Hotel bookings around the world hit their highest level since the start of the pandemic
As uncertainty continues to dominate the headlines, there is a new constant that remains chronically underestimated. Travel booked. In fact, it has now been four consecutive months since hotel bookings around the world have remained above 60% of 2019 levels. As of this writing, they stand at 70% – their highest point. since the start of the pandemic. Let’s take a look at why.
Europeans are redefining “summer”
In Europe, pent-up demand has redefined the hottest summer months of the year to a state of freedom of movement. Sixteen of the 17 European countries listed in the World Hotel Index currently exceed the global average for hotel bookings, with only Malta falling just below. Meanwhile, hotels in Iceland, Portugal and Spain are receiving more hotel bookings today than two years ago.
The performance of Spain, which withstood a new wave of Covid cases at the end of July, is particularly noteworthy. This could very well represent the world’s first case study of how travel can successfully coexist with looming threats.
The MEA region is also rebounding. Namibia last month joined the handful of countries in the World Hotel Index to surpass its hotel reservation levels in 2019, after a sharp drop in local cases of Covid. The UAE, Morocco and South Africa are seeing an increase in booking activity for the same reason.
The fastest elevators are in Asia
In Asia, hotel reservation volumes remain low overall, but in some markets they are now growing relatively faster than anywhere else in the world.
After four months, Indonesia is again above 50% of its 2019 hotel reservation levels, as restrictions ease in Bali. Malaysia saw a sharp increase in bookings to 34% of 2019 levels, down from less than 10% at the start of the month. And Thailand, which is considering expanding travel options for vaccinated tourists from October, fell from 10% of 2019 levels in early August to 27%.
In the Pacific, Fiji also saw a modest but significant increase in bookings. The archipelago, which depends on tourism for around 40% of its GDP, is now aiming for a reopening date of November 1, which has led to a first gathering of reservations in recent days.
North America and Central America demonstrate stability
Despite the continued presence of the Delta strain, North America and Central America remain two of the most stable regions in SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index, demonstrating their resilience. In the United States, hotel reservation dynamics have been between 70% and 90% of 2019 levels since April, while in Canada, it has remained above 75% of 2019 levels since July. In Mexico, which currently leads the region, momentum has remained above 80% of 2019 levels since mid-March.
Travelers still live days, not months, to come
We know from our recent Editing the traveler report research that, globally, people are currently enthusiastic about traveling – meaning that we are likely to see reservations held for as long as individuals are able to do so. One need only look at regions like Asia to remember how quickly booking models can change, as travel restrictions ease.
However, as the World Hotel Index also shows, the way people organize their trips remains extremely last minute. Of all the bookings made in the past two weeks, around the world, about two-thirds are for stays in September or October, showing how limited planning is currently.
As global resilience and confidence increase, we will likely see these timeframes stretch in the coming months. We will stay close to that, as always.
To visit the World Hotel Index live or to directly access my analyzes, subscribe at www.siteminder.com/world-hotel-index.
In an age of increasing choice and accessibility for curious travelers, SiteMinder exists to unleash hoteliers with technology that makes all the difference. SiteMinder is the leading customer acquisition platform for the global hospitality industry, ranked as a technology pioneer for its smart and simple solutions that place hotels wherever their guests are, every step of their journey. It is this central role that has earned SiteMinder the trust of more than 35,000 hotels in 160 countries to generate more than 100 million bookings representing more than $ 35 billion in hotel revenue each year. For more information, visit www.siteminder.com.
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