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The immediate and expected impact of Covid-19 on hotel activity – The Hotel Activity Index (HAI)

The Center for Advanced Studies in Tourism has decided to monitor the booking activity of a sample of 331 hotels in Milan and 281 in Venice on a well-known OTA. The sample includes three, four and five-star hotels.
Hotel room

Northern Italy has been one of the epicentres of the Covid-19 outbreak and, since the 9th of March, 2020, the country has been in lockdown. According to the first government decree to deal with the emergency, hotels were allowed to stay open, to host medical personnel dislocated for the emergency and other business travellers working in essential sectors. Nevertheless, the gret majority of hotels decided to close down. However, even in these weeks, most hotels have continued managing bookings for future dates and, in a period of great uncertainty as never seen before, advance booking management can provide relevant information on the expectations of the hotel sector in the short and medium run.

From July 14, 2020 reports will be published every two weeks.

The HAI – Hotel Activity Index

As recalled above, due to the Covid-19 health emergency, in the current weeks many hotels are not active.[1] The HAI index simply measures, at a certain date, the share of hotels posting availability of rooms for future check-in dates, over the total city sample. Different advance bookings are considered: 1 day, 14, days, 28 days, 56 days, 140 days. This index is calculated each Tuesday (starting retroactively from 2020, February 11th), and is published every Wednesday, starting from 2020, April 15 on this page.

The HAI is calculated on a 3-term exponential moving average and the details of the advance bookings (AB) and the acronyms of the derived curves are shown in the following table:

Curve acronym

Advance booking considered











How to read HAI curves

The curve AB=1_day measures the instantaneous impact of Covid-19; the more the curve falls the fewer hotels offer rooms in the short term. The indication is: "hotels looking for customers for one night between today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow are the X% of the total sample". The curves for different advance bookings provide information on future expectations and how they change: for example, if the curve AB=140_days is much higher than the curve AB=56 days it means that the great majority of hotels is confident that activity will resume after two months and before five months.

The comparison of HAI week after week allows us to have a dynamic view of how expectations change in light of the evolution of the pandemic and of the rules regulating the lockdown. The CAST team working on the index is also working on the structure of prices posted by hotels in Milan and Venice at different advance bookings. Stay tuned on the CAST website to be updated on the future developments of the index.

[1] Hotels that offer rooms at "abnormal" prices (above € 1000 or below € 19 per person per night) are considered "inactive".

Report 11/08/2020
Milan 11082020 The end of summer marks the beginning of an encouraging autumn season in business sector, more subdued in the leisure one but at a constant pace
Report 28/07/2020
Milan 28072020 Stability trends in the business sector, improving in the leisure one but far away from the “sold-out”.
Report 14/07/2020
Milan 14072020 The decisions taken by hotel managers appear stable in both sectors.
Report 07/07/2020
Milan 07072020 New positive signals for the Autumn in the business sector, recovery is not for everybody for leisure
Report 30/06/2020
Milan 30062020 Towards stability for the summer season in the business sector, still uncertainty in part of the leisure one
Report 23/06/2020
Milan 23/06/2020 Curves are still rising in both sectors
Report 16/06/2020
Milan 16/06/2020 The reopening to international travel conveys extra confidence in both sectors.
Report 09/06/2020
Milan 09062020 The trend is generally positive. Net of seasonality effects for business market and the lifting of travel restrictions in the Schengen area for leisure.
Report 02/06/2020
Milan 02062020 The reopening of regional borders boosts confidence in both segments
Report 26/05/2020
Milan 26052020 First clues of recovery but only in the short term. More for the business sector rather than the leisure one.
Report 19/05/2020
Milan 19052020 The partial reopening of the country started on 18/05 does not fully encourage firms. Only glimpses of confidence for the business sector.
Report 12/05/2020
Milan 12052020 During the second week of “Phase 2” contrasting signals on Milan, clearly negative on Venice
Report 06/05/2020
Milan 05052020 The severe limitations to mobility that characterise Phase 2 discourages a full recovery.

From July 14, 2020 reports will be published every two weeks also on the CAST Facebook page


Andrea Guizzardi

Associate Professor

Dipartimento di Scienze Statistiche "Paolo Fortunati" - STAT

Via Belle Arti 41

Bologna (BO)

tel: +39 051 20 9 8221

tel: +39 0541 434 314

Paolo Figini

Associate Professor

Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche

Piazza Scaravilli 2

Bologna (BO)

tel: +39 051 20 9 2699

tel: +39 0541 434 149

fax: +39 051 20 9 8143

Laura Vici

Associate Professor

Dipartimento di Scienze Statistiche "Paolo Fortunati" - STAT

Via Belle Arti 41

Bologna (BO)

tel: +39 0541 434 312