Preliminary data from STR shows that hotels in Barcelona, Spain, experienced substantial performance declines following the Oct. 1, 2017, Catalan Independence Referendum. According to STR, its data shows that revenue per available room (RevPAR) in the market dropped considerably during the first five days after the referendum.

Prior to October, the market’s hotel performance was strong despite the Aug. 18 terror attack and ongoing protests leading up to the referendum. Barcelona posted its highest ever RevPAR level for both the month of August and September, experiencing double-digit increases compared with 2016 data.

Occupancy levels dropped for six of the seven days after the Aug. 18 attack, but quickly recovered beginning on Aug. 26. STR analysts noted that August hotel performance was lifted substantially by the European Society of Cardiology (ESG) Congress held on Aug. 26-30, the world’s largest cardiovascular congress, which typically hosts around 30,000 attendees. The Sants-Montjuic submarket, which houses many hotels near the host exhibition center, posted a 17.6% increase in ADR during Aug. 1 to Oct. 16, and was the only submarket in Barcelona to record an increase in occupancy (+0.4%) for that date range, according to STR's findings.

“Hotels in the market have been experiencing cancellations from the group segment (bookings of 10 or more at once) since the beginning of October,” said Javier Serrano, STR’s market manager for Spain and Portugal. “Barcelona’s performance has slowed down since the political unrest commenced.

“This will likely have a directly negative impact on occupancy levels for the rest of the year, which will probably also affect ADR levels in the following months. As we enter 2018, the market will also face a high basis of comparison with this year, which has seen 15.1% RevPAR growth through September.”

STR’s data sample in the hotel industry comprises more than 58,000 hotels and 7.8 million hotel rooms.