As Spain’s most important travel trade fair, FITUR, opened yesterday in Madrid, UK-based wholesaler JacTravel has released booking data that shows Spanish hotel rates have dropped across cities and across star ratings by an average of around 10% from 2012 to 2013.
Inbound tourism to Spain in 2013 was the best year ever, exceeding pre-recession levels. Spain was visited by over 60 million international tourists during the year, an all-time record year for Spanish tourism, while in December, Madrid welcomed the world’s one billionth international tourist. Last year Spain welcomed 1.27 million visitors from Ireland, an 6.8% increase on 2012, and the Spanish Tourism Office is aiming for 1.3 million this year.
Wholesale Hotel Rates in Major Cities in Spain
|City||Star Rating||2013 Avg Rate (€)||2012 Avg Rate (€)||% Decrease|
Rita Buffa, JacTravel’s Contract Manager in Madrid, said: “If you walk down Gran Via, the main street in Madrid, you can find rates for hotel rooms that are more attractive than I have seen in many years. The reason for the decline in hotel rates is the difficult economic situation. Fewer Spaniards are travelling domestically, so there is less demand for accommodation and hotels have had to reduce rates to secure business in a very competitive market.”
Madrid has been worst affected of all the major cities, suffering declines in wholesale rates of nearly 30% for a 5-star hotel room. Some long-established hotels have responded by closing. Factors that have further handicapped the city’s tourism performance include high airport taxes and a lack of international promotion.
By comparison, Barcelona has been more resilient owing to its strength as a conference and cruise destination, with many notable tourist attractions, excellent flight connections and relatively low airport taxes.
Mabel Ariu, JacTravel’s Senior Contract Manager for Barcelona, said: “Barcelona has also drawn strength from its long term strategy of investing in tourism, constantly innovating its offer for tourists and promoting itself abroad. It is now a mature international destination with something for everyone – art, beach, sightseeing, shopping, nightlife, hotels for all budgets and even skiing in the Pyrenees.”
Taking the view that Spain was becoming a buyer’s market, JacTravel increased its contracting team in Spain last year and set out to negotiate exclusive deals with selected hotels for distribution to the travel trade. As a result, JacTravel has increased market share, growing its number of bookings in Madrid and Barcelona collectively by 23% in 2013 and by 77% at the start of 2014, compared to the same period last year.
Mario Bodini, JacTravel’s President and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “The tough times have certainly made the Spanish hotel market more competitive and where hotels are aggressive with promotional offers they are filling their rooms. The good news for the travel industry is that many Spanish hotels are now exceptional value, so this is an excellent moment to recommend going to Spain.”