recession continues, travellers may again cut back on hotel expenses, which may mean the budgeted price increases will not be realized.

The recovery in the Dutch hotel market is primarily visible in the Amsterdam area. Here the occupancies in 2011 increased from 75.1% to 77.0%, while the average room rates increased by 12%, from €109 (US$144) to €122 (US$161). Outside the Amsterdam region, occupancies increased as well, but the average room rates decreased from €80 (US$105) to €78 (US$103). For 2012, the hotel managers both inside and outside of Amsterdam expect an increase in both occupancy and average room rate.

In Belgium, the average occupancies increased from 68.3% in 2010 to 71.5% in 2011. The average room rates decreased slightly, from €90 (US$119) to €89 (US$117). For 2012, occupancies are expected to increase to 73.4%, the highest level since 2007. The average room rates are also expected to increase to €92 (US$121). This however is still well below the level of 2008, when the average room rate in Belgium was €96 (US$127).

The 3-star hotels in Belgium performed better than the four and five star hotels. In the three star segment, both occupancy and average room rates increased, resulting in a 10% increase in the revenue per available room. In the up-scale and luxury market, the occupancy increased but the average room rates decreased. As a result, the revenue per available room was stable. For 2012, hotels in both segments expect higher occupancies and average room rates.

The higher occupancies in the Benelux hotels were caused primarily by an increase in the number of leisure guests. The number of individual tourists increased by 10% to 13% in both The Netherlands and Belgium. The number of business guests increased by 5% in Belgium, but decreased by 3% in The Netherlands. In most of the Netherlands, the number of MICE guests decreased significantly, by up to 8%.

Overall, the number of hotel guests increased by 5% in Belgium and 2% in The Netherlands. The average room rates in The Netherlands increased by 2%, against a decrease by 1% in Belgium. In Luxembourg, both occupancies and average room rates decreased.