China, Japan hotel demand rebounding towards normal -Hilton executive

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Hilton hotel is seen in Batumi, Georgia, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Demand at Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc HLT.N hotels in China and Japan is rebounding toward normal levels despite the coronavirus pandemic because of the strength of their domestic markets, an executive said on Thursday.

“In China and Japan we are an 80% domestic player,” Hilton President Asia-Pacific Alan Watts said at the Skift Forum Asia.

“Demand in China and Japan is somewhat back to normal. Obviously the international business and inbound business particularly will be trailing those numbers.”

He said revenue per available room, a measure of rates and occupancy, had risen in China during the Golden Week holiday last week relative to the prior year and all of the company’s hotels in China and Japan had reopened.

Revenue at leisure-focused Chinese hotels could surpass 2019 levels next year, Watts said, adding a recovery in business-focused hotels in key cities was expected to take longer.

Throughout Asia, he said, the pattern of recovery in travel demand had been somewhat similar.

“It has been led first and foremost by the drive market and that has been followed by the domestic flight market and ultimately that will be followed by inbound,” Watts said.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Stephen Coates