How are small hotels reacting to COVID-19 in Europe and across the Mediterranean

The Boutique Vibe published a report where more than 125 hotel managers shared their business performance, concerns and outlook for the remainder of the year.

Online PR News – 16-November-2020 – Nicosia – Summer is usually peak season for the majority of hotels in Europe and across the Mediterranean, with the busiest months being July and August. However, it is evident that 2020 has not been a usual year. The hospitality sector is going through rough times and small independent hotels across the Mediterranean Sea are feeling the consequences of this crisis. However, along to the drop in demand, the biggest concern they are currently facing is how to operate during this tumultuous time.

Most of the hotels in the Mediterranean countries were authorized to reopen in June or July, after an imposed closure for several weeks (or months). About 5% of our panellists chose to remain closed, due to lack of visibility resulting in lower demand, as well as mass cancellations in the summer season. While load factors were acceptable in most cases, 80% of managers of small independent hotels declared that operations were worse than the summer season last year. With travel regulations rapidly changing from country to country, hotels have had to cope with a huge, conflicting influx of last-minute cancellations and booking requests. As well as the upheaval around implementing additional health and safety measures, the stress of operating under such exceptional and uncertain conditions took its toll on both staff and guests, making for an even more difficult atmosphere.

One would expect all hoteliers to implement cost reduction strategies to respond to the drop in demand. Indeed, 56% of the hotels reduced their labor costs and 45% implemented additional cost-cutting measures. While 34% were forced to reduce their operations period, others adopted the opposite approach and decided to upgrade their properties (26%), invest in technology (32%) and a few even increased their salaries to boost staff motivation and give their employees additional support following the months of closure. The crisis is triggering innovation among hoteliers, inciting them to adopt new strategies: 35% changed their target market to adapt to the travel restrictions, 15% upgraded their services or started offering a new panel of services, such as transforming the hotel into a co-living space and hosting small events on the property.

Interesting to notice, as closure that the crisis did not alter the sector’s commitment to sustainability. While analysts were anticipating a very negative impact on eco-friendly investments in the coming months, 71% hoteliers confirmed their commitment to more responsible hospitality.

About the report
The survey was answered in October 2020 by 125 small boutique hotels across 12 Mediterranean countries. Managers (and owners) of small independent hotels across the Mediterranean are prompted about their business performance, priorities and concerns. The Barometer allows an ongoing measurement of boutique hoteliers sentiment. Recent results are compared to the previous Hotel Sentiment Survey sessions (February 2020 and July 2020)

About the Boutique Vibe
The Boutique Vibe is the first collection of small independent hotels focusing exclusively on the Mediterranean region. Our mission is to promote Mediterranean hospitality in its most authentic form. We are partnering exclusively with small independent properties with unique character while focusing on the most environmentally friendly & sustainable hotels.