International Travel Confidence Grows As Hotel Bookings Exceed 2019 Levels
By Pedro Colaco, CEO at GuestCentric Systems
Following the US’s footsteps, pent-up consumer demand is increasing rapidly. Pardon the pun, but it’s contagious and affects hotel bookings worldwide. In fact, in May 2021 bookings exceeded 2019 values for the first time since April 2020.
We also see early signs that international travel may resume sooner than anticipated, and this edition reveals the largest increase in international bookings since April 2020, accounting for 62% of total bookings in May 2021. The industry’s expectation for International Travel’s contribution to recovery has also increased significantly in line with this trend.
Consequently, Hoteliers surveyed seem less concerned about Shaping Offers around the Local Market and shifting focus toward upskilling the workforce to meet the demand.
However, with widespread vaccination and digital passports expected to reopen travel on a global scale, Europe-based Hotels show significantly lower levels of confidence around the level of vaccination in their respective destinations. Significantly, and likely due to the second and third waves that impacted MICE season last winter, the vast majority of Hoteliers surveyed in May 2021 expect the ‘Level of Vaccination Per Destination’ and ‘Digital Passports’ to significantly impact the uptick of MICE over the coming 12 months.
The Next Steps for Hotels
As the world cautiously reopens for travel, consumers will continue to value information that efficiently guides their purchasing decisions. Hotels - and indeed all sectors of tourism - should focus on providing information to guide and inform their guests as the world steadily returns to normal.
Another key finding in our 15th edition of the Hotelier PULSE Report is that the Direct channel is recovering faster in line with the growing travel demand. Therefore, it is crucial to continue engaging in direct conversations with guests, as partners in their journey. Guests are demanding a direct conversation with hotels as they navigate through the myriad of new travel details and measures. Hotels can grasp this opportunity and invest in the skills, tools, and platforms that ensure interactive communication that should, ultimately, convert into bookings.
As the industry recovers, however, ever-changing restrictions also continue to disrupt both consumer confidence and hotel bookings. Several countries have rolling systems, like the UK’s three-week review of its Green, Amber, and Red destinations, which makes forecasts a challenge. More than ever, hoteliers need to share information and collaborate efforts to ensure an agile response to rapid market changes and effectively capture demand in the upturn.
We live in an era where anything can change at any time. Therefore, the tourism industry needs to be agile enough to react quickly and capitalize on the upturn. If you would like to know what the industry’s expectations will be for the summer of 2021, I encourage each of you to contribute and take our June Survey here.
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GuestCentric is a leading provider of cloud-based digital marketing software and services that help extraordinary hoteliers promote their brand, drive direct bookings and connect with customers on all digital platforms. GuestCentric's all-in-one platform provides hotels with the only unified solution for managing their guests' online journey: award-winning, high impact websites; an integrated, easy-to-use booking engine; social media marketing and publishing tools; a GDS chain code and a channel manager to offer rooms on Amadeus, Booking.com, Expedia, Galileo, Google, Sabre, TripAdvisor and hundreds of other channels. GuestCentric is a proud provider of solutions that maximize direct bookings to hotel groups and independent hotels from collections such as Design Hotels, Great Hotels of the World, Leading Hotels of the World, Relais & Chateaux, Small Luxury Hotels and Small Danish Hotels. GuestCentric is featured on Skift Travel Tech 250, a list of the top 250 travel tech companies shaping the modern-day travel experience.
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