After value sales more than halving in the first year of the pandemic, 2021 saw a muted recovery as the peak tourism season from June to August was again heavily impacted by travel restrictions and COVID-19 safety measures. The closure of the US-Canada land border to non-essential travel from the US was only loosened on 9 August 2021, and even then, Canadian government only permitted fully vaccinated, asymptomatic US citizens and permanent residents (who met certain criteria) to enter Canada without a mandatory quarantine period.
Strong domestic demand did not fully materialise following the national lockdown periods because most luxury hotels are in major cities, and Canadians were eager to escape urban areas, viewing these as more dangerous in terms of becoming infected with COVID-19. As such, “staycations” and domestic tourism promoted by luxury hotels provided somewhat of a boost as Canadians engaged in more local and interprovincial travel.
In 2021, the category witnessed multiple hotel openings as properties emerged from renovations and brand expansions. For example, Park Hyatt Toronto (by Hyatt Hotels) scheduled an autumn re-opening after completing renovations and Autograph Collection (by Marriott International) added three locations in 2021: The Pearle Hotel & Spa, Hamaniti Hotel Montreal, and Muir Hotel, with the latter scheduled for a November 2021 opening.
The recovery of luxury hotels is predicted to be slow as international tourism is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until the latter end of the forecast period. Travel safety measures, unequal rates of vaccination between countries, the continued presence of COVID-19 variants, and hesitancy among consumers to travel will all contribute to this expected slow recovery.
The pandemic has made people far more aware of health and hygiene thanks to an increased focus on social distancing and reminders to wash hands and use antibacterial hand gels. As such, hygiene and safety are expected to be key priorities amongst consumers, especially in the early forecast period whilst COVID-19 remains a health risk.
Out-of-town resorts were heavily favoured by domestic travellers in 2020 and 2021 as Canadians escaped the cities in response to COVID-19 health measures and lockdowns. The preference for resorts is anticipated to continue into the early forecast period as Canadians stay safe by avoiding heavily populated urban areas.
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Luxury: includes luxury and upper upscale hotels. Would generally include 5-star hotels and above, but may include some “4.5-Star” outlets, provided that the brands positioning warrants it. The luxury classification is primarily determined by the brand’s positioning and marketing, which will be at the high-end. Brand examples include Marriott, Hilton, Sofitel and InterContinental.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Luxury Hotels research and analysis database.
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