INTERNATIONAL REPORT—A new report by guest acquisition platform SiteMinder, reveals that five stages lay ahead of the world’s almost one million accommodation providers until their booking cycle resets into a different normal.
“From Booming to Privilege: The New Realities for a Hotel Industry in Need of a Reset” is SiteMinder’s six-month study of the latest behaviors and preferences of travelers, which concludes that the Five Stages of the Hotel Booking Reset are domestic acceleration, plateauing, flux, embracing, and international acceleration.
According to the five stages, the hotel industry globally has recently entered the third stage of flux after hotel bookings plateaued between 50%-55% of 2019 levels for 12 consecutive weeks. They dropped to below 50% year-on-year on Sept. 27th, and currently sit at 49.66% year-on-year.
SiteMinder’s study draws from the real-time booking data of 35,000 hotels in its World Hotel Index; the survey responses of more than 5,000 travelers in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, U.K. and U.S.; and hotelier interviews. It comes six months after SiteMinder witnessed hotel bookings globally drop to below 9% of 2019 levels in April—their lowest point in recent history.
“The question everyone in travel has asked this year is whether the industry will ever completely go back to the way it was, and we know now that in some ways it will, but in many other ways it will differ, perhaps permanently,” said Mike Ford, managing director, SiteMinder. “Our study documents the journey we have all taken so far and the journey we are all taking now, whether we realize it or not.”
The report outlines the biggest travel trends to have emerged this year, including the dominance of last-minute bookings, and the growing divide between urban areas and less-populated coastal or regional towns which SiteMinder first reported in May. Other macro trends include the shortening of trip durations, and the demand for greater flexibility with ‘free cancellation/booking modification’ ranking as the most important factor for nearly a third of travelers when choosing their accommodation.
“We are living in the Democratized Economy, with neither travel and accommodation providers nor travelers in control,” said Ford. “COVID-19 has been the ultimate equalizer. For now, travel is no longer a booming industry of endless trips that we are able to take for granted. Travel has become a privilege again, which means that the future for every hotel is one of more discerning guests and shorter lead times. Predictable seasonality is over.”
The study reveals that, while the current pandemic has negatively affected the financial situation of more than three-in-four travelers either ‘a lot’ or ‘somewhat,’ more than 85% say they are likely to take their next domestic trip before 2021 year-end.