Press Release: Belgium hotel market recovers from terror attacks

Date: September 27, 2018

The hotel market in Belgium has recovered from the downturn following the terrorist attacks in Brussels in 2016. This is shown in the annual HOSTA report from hotel consultant Horwath HTL. The hotel occupancies, which dropped considerably in 2016, are back at the level from before the attacks. The average room rates are also showing an increase.

Recovery of occupancy
The average occupancy of the Belgian hotels increased from 66.1% in 2016 to 71.7% in 2017, the analysis from Horwath HTL shows. Before the terror attacks, in 2015, the occupancy was 72.8%. In 2018, the occupancy is expected to continue to rise, to 73.6%.

After the terror attacks in Brussels, on 22. March 2016, the demand for hotel rooms in decreased considerably. The average occupancies in Belgium, already slightly down in January and February, dropped by more than 15 percentage points in the months of April to October, according to figures from STR. In Brussels, occupancies decreased by more than 20 percentage points. Per annum, the occupancy in Brussels dropped from 72.7% in 2015 to 66.6% in 2016. In November and December however, a light increase was already noticeable. The recovery continued in the first months of 2017, and from March onward the occupancies increased by double figures. For the whole of 2017, the average occupancy in Brussels was 71.9%. In 2018, the occupancy is expected to increase to 73.1%.

Increased room rates and higher profits
The average room rates of the hotels in Belgium increased from € 91 in 2016 to € 96 in 2017. Despite the terror attacks, the average room rates had only decreased slightly in 2016: in 2015 the average room rate was € 92. For 2018, a further increase to € 97 is expected.

The RevPAR, or Revenue Per Available Room, increased from € 60 to € 69, due to both the increased occupancies and the increased average room rates. The total revenues per room increased by approximately 20%. As the costs increased at a lesser rate than the revenues, the average gross operating profit per hotel room increased by 28%.

Tourists have returned
The research from Horwath HTL shows that the share of tourist guests increased strongly in 2017, from 37% to 46%. Taking into account the higher occupancies in 2017, the total number of tourist guest nights per hotel room increased by 35%.

Due in part to the strong increase in the tourist segment, the market share of the other segments decreased. The market share of business guests decreased from 35% to 30%, while the market share of conference guests decreased from 13% to 12%. Tour groups also decreased, from 11% to 8%. Only the market share of aircrew and other guests remained stable at 4%.

HOSTA 2018
The HOSTA 2018 report is published by consulting firm Horwath HTL. The report contains the results of the hotel market in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. A total of 500 hotels in the Benelux participated in the research. The HOSTA 2018 report is now available from Horwath HTL.