By: Sarah Duignan, Director of Client Relationships, STR
It’s a good time to be an Irish hotel operator. STR forecasts that hotel occupancy and ADR (average daily rate) will be positive for Dublin and Ireland as a whole through the remainder of 2017 and continue throughout 2018 as a result of soaring inbound arrival numbers and strong economic growth.
This year to date as of September, Ireland recorded a 1.5% increase in occupancy to an actual level of 80.2% and a 7.3% increase in ADR to €128.61, resulting in an 8.9% growth in RevPAR (revenue per available room) to €103.14.
Looking at Dublin, occupancy growth has been marginal, up 0.3%, but the city maintains one of the highest actual occupancy levels among key European cities at 84.4%. Rate growth has been the main driver of performance, up 7.2% to €138.93. While Dublin’s rate growth has been a major story this year, the Irish capital is still far from being one of Europe’s most expensive hotel markets. To provide some context, London’s September year-to-date ADR is €169.78, Barcelona’s is €149.15, and Amsterdam’s is €144.82 – to name a few.
Regional Ireland (Ireland excluding Dublin) has been the main driver of the overall country’s occupancy performance this year, eclipsing Dublin’s moderate occupancy growth.
Recent reports from the Central Statistical Office show that overall visits for Ireland were up 3.1% between January and May 2017. Overall, trips from North America were up 23.6%, while trips from the U.K. (which accounted for 40.2% of the total arrivals during the period) were down 6.8%. STR and forecast partner Tourism Economics now predict that arrivals from the U.S. should grow by 4.5% per year on average through 2021, with increases in arrivals from other top source markets for Ireland, including Germany (+3.4% through 2021), France (+3.3% through 2021) and Spain (+2.7% through 2021).
The devaluation in pound sterling following last year’s Brexit vote has clearly caused a shift to domestic travel for many British residents. But it is encouraging to see that the void left by U.K. visitors to Ireland has been filled by other source markets like the U.S. This increase in demand has helped boost the market’s average daily rate, although it is still far from being one of Europe’s most expensive hotel markets.
New supply will likely result in a slowdown in occupancy levels. The market is set to add over 1,000 hotel rooms to its existing pipeline over the next two years, with new property developments and extensions to existing properties.
STR projects an ADR growth between 5.5% and 7.5% in Dublin for year-end 2017, which would put the market’s actual ADR between €132 and €140. Occupancy is expected to increase between 0.5% and 1.5%, coming in at an actual level between 82% and 84%. As a result, RevPAR growth should be somewhere between 3.0% and 5.2%.
About the author
Based in London, Sarah Duignan is STR’s director of client relationships. She joined the HotelBenchmark team at Deloitte in 2005 as a Business Development Executive, later becoming an Account Manager responsible for a number of key international clients. Sarah regularly attends and presents at hotel operator and industry events, spreading greater awareness of STR’s benchmarking services. She has seven years of experience in hotel operations in Ireland and holds an honours degree in translation (German & Spanish) from Dublin City University.
Sarah is a guest speaker at the 2018 Certificate in Hotel Leadership a collaboration between Conor Kenny & Associates and Shannon College of Hotel Management (NUIG). For more detail and to register your interest, click here