Corporate travel key to hotel recovery while international borders remain closed

Hotel occupancy rates will not will see a return to 2019 levels of 95 per cent until 2023, according to a new report.

The Deloitte Access Economics Tourism and Hotel Market Outlook is forecasting that the corporate and domestic travel are the keys to the hotel sector’s recovery, with Brisbane and Perth leading the way.

A slower recovery is expected for the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Hobart, North Queensland and Western Sydney.

Adele Labine-Romain, national tourism leader at Deloitte, said the corporate travel segment will be “critical in terms of the recovery”.

“Markets where corporate travellers represent a relatively larger share of demand will face significant challenges, particularly as so many businesses big and small have settled into people connecting via technology,” she said.

More than 5,000 new hotel rooms have entered the market in 2020 with a further 32,000 new rooms in the pipeline, 40 per cent of which are likely to open in 2022, according to the report.

“With plenty of new stock, and even more in the pipeline, hoteliers will face considerable headwinds, with average occupancy rates across the major markets covered in the report forecast to remain considerably lower than in recent years, but recovering to 95 per cent of 2019 occupancy levels in the final year of the forecast horizon,” Labine-Romain said.

“This is influenced by the new room pipeline, but also in the anticipated slow recovery of business travel and the stepped return of international visitors.”