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Brussels hotels forced to get creative in the face of Covid slump

Illustration picture shows the 'hotel Chambord' hotel in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO CAMILLE DELANNOIS)
10:41 26/11/2020

Nine months after the first lockdown, the Brussels hotel sector continues to suffer from the coronavirus crisis. With sales down more than 90% on last year’s figures, and another huge loss from missing holiday revenue on the horizon, operators are resorting to creative solutions to fill the vacant rooms.

“We have little hope that the corona situation as it is will not continue in the future,” says Rodolphe Van Weyenbergh, of the Brussels Hotels Association (BHA). “Even after the current restrictions end, it will be a while before tourists return to hotels again.

"That is why we are already discussing with the various authorities what additional support measures will have to be taken. Because a hotel is only profitable with occupancy rates of at least 60 percent. That is still a distant dream at the moment."

In the meantime, some hotels are creatively trying to deal with the dire shortage of guests. For example, Hotel Qbic in Ixelles has made the decision to rent out vacant rooms as office space. For €10 a day you can rent an open desk there and for €25 you can hire a private room.

Other hotels are following suit. For example, if you are looking for a suitable location for a film or photo shoot, you can visit Hotel Le Berger in Ixelles, while the Jam Hotel in Saint-Gilles, according to its social media channels, is also planning to support the artistic sector during the current crisis.