SiteMinder: Year-End Hotel Bookings Peak

A further easing of restrictions over the past month has helped restore confidence as travelers prepare for a holiday season away from home. Currently, SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index shows us that on average more than one in five hotel bookings worldwide are for the three weeks leading up to the end of the year, while on average nearly 10% of stays reserved are due for arrival in the week around New Year’s Eve.

Due to the holiday season rush, global hotel booking momentum remains stable, hovering around 80% of pre-pandemic volumes. Only six countries in the World Hotel Index are now below 50% of their number of bookings in 2019, compared to nine at this time in October and 23 countries six months ago in May. More than three in five countries are now above 70% of their pre-pandemic levels.

A series of relaxed restrictions and greater international movement are partly responsible. So far in November, international travelers have accounted for 51.32% of hotel bookings, averaging countries’ ratios on the Global Hotel Index, compared to 49.03% at this time in October and 44, 84% in August.

Chile’s hotel booking momentum tops the global hotel index for the first time, thanks to the removal of quarantine requirements and one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. The timing is perfect for the country as the peak summer period and Antarctic cruise season approaches, capping off a strong month for the region. Mexico and Costa Rica are ranked second and fourth on the Global Hotel Index, when ranking all countries based on their current booking volumes compared to their respective pre-pandemic levels, while the states US and Canada recently hit 20-month highs.

In the United States, hotel booking momentum is now over 90% of 2019 levels, thanks to the easing of restrictions on a long list of countries and the reopening of borders with Canada and Mexico. The country had been closed to non-essential international travel since March 2020.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Thailand’s reopening to quarantine-free travel earlier this month prompted hotel bookings to pick up, with travelers targeting December and the New Year. And, hotel bookings in Australia are again above the global average, after slipping below in mid-July.

Europe still has the most countries exceeding their pre-pandemic booking volumes, thanks to hotels in Iceland, Portugal, Spain, Estonia and Sweden. As restrictions remain eased across the continent, the winter holidays which were suspended last year are officially starting, creating a surge in international arrivals to destinations such as Finland and Norway.

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