While COVID-19 vaccination programs continue to inoculate travelers around the world, lockdowns in many regions have yet to fully lift, leading to continued challenges for hotel operators. In Montreal, which remains in the “red zone”, or maximum alert level, of Quebec’s COVID-19 alert system, travel between regions and cities is not recommended. Additionally, many types of entertainment and gatherings remain closed or prohibited—although hotels can operate.
Despite the ability to open, 7% of the market’s more than 27,800 rooms remain temporarily closed, and open hotel occupancy for the week ending 1 May reached only 22.1% as restrictions on travel depressed hotel demand.
Current metrics leave much to be desired, and while future hotel performance does not look much better right now, Forward STAR can help hoteliers plan for a brighter future when demand returns in earnest. Currently, the Forward STAR metrics offer a glimpse into traveler sentiment.
Montreal’s occupancy on the books remains remarkably low over the next 90 days, falling from 20% on 26 April to 6% just two weeks later. This trend, consistent with other markets under strict lockdowns around the world, occurs when markets either de facto or actually limit travel to essential purposes only, as essential travel is often last-minute by nature.
Moving into summer, concerns around travel restrictions continue to deter leisure or business demand from rebuilding. With no announced end date to lockdown, and a 14-day quarantine upon arrival requirement for international arrivals in Canada, would-be guests delay on booking trips to Montreal, contributing to single-digit occupancy on the books.
Pickup, the second Forward STAR metric, representing the change in bookings from the previous week, also exhibits higher growth in the short run, a trend consistent with last-minute bookings. Low but positive pickup from late June through July suggests consumers remain wary and somewhat pessimistic about the length of Montreal’s lockdown and Canada’s travel restrictions.
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