June 8, 2020 / 7:22 AM / 23 days ago

Pandemic-hit Scandic Hotels sees bookings double amid easing lockdowns

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s Scandic Hotels (SHOTE.ST) said on Monday its bookings per week had doubled over the past month amid easing pandemic restrictions and forecast occupancy rates to edge higher in the coming months on the back of reviving domestic tourism.

The operator of about 280 hotels across northern Europe has been hard hit by a deep slump in travel due to the pandemic with bookings and occupancy levels hitting a record low in mid-April while more than half its hotels remained shut in early May.

But with easing restrictions and signs of a slowdown in the spread of the novel coronavirus, Scandic has seen tentative signs of a recovery.

“Booking activity has also gradually improved since the middle of April,” the company said in a statement. ago.

“For June 2020, Scandic continues to expect occupancy to increase a few percentage points compared with May and further improvement is expected once he holiday season starts as a result of domestic tourism.”

Scandic said it expected to have about 80% of its hotels open by the end of June and reiterated a forecast for the hotel market to gradually improve in the second half of the year, meaning its net sales would still be more than halved compared with 2019.

“Scandic is preparing further cost-savings measures,” it said, adding this included seeking to adjust rental agreements.

Reporting by Niklas Pollard; editing by Johannes Hellstrom

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