The cheapest reservation for next weekend (Friday and Saturday night) at the recently opened ME Barcelona amounts to almost 1,000 euros. At this point, only the Penthouse remains at the Majestic, at 2,798 euros per night, and the same thing happens at The Barcelona Edition, at 3,000 euros. At the Claris the weekend can range between 800 and 1,000 euros and at the Arts, from 1,000 and up to 17,550 euros per night. And even with these prices, occupancy for this summer in Barcelona's luxury hotels is around 85%. The premium segment of the city has not only consolidated the recovery but is already moving, both in reservations and in sales, above the figures for 2019.
"Summer didn't used to be our best season, but this year it's working very well," agree the directors of the five hotels mentioned. And far from fearing inflation and the announced economic crisis, they also coincide in predicting a record autumn.
The recovery started with the Mobile World Congress and has climbed almost vertically. The increase in national clients and the great recovery –although it is not yet complete– of North American tourists have played a leading role. European visitors (French, British, Italian and, to a lesser extent, German) and also an already significant presence of Mexicans, now make up the profile of this tourist segment, still without customers from China (they are expected to return by mid-2019). next year) and much of Asia.
Business has weathered the pandemic hit. Barcelona continues to be a magnet and remains at the top of the most attractive cities in the world, but the sector is alert: “If we want quality tourism, we must offer a quality city and promote this image, we have a wasted coastline, a bit messy , with few spaces for this type of tourist, we lack a Beach Club, for example”, says Julie Van de Kerckhove, director of The Barcelona Edition. The others agree, in a meeting organized by the Hoteliers Guild to value the importance of this tourist segment but also to warn about its threats. "It hurts a lot to have to ask a client to leave the watch in the safe, there have always been robberies, but now they are taking place with unusual violence and this greatly damages the image of the city", laments Andreas Oberoi, director of the Hotel Arts. Another handicap: “the dirt and the feeling of neglect and disorder in many streets”, adds Remei Gómez, the director of Claris.
Those responsible for these five-star, high-luxury establishments demand more attention for this tourist segment. “For us it is not a question of volume, but of quality, they are customers who spend an average of 600 euros a day, in restaurants, on purchases, on products...”, insists René Hoeltschl, from ME Barcelona. According to the survey carried out by Turisme de Barcelona last year, the average daily expenditure of each premium tourist was 600 euros, although given the price of the luxury rooms, the figure falls short in this range. According to this report, 65% of these visitors make purchases and their daily spending triples the average of all tourists.
“They are customers who are interested in gastronomy, architecture, culture... who are looking for exclusive experiences, shops with personality... It is also a handicap that they are not open on Sundays, as is the case in Madrid, London, Paris and in the big cities”, they agree. "We have to offer exclusive products, things that can be done in Barcelona and its surroundings and not anywhere else," they say. The trend has been around for a long time, more and more hotels offer visits to small wineries, where customers buy wine that they receive directly at home. “Or we take them to see an orchard in the Maresme, they are passionate about gastronomy and they like to know the product...”, adds Pascal Billard, from the Majestic. In The Barcelona Edition they organize exhibitions "to value the works of artists from the city".
The sector demands more attention from Barcelona for this public: "Madrid has seen how important it was, the added value it provides and has taken a giant leap, with the opening of hotels like the Four Seasons, which we could have... the big brands attract big brands and set a higher price”, maintains Manel Casals, general director of the Gremi d'Hotels de Barcelona. "It's not that Barcelona has lost, it's that Madrid has come a long way in a short time", they agree again. In this and in that "the price marks the positioning of the destination".