Paris hotels suffer after terrorist attacks

17 Dec 2015

Paris hotels are facing a tough challenge trying to attract visitors back to the capital following the terrorist attacks in November.

The latest assessment from wholesale hotel room buyer JacTravel, which fills 250,000 bed nights a year in Paris, shows bookings are down for this normally busy time.  According to a recent study by ForwardKeys, which looks at flight data, bookings to Paris are 28% lower than at the same time last year. The leisure sector is the most affected. Business travellers are continuing to come.

Cecile Danielo, JacTravel’s Regional Head of Contracting, said: “Families are staying away and those who are visiting are staying for fewer nights. The picture is highly volatile with prices changing from day to day.”

Juan Morterero Gil, JacTravel’s VP Purchasing & Product added: “Christmas and New Year are very important periods for Paris hotels. On the plus side, we can see the situation appears to be improving from week to week.”

The industry had already been hit earlier this year following the Charlie Hebdo attack in January. Hotel business, after that outrage, started to recover in June. This time the impact has been much greater.

Hotels are reluctant to slash their rates but they are offering a number of promotions. These include room upgrades, reducing the minimum length of stay, offering 25-30% discounts for one or two-night stays and special offer vouchers for New Year’s Eve dinners.

Hotels with international clientele from China, the US and Japan are suffering as long-haul visitors stay away. Those catering for the domestic are doing better.

JacTravel believes the hotels will wait until after the holiday period in January before deciding on their future pricing strategies.

The Paris Tourist Board is trying to reassure people that the city is safe and Parisians are still going out, to bars, restaurants and concerts, perhaps reassured by increased security measures and determined not to be defeated by the attacks.

Cecile concluded: “There is so much support for Paris from around the world and Parisian hoteliers are taking that on board to remain optimistic. The city is less crowded than you would expect for this time of year. But there is still life in Paris.”

The impact on Brussels was also substantial as a result of the lock-down following the attacks in Paris. However, the impact has been short lived as it did not suffer from a direct attack and its hotels have been busy with politicians and business people recently.  As it is primarily a business and political destination, promotions are limited to Christmas and New Year.

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