A report from global hotel consultancy HVS shows hotels in Brussels have seen a rise in both occupancy and average rates during Q1 with RevPAR (rooms revenue per available room) experiencing a year-over-year growth of nearly 10 percent.
The report is good news for the city, where hotels went through a severe downturn during the 2009 economic crisis, and again suffered after terrorist attacks in March 2016.
According to HVS, tourism in 2018 saw a boost to the number of leisure travelers visiting the city, allowing occupancy to fully recover and even exceed 70 percent, with expectations this year will be equally positive, helped by recent marketing activity promoting the city as a “city-break” destination.
“Brussels’ recovery now looks complete,” said report co-author Lional Schauder, “So the city can now capitalize on the return of leisure and MICE visitors in addition to its fairly resilient corporate demand.”
Often called the “capital of Europe,” Brussels is primarily a business-driven destination, noted HVS, with three- and four-star properties representing more than 50 percent of the total hotel stock. Right now, there’s not a lot of hotel supply coming into the city, thereby benefiting existing hotels. HVS indicated the relatively small pipeline of new hotels, at 1.5 percent of current supply, will add 300 rooms. Several existing hotels are due to undergo significant refurbishments and rebrandings as well.
Key openings will be the Meininger Hotel Brussels Gare du Midi, with 170 rooms, due to open in Q3, and the reopening of the 127-room Hotel Astoria, which was vacant since 2006 before being acquired by Corinthia to be renovated into a luxury property. Other activity includes the rebranding of the NH Brussels Bloom hotel and the refurbishment/rebranding of the Hilton Brussels City into an IHG Hotel Indigo. Another IHG product, The Crowne Plaza Le Palace, also is undergoing a refurbishment that is slated for completion in 2022.
“The city has solid fundamentals and the improved performance of its hotels and the refurbishment and rebranding activity can only further advance its prospects in the eyes of investors,” said Schauder.