SiteMinder: Global hotel bookings hit their highest level since pandemic began
According to SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index (WHI), it has now been four consecutive months that hotel bookings around the world have remained above 60% of 2019 levels. Currently, they stand at 70%, their highest point. high since the start of the pandemic.
North America and Central America demonstrate stability
Despite the continued presence of the Delta variant, North America and Central America remain two of the most stable regions in the WHI, demonstrating their resilience. In the United States, hotel booking dynamics have remained 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.
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 on the WHI currently exceed the global average for hotel bookings, with only Malta just below. Meanwhile, hotels in Iceland, Portugal and Spain are receiving more hotel bookings today than two years ago.
The performance of Spain, which weathered 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 Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is also rebounding. Namibia last month joined the handful of WHI countries to surpass its hotel reservation levels in 2019 after a sharp drop in local COVID cases. 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 about 40% of its GDP, is now aiming for a reopening date of November 1, which has resulted in a first gathering of bookings in recent days.
Travelers still live days, not months, to come
Globally, people are currently excited to travel, which means we’ll likely see reservations held for as long as individuals are able to.
However, as the WHI also shows, the way people organize their trips remains extremely last minute. Of all the bookings made in the past two weeks globally, about two-thirds are for stays in September or October, showing how limited planning is currently.