Colombia’s accelerated vaccination rollout and lessened restrictions on eligibility pushed the country’s vaccination rate to 32.1% as of 22 September, according to Our World in Data. Is that growing vaccination rate helping improve hotel performance in this key South American country? The answer would seem to be, yes, but to a lesser extent for some areas of the country.

As noted in one of our first articles regarding the early stages of Colombia’s recovery, the country’s hotel performance has been closely tied to the pandemic timeline. Most recently in August, Colombia’s hotel occupancy reached 48.8%, which was 76.9% of the 2019 comparable and the market’s highest level since February 2020.

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Colombia’s average daily rate (ADR) is even further ahead of the pace, reaching 90.8% of the market’s 2019 comparable in August. The country’s ADR of COP243,144.60 was up from June 2021 (COP233,141.25) but below July 2021 (COP242,247.69).

Leisure destinations further ahead

While countries continue to ease international restrictions, domestic demand is still the primary driver on Colombia’s road to pre-pandemic levels.

Because of the heavy domestic component, leisure destinations in the country have already reached or even surpassed 2019 levels in some periods. Santa Marta, a popular beach market for example, saw August occupancy (68.6%) that was 112.8% of the market’s 2019 level. Santa Marta’s 2021 vs. 2019 index was even higher in July (140.6%) and June (123.3%).

On the other side of the performance spectrum, Bogotá’s hotels continue to struggle due to heavier reliance on business and international demand. The capital’s 35.4% August occupancy was just 59.0% of 2019 levels.

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In terms of ADR, all key markets in Colombia reached more than 80% of 2019 levels in August, led by Santa Marta (COP280,815.85/124.8%) and Llanos Regional (COP157,700.04/104.8%).

More on Bogotá

Bogotá’s performance shows the significant lack of business and international demand in the country as well as tourists favoring quieter destinations over the big cities.

Among STR-defined Bogotá submarkets, Bogotá North’s August occupancy of 40.4% was 69.8% of the submarket’s 2019 comparable. Bogotá CBD was the lowest in the 2021 vs. 2019 comparison, with a level of 25.6% that was just 45.0% of the 2019 comparable.

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While domestic-leisure destinations continue to lead recovery, larger corporate cities have a much longer road before reaching pre-pandemic levels. However, as vaccination rollout continues in the country and around the globe, confidence to travel will continue to grow. Eventually, international restrictions will ease and provide a necessary boost for those destinations with heavier reliance on international demand.