Canada is a popular tourist destination and the hotel industry is a crucial sector of the industry. Along with the rest of the industry, the hotel industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada as well as the rest of the world. For a year and a half, the industry suffered from travel restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

All travel restrictions were finally removed in Canada in October 2022 and since then the hotel industry in Canada has had the opportunity to recover. In this article, we look at how the pandemic affected the Canadian hotel industry and how the recovery is going among other interesting hotel industry statistics.

Hotel Industry Statistics for Canadians

  • Hotel industry revenue in Canada is projected to reach $9.4 billion by the end of 2023.
  • In August 2022, Canadian hotels saw a 76% occupancy rate, the highest for the year.
  • The most expensive hotel transaction in 2022 was the sale of the Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls for $112,500,000.
  • Demand for hotel rooms was 3% higher in May 2023 than in May 2019.
  • Corporate hotel stays reached the pre-pandemic level in May 2023.
  • Canada has four cities in the top five of the greenest stays in the world.
  • The Wyndham Group Hotels and Resorts is the largest hotel group in Canada.
  • 30% of hotel stays in Canada are booked on Expedia.
  • Over a quarter of hotel visitors in Canada are 25-34 years of age.

Canadian Hotel Industry

Before the pandemic, in 2019, the Canadian hotel industry revenue was $8.66 billion. As the pandemic restricted travel in 2020, the revenue decreased to just $2.82 and it did not recover until two years later. In 2022, the revenue was $9.07 billion, surpassing the revenue from before the pandemic.

It is predicted that revenue will reach $9.4 billion by the end of 2023 and $9.85 billion in 2027. This would give the hotel industry an annual growth rate of 1.17%. During the same period, the number of hotel users is expected to grow to 17.23 million per year.

Canadian Hotel Industry in 2022

The Canadian hotel industry saw significantly improved operating results in 2022. The Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) both surpassed pre-pandemic levels. However, the level of occupancy lagged slightly behind levels recorded before the pandemic. This was because both international and corporate travel remained in the early stages of recovery during 2022.

In 2022, hotels took advantage of their ability to adjust the average rate daily to respond to inflationary pressure and demand spikes. As a result, the hotel industry saw positive financial results from small local groups and leisure travel surging in many major Canadian hotel markets.

August Was the Best Month for the Hotel Industry in 2022

Even though the overall picture for 2022 was positive, the year started with lower rates than in 2019. For example, in January, the RevPAR was 43% below the rate recorded in January 2019. The average room occupancy was just 32% and ADR $132.

The first month when both ADR and RevPAR changes were positive was June. Compared to June 2019, both ADR and RevPAR were higher but occupancy level was still below the pre-pandemic figure.

August was the best month of the year with the occupancy rate across the country reaching 76% on average. ADR in August was $212 and RevPAR was up 11% compared to August 2019. The average RevPAR was $162, the highest all year together with July’s RevPAR. By December all three measures were above the levels recorded in December 2019.

Vancouver Had the Highest Occupancy Rate in 2022

In 2022, all major markets in the hotel industry saw growth in their occupancy, ADR, and RevPar levels compared to 2021. Vancouver had the highest rate of occupancy at 72.9%, which represented a 50.4% growth in a year. The ADR in Vancouver was $234.12, which was 44.4% higher than the year before. RevPAR grew by 117.1% to $170.61.

The second-highest occupancy level was in Toronto which saw occupancy improve by 62.7% to 67.9%. The ADR was $219.80 in Toronto, growing by 53.8%, while RevPAR was $149.14, having grown by 150.1% since the previous year.
Montreal saw the biggest growth in occupancy rate. Occupancy improved by 88.6% in a year to 62.1% at the end of 2022. The ADR in Montreal grew by 35.1% to $205.15 and RevPAR by 154.8% to $127.45.

Other major markets for the hotel industry in Canada are Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa, which all saw over 50% occupancy rates. The smallest ARD year-on-year growth was in Edmonton where it grew by 46.9%. It also resulted in the lowest occupancy rate in the major markets at 51.8%. Edmonton also had the lowest ADR at $128.10 with a 21% increase and the lowest RevPAR at $66.35 with a 77.6% increase.

Significant Hotel Transactions in 2022

During 2022, there were several notable hotel transactions in Canada, with the sale of The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls in Niagara Falls taking the top spot as the most expensive transaction. The hotel with 237 rooms was sold for $112,500,000, making the price per room $474,684.

Other notable transactions in the industry are listed below.

  • $75,678,000 for Royal Canadian Lodge Banff & Charltons Banff in Banff, with 164 rooms
  • $63,000,000 for Residence Inn Montreal Westmount in Montreal, with 219 rooms
  • $38,000,000 for Holiday Inn Oakville in Oakville, with 147 rooms
  • $28,700,000 for Four Points by Sheraton Kingston in Kingston, with 169 rooms
  • $20,475,000 for Coast Calgary Downtown Hotel & Suites in Calgary, with 120 rooms
  • $19,500,000 for The Water Tower Inn BN, in Sault Ste Marie, with 176 rooms
  • $18,800,000 for Quality Inn and Suites in Mississauga, with 127 rooms
  • $11,950,000 for Kitchener Inn and Suites in Kitchener, with 82 rooms.

