Marriott has a more realistic view on demand recovery in Europe

Following a recent webinar event hosted by New York University, which saw the senior executives of Accor, Sebastien Bazin and Marriott, Arne Sorenson stating opposing outlooks regarding how demand recovery in Europe will play out;

Ralph Hollister, Analyst, Travel & Tourism at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the situation:

“Sorenson thinks both the US and China have the same kind of travel industry fundamentals to fuel a stronger recovery than Europe. Europe’s situation is more precarious, the region is made up of a vast number of countries that are still applying different rules regarding quarantines and restrictions on travel. An incoherent approach leads to further uncertainty for all tourism stakeholders in Europe, creating further economic damage to a range of tourism reliant destinations.

“Bazin does not expect Europe’s hotel recovery to lag too far behind the US and China’s, as Sorenson implies. Europe is not as dependent on domestic tourism as the US and China – 80% of Accor’s business is domestic in Europe, compared to domestic tourism in the US and China providing Marriott with 95% of its business. Accor’s core market is Europe and it is most successful in this region. Bazin may have a hidden agenda here, a prolonged recovery in Europe will have a more significant impact on Accor than it would Marriott.

“Sorenson’s argument here does seem to be more substantial. The un-uniformed approach in Europe will be likely to hinder the industry’s recovery. Markets with less reliance on international and long-haul tourism will do better. This is already being seen in the US, most of Marriott’s recent occupancy growth in the country was from drive-to markets, which is in line with expectations that domestic local travel will be the first type of tourism demand to return.

“However ‘train-to’ destinations may not work as Bazin states they could in Europe. He hinted that Europe’s extensive train network could help the industry recover at a quicker pace. But, the prospect of taking unnecessary public transport for many travelers may be off-putting, especially if precautions such as temperature checks and the enforcement of mask wearing is not being done at all stations on a long-haul journey.”

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