The Impact of Coronavirus on Italian Events and Hospitality
The Coronavirus outbreak has greatly impacted the beloved boot-shaped nation in what seems like a flash before our eyes. Italy has and continues to encounter many devastating effects on both social and economic livelihoods. Among these, the impact on events and hospitality stands out, which The Data Appeal Company wanted to investigate further, with a dedicated data analysis.
Concerts, championships, competitions, events, trade shows, and international fairs all faced the reality of cancelations or postponements, in hopes that the current health crisis will have completely faded away by the summertime.
The Salone del Mobile in Milan, an annual and global home furnishing event, has had to push the event until June. The FIGC stopped the Serie A Championship until April 3rd and postponed all other competitions, including international ones. Federnuoto has suspended all national events and canceled the National Team from all foreign competitions. These are just a handful of events events that Italy has relinquished amid the Coronavirus emergency.
The Data Appeal Analysis
To better understand the real impact of COVID-19 at a national level, The Data Appeal Company conducted an in-depth analysis to better understand the extent of the current phenomenon by evaluating online sources with their proprietary Artificial Intelligence technology.
From the first survey, they uncovered that there are currently 758 events canceled in Italy due to the coronavirus. The most affected categories are those related to sports (72% of canceled events) and concerts (21%). Only 5% relate to fairs and the remaining 2% belong to conferences and festivals.
As the map below illustrates, the canceled events are mainly concentrated throughout the major Italian cities. However, canceled events are omnipresent in the Bel Paese, as the latest government provisions have effectively put the entire country on hold.
Exhibition events and concerts are mainly concentrated in northern Italy, while sporting events are evenly distributed throughout the nation. The highest concentration of canceled events is in north, as the Coronavirus “red zone” includes Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto.
It’s important to note that not all events have the same impact on destinations. However, those including concerts, trade fairs and sporting matches have a greater effect on the local economy, filling hotels and restaurants alike.
The peak of event cancellations occurred immediately or within just a few days after the virus began spreading as indicated in the graph above. The canceled events were mostly scheduled in March up until April 3rd, the proposed ‘end-date’ of the government-mandated quarantine. In the weeks between the beginning of April and the first of June, the amount of canceled events slows down. During this period, concerts and trade fairs have the most cancellations.
Currently, the amount of canceled events drops dramatically starting on April 8th, a sign that event organizers are proceeding with cautious optimism that the situation will be greatly diffused by Easter.
The Effects on Hospitality and Occupancy
Almost immediately after Covid-19 was reported in Italy, the demand for hotel rooms – especially by international guests – was impacted. After the first confirmed case on February 21st, the average number of rooms available online recorded an upward trend until February 24th. When guests canceled their reservation, it automatically resulted in those rooms showing available on both OTAs and hotel’s own websites alike.
The hotel occupancy crisis takes effect until the beginning of May. From the graph above, the availability of rooms takes on a negative trend on May 4th. This is not so much due to reservations growing, but rather because cancellations stabilizing.
The Covid-19 effect also impacts the average price of rooms online. Naturally, one of the first actions hoteliers carried out at the beginning of the crisis was to support demand by lowering rates. By monitoring the initial and final rates (the prices for the same offer before and during the crisis) in the months of March and April for the main Italian tourist cities, it’s confirmed that the difference in rates always results in a negative and double-digit figure. Rome and Milan both recorded a -17% price variation, while Venice, Turin and Florence recorded -21%, -25% and -28% respectively.
All eyes on Italy. How the story unfolds on social media….
At this time, over 3,800 English-language, online conversations have been posted by over 3,400 unique users from over 70 different countries about the Coronavirus crisis in Italy. The analysis contains all content that’s been shared on social media, mainly Twitter and Instagram, over the last few days regarding the contagion that has spread across the Italian nation. The analysis does not include content that solely contains hashtags or links.
Attention to Italy’s national reaction is very high. Above all, questions are raised as to whether similar cases of lockdown and quarantine are possible for other parts of the world.
Online conversations demonstrate a rather negative sentiment (71%), driven by fear and concern. In fact, subjects relating to panic, human health, the health system, hygiene, the spread of the virus, mortality and the economy are naturally the most discussed subjects.
The Data Appeal Company is continuing to monitor the situation and collect information on the impact that the current health crisis has on Italy.