Tragically, the European continent has endured multiple terrorist attacks in recent years. In the past 12 months, we have seen a shift in the way terror affects hotel performance, and this article will delve into how several markets reacted following attacks. All figures are 12-month moving averages, indexed to the month prior to the terror attack unless otherwise stated.

Over the past three years, France has endured several attacks, most notably in Paris and Nice. The incidents at the Bataclan theatre and across Paris on that horrific night in November 2015 had an immediate impact on hotel performance.

This further exacerbated the declines that hotels were already experiencing following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015. As of November 2017, RevPAR in Paris remained a full 11% lower than it was in October 2015.

The Bastille Day attack in Nice, which claimed 86 innocent lives, caused RevPAR declines, although to a lesser extent than in Paris. Hotels in Nice took 14 months to recover from the attack, and they are now achieving a RevPAR higher than the month prior to the attack.

In March 2016, Brussels’ hotels were already suffering due to the atrocities in France, then terror struck at Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station. 11 months after these attacks, RevPAR had fallen 19% to €62.37 and, as of November 2017, RevPAR is still 7% lower than it was before the attacks.

In Istanbul, there were five separate terror attacks in 2016, along with the nightclub shooting on 1 January 2017.

The city was also the centre of an attempted coup d’état in July 2016 and, for the purpose of analysis, performance has been indexed from that point. Istanbul has suffered the steepest RevPAR declines in Europe due to terrorism. By February 2017, RevPAR was down 27% to TRY144.87. However, recovery has been rapid from this point, and RevPAR has since increased to TRY183.55.

Attacks in 2017

Since December 2016, when one of Berlin’s Christmas markets was attacked, London (on two occasions), Manchester and Barcelona have suffered terrorist atrocities. The impact on hotel performance has been markedly different from those previously seen in Paris, Brussels, Nice and Istanbul.

Only Manchester has seen a decline in RevPAR – by 1% – and this was driven solely by supply growth, up 4.8% to November 2017. Meanwhile, RevPAR has increased in Berlin (+3%), London (+1%) and Barcelona (+3%) since each of their attacks. This is particularly impressive in London, as supply has increased by 1.5% in the six months since the March attack. In Barcelona, however, the Catalan independence declaration has sparked significant declines, with RevPAR declining by 12.5% in October 2017.

While it can be argued that the sophistication, or lack thereof, of a terror attack can have a bearing on visitation to a city, there does appear to be a shift in traveller attitudes towards cities that have been affected by terror. Travellers appear to have become more stoic in the face of hostility and have accepted that, sadly, this is a danger that we face in our day-to-day lives, now and for the foreseeable future.