STR: Canada hotel performance improves in August

Canada’s hotel industry reported its highest monthly performance levels since the pandemic, according to STR’s August 2021 data.  

Even with improvement from previous months, the country’s performance levels remained well below pre-pandemic comparisons from August 2019:

  • Occupancy: 65.4 percent (-17 percent)
  • Average daily rate: CAD160.36 (-13.4 percent)
  • Revenue per available room: CAD104.92 (-28.1 percent)

The occupancy and RevPAR levels were the highest in Canada since October 2019, while the ADR level was the country’s highest since September 2019.

“The summer months were a welcomed relief to Canada’s hotel sector, as performance shifted drastically from levels seen in the spring,” said Laura Baxter, director of hospitality analytics for Canada at CoStar Group, the parent company of STR.

“The reopening of the U.S. land border and relaxing of quarantine requirements for inbound air passengers in August has dramatically increased the number of border crossings. Because of this, hoteliers are seeing a gradual pickup in reservations from American travelers, but the majority share of demand continues to be generated by the domestic market.”

“While these performance milestones are certainly something to celebrate, it is important to note that the accelerated pace of recovery is expected to be short-lived. The outlook for the fall is more muted, with demand from the corporate sector still severely impacted by the pandemic. Canadian hoteliers typically rely on business and group travel from September through November.”

Top Markets

Among the provinces and territories, Prince Edward Island recorded the highest August occupancy level (78.9 percent), 16.3 percent below the pre-pandemic comparable.

Among the major markets, Vancouver saw the highest occupancy at 72.3 percent, a 20 percent decline from 2019.

The lowest occupancy among provinces was reported in Saskatchewan (58.3 percent), down 3.4 percent against 2019. At the market level, the lowest occupancy was reported in Montreal (51.7 percent), which decreased 39.3 percent from 2019.

“STR’s updated forecast for the country shows that the gap between RevPAR performance in 2019 and 2021 is expected to widen in Q4,” Baxter said. “The increase in COVID-19 cases presents a downside risk to the forecast especially in provinces that are currently dealing with an aggressive fourth wave. Increased concern around the pandemic has added uncertainty, and many companies in Canada have pushed back return-to-office dates, ultimately affecting the return of corporate travel. The recent guidance from the CDC to reconsider nonessential travel plans to Canada will likely make matters worse, with many American corporate travel managers closely following those guidelines.”