‘Revenge travel’ could be here to stay – Irish hotel chief

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'Revenge travel' could be here to stay - Irish hotel chief © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A tourist boat is seen on the river Lagan in Belfast, Northern Ireland September 7, 2019. REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The post-pandemic trend of people prioritising travel could be a more permanent change in consumers’ spending habits, the head of Ireland’s largest hotel group Dalata said on Tuesday.

The company, which operates the Maldron and Clayton brands and also runs 19 hotels in the United Kingdom, reported a 24% year-on-year jump in first half adjusted core profit to 103 million euros ($111 million), and said it saw no sign of a slowdown in resurgent demand for rooms.

“Certainly 2, 3, 4 years before COVID people in their 20s would have been prioritizing travel and experiences over buying things. That trend had already started and seems now to have extended to the wider population,” CEO Dermot Crowley told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“There’s no doubt a lot of it is related to post-COVID but the longer it goes on, the more you think well it could actually be a change in people’s travel habits.”

Crowley said there also seemed to be a lasting change in corporate bookings where travellers take fewer trips but stay longer and with Ireland’s large multinationals spending far less on business travel than they did pre-COVID.

Dalata said its like-for-like revenue per available room (RevPAR) – a key measure of a hotel’s top-line performance – was expected to be 5% higher year-on-year in the key months of July and August, following a 23% increase in the first half.

The Dublin-based group said it had 750 million euros available to spend on adding more hotels. Crowley said London was its top target, having opened two hotels there since June.

($1 = 0.9248 euros)

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