High season: Opportunities in the European hotel sector
- March 1, 2024: Vol. 18, Number 3

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High season: Opportunities in the European hotel sector

by Graeme McCormack and Hugo Steen

The COVID-19 crisis caused an unprecedented shock to the hospitality sector. Across the board, operators experienced the largest revenue drops on record. Many encountered a cashflow crisis.

Those that survived did so thanks to the contribution of multiple stakeholders. Governments deployed a series of measures to cushion the impact of lockdowns; lenders provided liquidity through covenant waivers and loan guarantee schemes; and landlords offered to defer rent payments amid fear of tenants’ insolvency and empty premises.

COVID cracks

Many hotel operators emerged from the crisis in relatively good health, ready to capitalise on a rebound in travel. Others, particularly those that went into the pandemic less equipped to absorb losses, such as independent owner-operators without deep pockets, emerged significantly weaker.

Independent owners represent a large majority of the European hotel sector, controlling 77 percent of hotels and 57 perc

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