Barceló Hotel Group had losses of 137 million euros in 2020, the worst results in its history. The paralysis of tourism due to the health crisis truncated the aspirations of the hotel group, which expected a record profit of 200 million euros at the beginning of 2020. Thus, in addition to losses, sales fell by 60%, to 946.2 million euros, while the gross operating profit (ebitda) was -49.6 million euros. «The first two months were of growth. Revenues rose 7% in January, 16% in February. Now we are in a critical moment and much worse than we anticipated it would be a few months ago ”, explained the CEO for EMEA of the company, Raúl González.
Despite the situation, the group of Balearic origin rules out for now carrying out an ERE, an option that other hotel chains have made, such as NH. For now, Barceló will continue to bet on force majeure ERTEs, which the Government has extended until May. According to Raúl González, the group has had to face expenses by resorting to cash and debt, which already exceeds 300 million euros. Even so, he believes that the company still has enough muscle to deal with this situation for a few more years.
The chain's forecasts indicate that the levels prior to the pandemic will not be recovered until 2024, although the occupation does expect it to increase it in 2022. "The sector is in survival mode, we have to endure the downpour," said Raúl González , who rules out that there will be Easter and believes that the beginning of summer will also be lost. "It will not be a full summer," he said.
In the reactivation of the sector, the British market will play a key role, which except in 2020 has always been the first emitter of foreign tourists. The decision of the United Kingdom to allow, at the earliest, to travel abroad as of May 17 has had a double reading for Barceló. On the one hand they regret that they have to wait three more months, but on the other hand they believe that having a specific date is good news.
Regarding the projects, Barceló has about 200 million euros to reform and reposition hotels. In the words of the CEO for EMEA, the objective of these reforms is so that "when there is recovery it will catch us with a good magazine condition. The renovations of the hotels in Tangier and Agadir in Morocco stand out, as well as the construction of a new hotel in the center of Funchal in Portugal.
On the side of new openings, it will open five new hotels in Spain (Alicante, Cádiz and Malaga), while outside our borders there will be eight, highlighting the two hotels that it will manage both in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, as well as a new hotel in Dubai. On divestments, although a few weeks ago he sold his Formentor hotel in the Balearic Islands, the intentions of the chain is not to sell anything else in the coming months.