Overseas business travel misses out on Irish hotel recovery – Dalata

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DUBLIN, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Executives in Ireland’s major multinational hub are still making only a small fraction of the overseas business trips they made before the COVID-19 pandemic, said the director of the largest hotel operator in the country.

Dalata Hotel Group (DHG.I), which owns the Maldron and Clayton brands, said on Wednesday that a strong rebound in leisure travel following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions pushed revenues, the average room rate rooms and first-half earnings above 2019 levels.

Chief Executive Dermot Crowley said despite the decline in overseas business travel, business demand managed to return to levels last seen before the pandemic, domestic business travel and new business compensating for falls elsewhere.

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“The big unknown is that the multinationals, (which were) our big customers before COVID, are not traveling at the same level as before COVID,” Crowley told Reuters.

He said he would carefully monitor whether Apple’s (AAPL.O) call for workers to partially return to the office results in more travel. Read more

Ireland is the European base for tech companies like Google (GOOGL.O), which, along with pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer (PFE.N) and Abbott (ABT.N), are among the country’s biggest employers. , the sector accounting for around one in nine workers in Ireland.

Data from the Central Statistics Office showed on Tuesday that overseas arrivals to Ireland in July were 12% below pre-pandemic levels.

Dalata’s revenues in the first half of 2022 were up almost sixfold compared to the first half of 2021 hammered by the COVID-19 and were 9% higher than in 2019 at 220 million euros, helped by an increase of 15 % of the average room rate over the same period.

Core profit jumped 14% from 2019, with like-for-like group revenue per available room (RevPAR) – a key measure of hotel performance – up 5%. Strong trading continued into July and August as occupancy returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Crowley said leisure demand seemed strong for September, but the group had little visibility beyond that, with most bookings typically made within six weeks of travel.

Although Dalata has seen no impact on demand so far due to sharp increases in the cost of living, he said inflationary costs could impact consumers’ discretionary spending in the future.

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Reporting by Padraic Halpin. Editing by Jane Merriman

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