“Supply is greater than demand for part of the year in Montpellier”: before the May holidays, the president of the hotel club has mixed feelings

“Supply is greater than demand for part of the year in Montpellier”: before the May holidays, the president of the hotel club has mixed feelings

Pour Camille Galtier, le bilan de cette première partie de 2024 est mitigé. Midi Libre – JEAN-MICHEL MART

On the eve of May 1st, Montpellier hotels are far from full. Camille Galtier, president of the Montpellier hotel club, knows the reasons: bad timing, associated with inflation and the city's lack of ambition in developing tourism. He welcomes us to the Hôtel des Arts, where almost all the keys to his rooms are on the wall.

What are your projections for May bridges?

They are rather bad: at my place, May 1st is only 50% booked. But it falls on a Wednesday this year, which may explain a drop in reservations. As for May 8, only 4 rooms out of the 21 I am offering are reserved. Certainly, tourists are booking more and more often at the last minute, making predictions unreliable. But we still see a drop in attendance.

How to explain this drop ?

It’first and foremost is inflation, but the international climate particularly tense and competition from hotels in neighboring countries y also participate. Also, we are reaching the end of the post-Covid upsurge: for two years, tourists wanted to take advantage. The year 2023 was exceptional, but today we are returning to normal.

And foreign customers ?

It does not represent a large volume, perhaps 20% of our reservations. I surveyed a few colleagues: the most represented remain the Spaniards. We also see some Swiss, Germans, Koreans and Americans. But the length of stay is getting shorter and shorter.

Do the downtown works have anything to do with it??

In part, yes. Tourists have difficulty accessing the center; they prefer hotels built on the outskirts. Naturally, we arrive at a point where supply exceeds demand for a good part of the year. We must not forget that the private car is still the most important travel tool in France: for many families, traveling by train is unaffordable.

What could be put in place to help you?

While Montpellier is growing quickly, the Metropolis has no real tourism department: for five or six years we have been calling for a development plan worthy of the name. We make a lot of effort in resource management, but we lack support.

The exception of five-star tourism

It seems that luxury hotels are less impacted by the drop in attendance during the Easter holidays: the Richer de Belleval hotel, located on Place de la Canourgue, is now experiencing a filling similar to last year. Its average prices are even up 20% compared to 2023 over this period.

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