Tourism in 2021 started slowly, and little by little, with the arrival of summer and vaccination, we can see that tourists are gradually looking to travel – especially when we think about domestic tourism, being able to explore more of Portugal without having to face airports.
According to the Portuguese government, at the time of publishing this article, more than 70% of the adult population has had at least the first dose of the vaccine. What does this mean? With more security, tourists are more confident to travel and even international tourism begins to occupy our streets, accommodations, and restaurants.
We recently wrote for our blog about the recovery of tourism even in the summer. Learn more at the link.
To talk about tourism in 2021, we spoke with LovelyStay’s Revenue Manager, Artur Lepoutre, who gives an overview of the first half of the year and comments on expectations for the second half. See below:
LovelyStay: How was tourism in the first half of the year? Was it in line with expectations?
Arthur Lepoutre: Tourism was quite slow from January until mid-April, then we felt a clear recovery of the British, French, and German markets between mid-April and June. Our strategy focused on mid-stay bookings until April and then we were expecting a recovery from this month onwards, a recovery that was far better than our expectations.
LS: Which nationalities visited LovelyStay properties the most?
AL: In the first semester, our visitors were mainly of Portuguese origin (domestic market), then the UK, France, and Germany, followed by Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
LS: Has domestic tourism become an important reality for the industry?
AL: Yes, domestic tourism has become important, especially at our properties in the Algarve. Even so, domestic tourism is more demanding in terms of quality and price, a bit different from international tourism.
LS: In general, how do you evaluate the results of the first semester? Is it possible to share some numbers, such as the occupancy rate?
AL: We, LovelyStay, are very pleased with our first-half results. We have met our expectations by focusing on a medium-length booking strategy until April, and then we successfully came back thanks to adaptive pricing strategies based on our constant market studies.
With that, our occupancy rate between January and March was 54%. Then, between April and June, we averaged 73% (accounting for the nearly 450 properties across the country).
LS: Is it already possible to do an analysis of the LovelyStay vs. competitor market in terms of profitability?
AL: In the first semester, our properties were more profitable than the market* by +93%.
* Public data from Turismo de Portugal – TravelBI, comparing our internal RevPar per property compared to the market.
LS: And what are the prospects for the second half of this year?
AL: We started with a very challenging July because of the new COVID-19 restrictions, which resulted in waves of cumulative cancellations. We had to be very reactive to them and adapt our pricing strategies, working against the volatility of demand and air traffic. So far, we have been able to replace these cancellations and keep the properties at healthy profitability and occupancy levels.
The outlook from August through December is positive, and we expect to have a more normalized demand with fewer sudden restrictions, plus the green passport, which of course has a major impact on the tourism sector in 2021.
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Translated by Miguel Marinho Soares