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Hotels are coming back to life, but face a long recovery process

Grzegorz Kaleta

Ten post dostępny jest także w języku: polski

After the recent end of the lockdown, during the first long weekend in June we could see a real tourist boom, helped by the nice weather. Almost all of the 50% places available were sold out in advance. Hoteliers are looking forward to June 26, when the government will allow 75% occupancy, excluding vaccinated persons and children under 12. However, all weekends are already looking satisfactory. Moreover, we are finally seeing a greater influx of business customers from abroad. After 1.5 years of video conferencing, such clients are slowly returning to traditional meetings in conference rooms or less formal ones in food gardens, such as at Euro 2020 matches.

However, it is worth noting that the hotel boom that Poland was experiencing before Covid-19 and the growing number of new hotels has come to a drastic halt. Many of the planned hotel developments in the Big 5 cities were postponed or quickly redesigned into so-called residential. These were prime plots in the centre of cities (e.g. Wrocław, Kraków, Katowice), which in a different reality would have been doomed to hotel success. Nonetheless, with the current booming residential market, where units are sold practically on the spot for cash and one square metre of flats breaks new price records every month, it is hard not to agree with such a decision. However, it should be remembered that hotel room saturation rates in Poland are still far from those in Western Europe. Unless we witness another wave of the pandemic, it can be assumed that the hotel market will rebound and investors will return to new projects.

Looking from the perspective of the pandemic, Poland definitely lacks business and tourist hotels, the so-called mixed use, with family rooms. Let’s remember that in 2020 Krakow’s facilities, mostly oriented to foreign tourist traffic and partly business, did not have the best results. Tri-City hotels did much better, benefiting both from traffic generated by massive domestic demand and visits by, for example, permanent contractors from the shipbuilding or maritime industries. I think that, as in many areas of the economy, in the case of hotels, the key is a broad spectrum of activities and diversification of the guest profile. This means adapting the hotel for tourism, family and business. The hotel should have a swimming pool with attractions, large family rooms, conference rooms and an attractive location, so it is able to minimise perturbations that the industry may encounter in the future.

Author: Grzegorz Kaleta, head of hotel property management at CBRE

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