Survey | Hotel Operators: COVID Impact and Recovery
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When the pandemic hit, the world as we knew it essentially shut down. Lockdown orders kept us in our homes, and for most of us, travel was confined largely to a walk to the corner store. A holiday excursion was not only inconceivable; it was impossible. With travel so severely curtailed, the hospitality industry was among those industries hardest hit.
GLG sought to gauge the pandemic’s impact on hotels and their recovery now that the public health mandates and lockdowns have largely been eased. Through a series of surveys of 300 hotel managers and owners in the U.S., Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and the U.K., conducted in five waves between April 2020 and August 2022, we worked to better understand how our respondents’ sentiment evolved as the pandemic waned.
Impact of COVID-19 on Hotels
In the early days of the pandemic, you couldn’t blame hoteliers for being pessimistic. May 2020 saw our respondents at their nadir. Half of those we surveyed shared that they expected to close the doors temporarily, and 11% saw their sites shuttering forever. This clearly eased over time. In our most recent survey, only 7% foresaw closures of any kind.
Similarly, when we asked our panel in August 2022 about hotels that were actively closed, they told us that none of their sites are currently closed, a significant change even over our respondents’ answers in our survey of February 2022.
Hotel Market Outlook Post-COVID
As far as returning to pre-pandemic levels, our respondents are still divided. In our August survey, slightly more than half believed that business had already returned to 2019 levels. Except for a few opinions scattered across the calendar, the rest (34%) didn’t feel they’d reach pre-COVID levels of business until at least 2023.
This is echoed in our respondents’ expectations for occupancy rates. After optimism dropped slightly in February 2022, hotel owners’ and managers’ expectations for occupancy rates for 2022 and 2023 recovered to be better than 13 months ago, but significant room for growth remains.
COVID-19 dealt the hospitality industry its hardest blow in recent history. While our research shows that most emerged from the pandemic somewhat intact, others did not fare as well and have closed permanently.
For those hotels remaining, this does not seem to be a harbinger of bad news, as most are optimistic about the future, though a brighter future remains a little further off for some.
Many of the hotel managers and owners we surveyed also said that they expect to see increases in staffing, perhaps driven by business travelers, who are expected to fill their rooms as traveler confidence grows.
About GLG Network Surveys
GLG’s Network Surveys administer research on market-moving topics and trends, surveying relevant subject matter experts. Each survey focuses on a specific industry, and respondents have in-depth expertise about the latest developments in that industry. To ensure that the survey’s focus is relevant to the panellists, our Network Surveys team partners with a GLG expert with deep industry knowledge to write the questionnaire. GLG currently runs approximately 12 Network Surveys every month.
The standard deliverables for our Network Surveys include:
- 1 x individual responses (“raw data”) in Excel.
- 1 x PPT report with aggregated data.
- For selected topics: executive summary with key takeaways and conclusion.
- For selected topics: in-depth PowerPoint report of survey findings presented by the Network Member via webcast (optional).
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