A sluggish return to the hotel and catering industry

Concern is once again palpable among hoteliers and restaurateurs. “At noon today, I had 36 covers instead of the usual 70. And last Saturday, 28 instead of 100”, testifies Alain Fontaine, at the head of the restaurant Le Mesturet, in the center of Paris, and president of the French Association of master restaurateurs. “The reality is that we are open and closed at the same time”, he adds before recounting the sequence of bad news: “It all started around December 8, with the elimination of end-of-year company meals, sources of high margins for us. We had 400 cancellations. Then for December 31, of the 120 reservations, half didn’t show up – I still had about thirty passing customers. And now, between telework, the lack of tourists and people sick with Covid, we are idling. »

If the catering sector suffered particularly during the holidays, the hotel industry went through them with relative relief, given the difficulties experienced for almost two years. The clientele returned to high places of winter tourism deserted at Christmas 2020: Paris and Disneyland, the mountains or the Christmas markets in the east of France. The turnover of hotels from the barometer of the research firm MKG – mainly chain hotels – had even returned to a value very close to 2019 during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, especially driven by the province.

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It was during the first days of the new school year, marked by the imposition of telework with the threat of financial penalties, that a significant drop in activity was felt. In the provinces in particular, with a decline in turnover of 26.4% compared to the start of the 2019 school year, while the drop has fluctuated between 5 and 10% since mid-November, notes MKG.

” Russian mountains “

The relatively low level of reservations for the coming weeks testifies to the caution of companies with regard to business travel. In Paris, reservations for the coming month are less than half those observed in November-December. “We are on a roller coaster, commented Karim Soleilhavoup, director of the independent hotel network Logis Hotels. At the beginning of the year, we normally have seminars for presentations of balance sheets, objectives, relaunch of activity. We did not benefit from these important meetings for the rental of spaces, catering or even accommodation. »

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