Since the outbreak of the pandemic, hoteliers have had to rethink many aspects of their business to implement new security measures, adapt to changing travel needs and survive in an extremely challenging and rapidly changing environment.
In this context, a recent Amadeus study describes how the global hospitality industry has adapted to the situation and what trends hoteliers believe are likely to continue as the industry recovers.
The number of hotel bookings is growing
The data shows that hotel bookings are currently on an upward trend, as global hotel occupancy reached 46% in April 2021. This is a significant increase from the 13% low in the same month of 2020.
This means that hotel occupancy has increased by two-thirds worldwide, returning to pre-pandemic levels of around 70% for this time of year.
What’s more, the depth of bookings is increasing, indicating that consumers are more confident about planning ahead. A year ago, all orders around the world were made within zero to seven days prior to travel.
Over the past few weeks, the number of day travel bookings that are the least cost-effective for the industry have declined globally from 39% in the first week of 2021 to 23% in the last week of April 2021. On the contrary, the number of hotel bookings for an extended period (31-60 days) increased from 6% in the first week of the year to 11% in the last week of April this year.
The spirit of optimism
Overall, hoteliers are optimistic as 30% of them expect one or more tour destinations to open in 2021. 63% of them believe that the number of travelers will grow, with the largest contribution to the recovery of the sector will be made by domestic tourists (45%)
The data shows that the United States, China and the rest of Asia are seeing an increase in volumes from online travel agents, shifting the focus away from direct bookings during the pandemic.
What’s more, more than half (59%) of hoteliers worldwide believe they will have to hire new employees this year.
More than half of Asian hoteliers are considering requiring a vaccination certificate for residency, while just under half of hoteliers in the Americas say they definitely won’t. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, almost half of hotel owners are unsure of their strategy in this area.
What trends will continue?
While hotel bookings are currently on the rise, one has to wonder what aspects of the ‘pandemic tourism industry’ will continue in the long term?
More than a third of hoteliers believe that the increased hygiene measures will remain in place for an extended period. In addition, 30% said contactless technology to support personalized guest interactions is one of the expected accomplishments after the pandemic ends.
Business ideas such as creating “jobs” and investing in expanding work areas to extend guest stays have helped hoteliers try new strategies to enter new market segments. Many hoteliers say the offers will remain part of the portfolio over the long term.
Overall, it should be noted that one of the key findings, if not the most important, from the study is that technology will play a central role in the recovery of the tourism industry. This will be a big challenge for many stakeholders in the industry and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the sector.