HotStats: U.S. Hotel Performance Continued Free Fall in April, Signs of Rebound Emerge in China

coronavirus economic impact

LONDON — The drop in global hotel revenue and profit performance continued its free fall in April 2020, marked by dramatic year-over-year (YOY) decreases across the operating spectrum, according to data from HotStats. The growing chasm in YOY comparison suggests that month-to-month performance measurement may be more reliable in tracking a rebound during the COVID-19 era, signs of which are slowly emerging out of China, suggesting that other global pockets are a month out from an eventual upswing.

In April, much of the world’s regions and cities remained in shutdown mode, which negatively impacted performance numbers. Gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) expectedly saw triple-digit YOY percentage drops across regions: U.S. (down 122.8 percent), Europe (down 131.9 percent), Asia-Pacific (down 124.1 percent), and the Middle East (down 115.3 percent).

The numbers were a trend that started in China in February after the late-January Wuhan shutdown and spread across the globe.

Advertisement
U.S. Hotel Performance — April 2020

Although states are beginning to reopen, April 2020 was a lockdown month. Low occupancy combined with an almost 50 percent YOY drop in average room rate led to a 95.2 percent YOY decrease in RevPAR. The steep drop in rooms revenue, combined with basically zero F&B gain, resulted in total revenue (TRevPAR) dropping 95 percent YOY.

April was an especially brutal month for New York, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. deaths from the disease spiked in April, although new cases ebbed toward the back half of the month, a trajectory that continued through May. New York City hotels saw GOPPAR fall to -$50.60—a 145.7 percent drop over the same time last year.

According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), 70 percent of hotel rooms were empty across the United States as of May 20 in addition to the thousands of hotels closed completely. For the hotels that remain open, operators have significantly scaled down by closing guestroom floors and meeting spaces and suspending F&B operations. While many variable costs have been removed, some fixed costs remain that are not impacted by fluctuation in occupancy or sales. As a result of scaled-back operations, total overhead costs were down 66.6 percent YOY, while total labor costs came down 73.5 percent YOY. All undistributed expenses were down double-digit percentages YOY.

Cost savings, however, did not cushion profit. For the second consecutive month, GOPPAR turned negative to -$26.34—a 122.8 percent YOY decrease and 107 percent greater than March.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – United States 

KPI

April 2020 vs. April 2019

YTD 2020 vs. YTD 2019

RevPAR

-95.2% to $8.81

-42.8% to $97.43

TRevPAR

-95.0% to $14.40

-41.3% to $159.32

Payroll PAR

-73.5% to $25.54

-22.7% to $74.28

GOPPAR

-122.8% to $-26.34

-67.7% to $32.62

Europe

Like the U.S., Europe was deep in the red in April. New cases of COVID-19 are reportedly falling across Europe’s capitals as the European Union readies to reopen to tourists. (Europe’s tourism industry accounts for approximately 10 percent of all EU economic output). However, that’s expected to happen later this summer and had little bearing on April data, when countries remained on lockdown.

A sub-10 percent occupancy and 43 percent YOY drop in rate led to a 95.4 percent YOY decrease in RevPAR. TRevPAR was off 93.2 percent YOY amid a dearth of ancillary revenue combined with the absence of room sales.

Despite total overhead costs coming down 59 percent YOY for the month, coupled with a 70.2 percent decrease in labor costs, the appreciable amount of lost revenue led to a 131.9 percent YOY decrease in GOPPAR to -€17.80, a second consecutive month of negative GOPPAR and 113 percent increase over March.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – Europe (in EUR)

KPI

April 2020 vs. April 2019

YTD 2020 vs. YTD 2019

RevPAR

-95.4% to €5.31

-41.8% to €58.39

TRevPAR

-93.2% to €11.51

-39.3% to €92.65

Payroll PAR

-70.2% to €16.35

-22.4% to €41.67

GOPPAR

-131.9% to €17.80

-74.1% to €11.26

Asia-Pacific

While overall Asia-Pacific (APAC) numbers remained depressed in April, in China, some shoots of hope emerged.

APAC as a whole had a relatively strong occupancy story compared to other regions, reaching 20 percent for the month. Still, RevPAR was down 83.8 percent YOY, as average room rate was down 39 percent YOY.

TRevPAR also suffered, down 83.3 percent YOY amid heavy YOY losses in food and beverage, along with enervated ancillary revenue. A look to F&B revenue reveals an understandable downward slide, hitting $7.85 per available room in April, down 86 percent from January.

Asia-Pacific’s expense story was similar to other global regions. Total overhead costs were down 51.3 percent YOY, while labor costs came down 49.5 percent. Utility expenses were down 54 percent YOY, a result of large-scale energy not having to be consumed.

GOPPAR for the month was down 124.1 percent to -$13.92, a decline of $3 from March.

Though Asia-Pacific as a whole displayed numbers indicative of the time, China’s trended upward. For the second consecutive month, occupancy rose, up 10 percentage points over March (though still down 44.5 percentage points YOY).

Across the board, key performance indicators saw incremental improvement, including TRevPAR, which showed a 73 percent improvement from March to $30.29.

GOPPAR, meanwhile, is slowly inching its way back to positivity. After a January that saw GOPPAR at $20.70, it turned negative in the ensuing months, starting with -$28.31 in February. However, each subsequent month has improved, with April GOPPAR clocking in at -$2.57—down 106.2 percent YOY, but a 90 percent increase from February’s GOPPAR total and 75 percent better than March’s total.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – APAC (in USD)

KPI

April 2020 vs. April 2019

YTD 2020 vs. YTD 2019

RevPAR

-83.8% to $16.17

-57.1% to $41.31

TRevPAR

-83.3% to $27.35

-55.1% to $73.97

Payroll PAR

-49.5% to $23.99

-27.6% to $34.50

GOPPAR

-124.1% to -$13.92

-91.3% to $5.01

Middle East 

While Middle East occupancy hit close to 20 percent in April 2020, average rate was still down 32.8 percent, resulting in RevPAR decreasing 83 percent YOY. TRevPAR was down 85.4 percent YOY, while GOPPAR was down 115.3 percent YOY.

Ramadan (April 23-May 23) did little to improve hotel performance, as even partial easing during the holy month led to a spike in infections.

In Dubai, a recent survey by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce showed that 70 percent of businesses in the emirate expected to close within the next six months. Within the survey, some 74 percent of travel and tourism companies said they expected to close in the next month alone.

In April, Dubai saw its GOPPAR drop to -$31.29—a 122 percent decrease over the same time a year ago.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – Middle East (in USD)

KPI

April 2020 v. April 2019

YTD 2020 v. YTD 2019

RevPAR

-83.0% to $22.97

-39.7% to $77.44

TRevPAR

-85.4% to $34.28

-40.1% to $133.23

Payroll PAR

-52.3% to $28.57

-22.7% to $45.84

GOPPAR

-115.3% to -$14.62

-57.9% to $36.83

Outlook

Four months in the pandemic, COVID-19’s impact is now apparent. Improvement will be measured in baby steps, presenting a case for month-to-month comparison as the global hotel industry looks to build itself back up, one hotel opening at a time. While drive-to markets are expected to underpin leisure demand for the near-term, air travel recovery will be key to the global hotel industry’s recovery. The question of—”If you open it, will they come?”—hangs in the balance.

 


Subscribe to Lodging Daily News for updates.

SUBSCRIBE