Since the start of the pandemic, hoteliers have had to rethink many aspects of their business to accommodate new safety procedures, cater to changing guest needs and survive in an extremely complex operating environment. New research from Amadeus reveals how the hospitality industry worldwide has adapted, as well as the trends hoteliers think are likely to stay as the industry rebuilds.
Amadeus’ Demand360® business intelligence data shows that hotel occupancy levels are now on an upward trajectory. Worldwide occupancy reached 46% in April 2021, up from the low point of just 13% in April last year. This means that global hospitality occupancy has climbed two-thirds of the way back to pre-pandemic norms of around 70% for this time of year.
Australia and New Zealand, in particular, recorded a steady increase in occupancy levels from 30% to 60% in February – April 2021, surpassing global occupancy rates. The results are aligned with the recent quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand which sparks international travel for holidays and family reunions between the two countries.
On a global level, the data shows the booking lead time is lengthening, indicating growing consumer confidence to plan ahead. For much of the past year, nearly all reservations across the world were made within 0-7 days of travel. In recent weeks, bookings made on the same day of travel, which are the most problematic for the industry to accommodate, have shrunk globally from 39% the first week of 2021 to 23% the week of April 25, 2021, and 31-60 days bookings increased from 6% the first week of 2021 to 11% the week of April 25, 2021.
The Rebuilding Hospitality report incorporates a survey of 688 global hoteliers delivering new insights into current sentiment and plans:
- Significant growth optimism: There is a sense of optimism as 30% of hoteliers anticipate opening one or multiple sites in 2021.
- Leisure travelers are driving recovery: The majority (63%) of hoteliers worldwide think that leisure travel will drive their recovery with domestic leisure by far the highest contributor (45%). In line with this, Amadeus data shows that US, China, and the rest of Asia are starting to see an increase in OTA booking volume, shifting the focus away from a dependence on direct bookings during the pandemic.
- Recruiting will be a high priority: Over half (59%) of global hoteliers anticipate that they will need to hire new staff in 2021.
- Opinion on vaccine passports divided amongst hoteliers: Over half of Asian hoteliers say they are considering asking for vaccine passports before permitting guests to stay whereas just under half of hoteliers in the Americas say they will definitely not be adopting this approach. In EMEA, nearly half of hoteliers are uncertain on their strategy in this area.
The report also looked into aspects of the pandemic pivots like hygiene measures, personalization to cross contactless hospitality divide, work ‘staycations” and long stay rental investments as well as long-term reduction in guest contact and stayover cleans.