Meliá exceeds 2019 reservations on the coast, but warns about the lack of workers and low prices in Turkey

Antonio Ramirez CerezoFOLLOW, CONTINUEMadrid Updated: 05/20/2022 17:58h
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The only hotel company listed on the Ibex 35, Meliá, is already facing a summer that promises to be a balm after two very hard years of the pandemic. After "the best Easter in history", the Balearic firm has already exceeded book reservations in coastal hotels for this summer. A fact that they attribute, among other factors, to the ability that Spain is having to become a 'refuge destination' for European tourism as a result of the war in Ukraine, in addition to being a safe country against Covid-19, according to the CEO. of the company, Gabriel Escarrer, during the presentation of the company's perspectives.

There will be a good summer season, but it will be difficult to operate.

Among other reasons, due to the lack of workers suffered by tourism, after the transfer of employees to other sectors during the last two years due to the stoppage of activity due to Covid-19, in addition to the high rental prices in coastal destinations. . "We are providing our employees with housing or rooms within our hotels," says Escarrer.

What the company does not worry about, beyond inflation, is the war. Escarrer assures that the repercussion in the reserves of the Russian invasion in Ukraine has been "marginal". A consequence that other competing destinations such as Turkey have suffered, facing the loss of ten million tourists between Russians and Ukrainians. This has forced Turkish hoteliers to attract other European source markets with very low prices, "almost reckless offers," according to Escarrer. Something that can be allowed, "because of the flexibility of costs" that they have, explained the CEO of Meliá.

In any case, Meliá expects to have a good end to 2022. In the first quarter it managed to cut its losses by half despite Ómicron (-54.9 million), after entering 271.4 million euros, and the outlook for the second semester are encouraging, despite the fact that the urban segment will still not recover (-13% below 2019). Although they do not rule out an upward revision.

Inflation

Now, Meliá recognizes that it is focusing on recovering business profitability. Inflation is putting the entire sector in trouble and companies are adjusting margins so as not to lose customers. Something that happens especially with hotels that depend on intermediation. In this sense, Escarrer stressed that this is not the case with the Balearic company, which is why he hopes to offset the price increase with the increase in room rates.

Despite the good evolution they are having, the CEO of Meliá wanted to remind the Government of the need for aid to the sector through European funds and public-private collaboration. And he again denounced that tourism, the sector that contributes the most value to GDP in Spain, still does not have a PERTE, at a difficult time for the sector due to energy and raw material costs.

Finally, the largest Spanish hotel company by number of hotels and billing, also celebrated some trends such as the recovery of early bookings and prepaid rates, the stability of the duration of reservations or the return of the tour operation. In addition, the good performance of the chain's luxury hotel segment: they lead the recovery, demand and growth in rates (+41% for this third quarter compared to 2019).

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