To close. Do not close. Close … The hotels in Gipuzkoa are defoliating a new daisy almost every week without knowing what will determine that last petal with which they remain in the hand. It is not that they are casting lots, but that The uncertainty in the short term is such that making decisions within fifteen days in these times is audacious and it also borders on wasting time.
The Gipuzkoan hotel sector has been accounting for practically all of 2020. First, to mentalize the losses that those 15 days of unexpected closure were going to entail, which ended up being four months. And now, before the onslaught of a new tsunami, to see which decision is the most pertinent to survive: continue with the establishment open, close until the situation improves, or an intermediate format, in which the blind is drawn on off days during the week and attempts to regain the rhythm from Friday to Sunday.
Elena Estomba, president of Hotels in Gipuzkoa and director of the London hotel and Villa Favorita, predicts that at the end of the month many hoteliers will make decisions along these lines. «In summer we saw that people wanted to move. But in September we hit an impressive slap and the forecasts for the end of the year are complicated. Now I see much more feasible than a month ago the temporary closure of hotels, without a clear reopening date, “he acknowledges.
In the last five years in Donostia, 46 establishments between guesthouses and hotels have been inaugurated
“Now I see more feasible than a month ago the temporary closure of hotels without a clear opening date”
Elena Estomba | Favorite Villa and London Hotel
«There are few events and they do not attract public from outside. The question we ask ourselves is how much longer are we going to be able to hold out?
Fran González | Hotel Codina
While until a few months ago the objective was not to stop, in the Gipuzkoan capital decisions that go in the opposite direction are beginning to be heard, although official closing communications, according to it, there are few. The Villa Soro hotel, which has been closed since summer and the San Sebastián hotel, which has recently closed, is joined by Villa Favorita, which opened in mid-July and has opted to open exclusively at the weekend. “As there are many services that are transversal to the London hotel, we can maintain this formula. A closed, unused hotel ages a lot and very quickly, and starting it up from scratch costs a lot, “he acknowledges.
In the specific case of Donostia, the situation generated by the health crisis is also added to the particularity of being a city that, according to Eustat data, has opened 46 establishments, including pensions and hotels, in the last five years. So they must deal with a considerable increase in supply and almost non-existent demand.
The current occupancy for November and December is 4 and 3%, in the case of Villa Favorita, and somewhat more advantageous in the case of London, which has 13 and 10% of its seats occupied for the next two months. “January I don’t even think about it and the Christmas campaign will depend on how everything evolves,” he laments.
The occupancy rates for next month in the case of the Astoria 7 hotel, one of the largest accommodations in the city, which exceeds one hundred rooms, “7%, and 2% in December.” And despite the fact that both reservations and cancellations occur “more at the last minute than ever”, everything indicates that good times are not coming. The manager of this accommodation, Fernando Soto has already assumed that “the losses are going to be enormous” and every week it is reconsidered whether the hotel is more compensated to remain open or not. «Right now we lose more being closed, although the occupation is almost nil, but every week I monitor the data to establish if at some point I have to change the scene, “he confesses.
Estomba and Soto agree that one of their objectives is try to damage the templates as little as possible, but given the uncertainty and the ever-changing panorama, they do not allow medium-term plans to be made, and for that reason, the Astoria 7 director considers that labor, fiscal and financial measures by the administrations “are more necessary than ever” In this sector.
“Every week I monitor the data in case at some point we have to change the scene and close”
ernando Soto | Hotel Astoria 7
“The opportunity arose to accommodate people who do not have space to isolate themselves at home, and since there are no tourists, we accept”
Carlos Odriozola | Hotel Sanctuary of Arantzazu
Fran González, director of the Codina hotel, has also taken October to reconsider, and once the month is over, we will “make a decision.”
The spike in contagion and perimeter closures “only create more uncertainty”, and if the few events, whether sports or cultural, hardly attract public from outside and many are streamed to hotels is of little use to us ». “The question we all ask ourselves is how long are we going to be able to hold out?”
The pandemic has led to the reconversion of many companies and the Hotel Santuario de Arantzazu, which Carlos Odriozola runs in Oñati is one of them. The summer prospects were poor and “we had the opportunity to participate in an Osakidetza program to house people who do not have the option of doing preventive isolation at home, and we accepted.”
Currently, It has 8 people, but at the beginning of the month the occupation of its 45 rooms was 100%. You only receive covid positives that are asymptomatic or close contacts. “The moment they present symptoms, they are referred to a hospital,” he says.
The Basque Department of Health is at the expense and guests cannot leave the room. Odriozola explored this route with the intention of recovering tourist activity in October, “but seeing how things are, I think it will take a long time.”