CEO's comments in summary
As expected, demand for hotels improved during the second quarter as restrictions from authorities were eased in all markets. After a very weak start to the year, Scandic's occupancy rate rose to around 20 percent in April, 25 percent in May and 36 percent in June. The increase has been across the board, with similar development in all of the Nordic countries and improved occupancy at almost all destinations both on weekdays and weekends.
As the holiday period is getting off to a start, we've continued to see improvement during the first two weeks of July. Based on current bookings, we expect occupancy in July to be around 55 percent compared with 42 percent during the same month last year. The most significant improvement this month compared with July last year is evident in the big cities thanks to more entertainment options on offer including now-open amusement parks and easing of restrictions on gatherings and dining in restaurants. Until now, demand has to a very large extent come from domestic travel.
That said, I'd like to emphasize that we see significant potential for continued improvement in the important metropolitan regions going forward as more events are held in the cities and business travel recovers. In June, market occupancy in the Nordic capitals was considerably higher than in the same month last year, but it was still only about one-third of what it was before the pandemic.
We are convinced that the growth in leisure travel that we saw before the pandemic will continue now that the market is stabilizing, both during the holiday period and other parts of the year. Scandic is well positioned for this and we have a sharp focus on further strengthening our position in this segment. Ahead of the summer, Scandic launched attractive offers for families and was the first Nordic hotel chain to launch "multi-booking" online which makes it possible for travelers to book up to five different hotel stays in one booking.
There is great pent-up demand for meetings among our corporate customers, and we've seen an increase in booking requests for the fall. During the year, Scandic introduced a number of initiatives to offer new, more flexible solutions for meetings. Corporate customers, however, are continuing to operate with short lead-times, which makes it difficult to assess the pace at which business will pick up after the summer.
At the end of the quarter, Scandic's available liquidity totaled more than 2,100 MSEK and with an occupancy rate of more than 50 percent, we expect to generate positive cash flow. After just over a year with a sharp focus on costs, Scandic today is a more cost-efficient company than before the pandemic, giving us a good opportunity to achieve higher profitability than earlier when the hotel market improves.
President & CEO
This information is information that Scandic Hotels Group AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out below, at 07.30 CET on July 16, 2021.
For more information, please contact:
Henrik Vikström, Director Investor Relations, Scandic Hotels Group
Phone: +46 709 52 80 06
Report presentation July 16, 2021 at 09.00 CET
A presentation of the report will take place at 09.00 CET today, July 16. Scandic's President & CEO Jens Mathiesen will present the report together with CFO Jan Johansson in a webcast and telephone conference.
Details for participation by telephone: Sweden: +46 851 999 383, UK: +44 3333 0092 66.
Please call in 5 minutes before the start. The presentation will be held in English.
You can view the webcast at www.scandichotelsgroup.com. The interim report and presentation
slides will also be available on the website.
Please join us to listen and ask questions.