In total, the value of hotel deals in the major hotel markets in Canada reached $580 million in 2022. The total was 30% lower compared to 2021 but was only 3% below the value of transactions before COVID-19 in 2019. 55 hotel transactions were completed in 2022, which was 41% fewer than in 2021.

The main reasons for fewer transactions were high interest rates and good levels of occupancy with hotel owners wanting to capitalise on the income growth during the industry’s recovery period from the pandemic.

Hotel Industry Performance in Canada in 2023

In May, only five months into the year, the Canadian hotel industry reported its highest performance since September 2022. In May 2023, the average hotel occupancy was 69.2%, which was 9.3% higher than the previous May. The ADR across the country was $197.10, up 15% from May 2022.

Demand for hotel rooms exceeded the pre-pandemic demand in May for the seventh consecutive month. Compared to May 2019, demand for rooms was up by 3% and ADR by 18%. Across the border, in the United States, demand was down 2% compared to 2019, while in the United Kingdom, it was only up by 1%.

Newfoundland and Labrador Had the Highest Occupancy Level

The highest occupancy level among provinces and territories in May 2023 was recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador where after a 46% year-on-year increase, occupancy was 79.9%. Vancouver had the highest occupancy level, 83% among the major markets. It was 8.5% higher than in May 2022.

The lowest occupancy level, at 59.1%, was recorded both in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. However, both saw improvements compared to the previous May, at 7.9% and 15.1%, respectively. Out of the major markets, Edmonton had the lowest occupancy level at 60.9% after a growth of 10.2%.

Corporate and Weekend Stays Have Increased

While corporate travel was slower to recover in 2022, it looks like it has now fully recovered from the pandemic restrictions. In May 2023, corporate hotel demand was at the same level as before the pandemic in 2019. Weekend stays also increased in Canada’s hotels in May, with 15% growth.

Canada Has the World’s Greenest Hotels

Canada is leading the race to offer travellers more sustainable stays with four cities included in the top five for sustainable hotels. The Canadian cities in the top five are Vancouver at number one, Toronto at third, Calgary at fourth, and Edmonton at fifth. The second spot is taken by Stockholm, which was the first European Green Capital in 2010.

In Vancouver, 44% of all hotels are recognised as sustainable by Booking.com. In Toronto, 37 out of the 150 hotels (25%) in the city are certified as sustainable. 23.5% of Calgary’s and 22.6% of Edmonton’s hotels were recognised for their efforts to offer sustainable stays.

Largest Hotel Groups in Canada

The largest hotel group in Canada is the Wyndham Group Hotels and Resorts with 492 locations. They have hotels and resorts in 11 provinces/territories and 237 cities. Alberta has the most Wyndham Group Hotels, with 27% of them in the province.

Following the Wyndham Group is Choice International Group Hotels with 359 locations and Marriott Group Hotels & Resorts with 279 locations. While the Choice Group does not have the most locations, it is in most provinces/territories with 12 out of 13 having at least one Choice Group destination. Choice Group’s hotels can be found in 211 cities and Marriotts in 97 cities. 39% of Choice Group Hotels and 41% of Marriott Group Hotels are in Ontario.

The top five of the largest hotel groups in Canada is completed by the Best Western Group of Hotels & Resorts with 224 hotels in 168 cities and the Hilton Group of Hotels & Resorts with 185 hotels in 89 cities. Both groups have destinations in 10 out of 12 provinces/ territories. Ontario once again has most of the destinations with 29% of all Best Western and 49% of Hilton hotels in the province.

Most Hotel Stays Are Booked on Expedia

Canadians are most likely to book their hotel stays online, with almost eight out of ten bookings made online in 2022. By 2027, almost 90% of bookings are expected to be online bookings. When booking online, Expedia was the most popular site with 30%, followed by Booking.com with 20%, and Hotels.com and “other”, including direct from hotels, both at 15%. TripAdvisor and Trivago both received 10% of online bookings.

Demographics of Hotel Guests in Canada

Canadian hotels see more male visitors than female visitors at 53.9% compared to 46.1%. Most visitors are high-income earners with 43.9% of visitors. Medium-income earners make up 32.1% and low-income earners 24% of hotel visitors.

The most likely age group to stay in hotels in Canada is the 25-34-year-olds, with 27% of visitors coming from this age group. It is followed by the 35-44-year-olds at 21.3% and 45-54-year-olds at 19.1%. Canadians aged 55-64 or older are the least likely to stay in hotels making up 16% of hotel guests. 16.6% of hotel guests in Canada are 18-24 years old.

Conclusion

While the hotel industry was one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic, it has recovered well since the restrictions on travel were lifted. Based on the post-pandemic figures, Canada’s hotel industry has bounced back after difficult years and will continue to grow at a rate of over 1% per year in the next five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

The biggest hotel chain is the Wyndham Group with almost 500 hotels and resorts.

It is estimated that the hotel industry revenue will be approximately $9.4 billion in 2023.

Canada has one of the most sustainable hotel industries in the world with four cities in the top five sustainable travel destinations.

Sources