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Abu Dhabi’s strict quarantine laws are helping hotel occupancy and reducing that weekday-weekend gap.

Global hotel performance in 2020 and for the early part of 2021 has varied as much as each region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Closure Conundrum

Temporary hotel closures are one of many COVID-19 necessities that were nonexistent in the hospitality industry prior to 2020. Historically, hotels are open, closed for renovation or permanently closed. However, in 2020, a combination of incredibly low demand and in some cases government mandate led hotels to temporarily shut their doors to guests.

In Europe, hotel closures started in late March, and by April only 40% of hotel rooms across the continent remained open. Hotels reopened over the summer as lockdowns ended, weather improved and some small portion of leisure demand returned.

Europe was not the only region where temporary hotel closures had an impact. China is back to targeted lockdowns, Japan declared and then expanded a state of emergency, and Bogota and Medellin both instituted new stay-at-home orders even as Colombia ruled out a second lockdown.

Check-in with China

Chinese New Year 2020 made the world sit up and pay attention to the novel coronavirus, and following an extremely strict lockdown, the country recovered hotel occupancy relatively quickly.

In fact, China has performed so well that using actual hotel occupancy as a recovery metric isn’t such a great idea. All those dips and dives from September through the end of the year reflect seasonality, beginning with exaggerated occupancy swings during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, and ending with the normal winter slowdown in November and December.

Unfortunately, a new COVID-19 spike in Hebei forced lockdowns in one of Beijing’s closest neighboring cities, and occupancy in both markets has consequently fallen over the first few weeks of the new year. This has happened before — with a dip in July 2020 — so potentially another strict lockdown will help hotel performance bounce back relatively quickly.

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