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Playa recovers some summer revenue from Jamaica resorts

Published:Friday | November 5, 2021 | 12:08 AM

P laya Hotels & Resorts earned revenue of US$29.5 million, or about $4.5 billion in local currency, during the summer from half-filled rooms at the Jewel, Hilton and Hyatt resorts that it operates in Jamaica.

The local revenue bettered 2020 levels but not 2019, which was the last financial year prior to the pandemic.

The wider group, however, returned to earning more revenue than prior to the pandemic, due to increased rooms in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, according to Playa financial results released on Wednesday.

The summer revenue from Jamaica was four to five times better than the US$6.5 million generated a year earlier, but underperformed the US$43 million booked in 2019.

Playa operates some 1,430 rooms in Jamaica, spread across five resorts, namely Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa, and Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa. In 2019, it operated 1,940 rooms but sold two Jewel-branded hotels last year to free up cash. From a core earning perspective, the Jamaican hotels generated EBITDA of US$5.6 million for the July-September 2021 quarter, compared to a loss of US$7.5 million in 2020 and EBITDA of US$8.8 million in 2019.

The tourism sector was severely affected by the onset of the pandemic, which led to lockdown and travel restrictions. Latest travel arrivals data to September shows that while ahead of last year, the market in 2021 still trails 2019 by a quarter.

Playa Hotels recorded 57 per cent room occupancy during the quarter, substantially better than the 16.6 per cent occupancy in the corresponding period in 2020, but lower than 78 per cent in 2019.

Year to date, January to September, the Jamaica operations generated revenue of US$65.4 million, compared to US$58.5 million in 2020 and US$153 million in 2019. Nine-month EBITDA totalled US$6.9 million, double the US$3.5 million achieved in 2020, but significantly underperforming the US$48 million of core earnings in 2019.

Playa Hotels owns some 7,350 rooms across all its markets. The number of rooms it operates rises to 8,350 when the properties it manages for others are added to the mix.

Across the group, room occupancy averaged 59 per cent during the September quarter. Playa generated US$145.5 million in revenue over the period, from US$27 million in 2020 and also higher than in 2019 at US$126 million. It added hundreds of rooms in Dominican Republic, while culling rooms in Jamaica, which resulted in improved revenue for the group overall.

The occupancy in Jamaica, at 57 per cent, beats occupancy levels in its sister hotels in the Dominican Republic at 55 per cent, but trailed its other resort regions in Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula at 65 per cent, and the Pacific Coast at 60.5 per cent.