Summer performance in Finland's regional hotel markets reaches close to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels
Finland. While the global hotel sector has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with Finland’s hotel mar-ket being no exception, the country has demonstrated some real positive trends this summer. In July 2020, RevPAR for the Finnish hotel market, except the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, had practically reached pre COVID-19 pandemic levels, which was 97% in 2019, according to the latest report by specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co.
The report indicates in April 2020, RevPAR for the whole Finnish hotel market was just 15%-20% of the previous year results. However, encouragingly in July for the entire country, except for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (HMA), the metric had practically reached the previous year’s level (97% of 2019’s level), with a slight slip in August at 82% of the last year’s level.
In July, the RevPAR level in HMA was just around half (46%) of that in the previous year, further declining to 36% in Au-gust. The poor performance in HMA is due to its higher reliance on international travellers and corporate demand, compared to provincial markets. It is also worthwhile mentioning that while HMA is a significant hotel market, it repre-sents just 20% of the country’s room stock, somewhat mitigating the overall impact from its weak performance.
Kimmo Virtanen, Director for Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic States at Christie & Co explains, “The superior perfor-mance in Finland’s regional hotel market was achieved because of the historic strong domestic demand in the sum-mer, further supplemented by the limited travel options abroad, which encouraged holidays closer to home.”
The report highlights an array of markets outside the HMA benefited during summer, as a result of the pandemic. The RevPAR levels in various leisure destinations in every major region (Coastal and Archipelago, Lakeland and Lapland) exceeded the previous year’s performance. For example, Kuusamo, well-known as a winter destination, recorded a RevPAR in July and August of 26% and 9% higher respectively compared to the previous year. Similarly, the maritime city of Kotka demonstrated on average a 25% RevPAR uplift in the July-Aug period.
While these are just a few examples representing the positive performance of the regions, there are many more mar-kets recording double-digit RevPAR growth in July and August over the previous year. Even some of the larger markets, such as Tampere, Oulu, Rovaniemi and Lappeenranta, recorded RevPAR levels in July which are on a par with the previ-ous year, with just slightly reduced room stock (-10%-20%). However, with leisure demand fading away in August the performance of these broader markets has deteriorated to 70%-90% of the previous year’s level.
Reinis Ludins, Consultant for Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic States at Christie & Co summarizes, “The summer has undoubtedly brought some positivity to the Finnish hotel market, with most of the market demonstrating encouraging performance. However, as the latest data indicates, with the holiday season coming to an end, performance in August had started to decline already. While the decline has not been steep, it remains to be seen what kind of performance the autumn, with its high reliance on business demand, will bring for the Finnish hotel market.”