Hotel booking dynamics surpass 60% globally as Europe wakes up
There is now a lot going on in a month in the travel industry, and since my last monthly SiteMinder review Global Hotel Index, the dynamics of reservations recovered by 6% month on month, to now stand above 60% of pre-pandemic levels for the first time since March 2020. And while the markets that I have highlighted in the Pacific and the Americas have remained broadly stable, it was the long-awaited resumption of reservation activity in Europe that helped to give new momentum.
Enthusiastic holidaymakers are little hesitant to book their summer stays in European hotels
Across the European continent, the relationship between reopening announcements and booking activity, as we saw last summer, is once again clear, with travelers looking to lock down their plans as soon as they can.
In Portugal, for example, which started accepting all EU and Schengen area nationals, as well as thousands of British travelers last Monday, we can see an initial sharp increase in booking dynamics when blockages were relaxed locally on April 19, then again from early May. . In early May, Portugal’s state of emergency was lifted, the country’s land border with Spain was reopened and international travel plans were discussed. The viability of international travel has certainly influenced the composition of the clientele of local hotels. Since the start of the month, 58% of Portuguese hotel bookings have come from foreign customers, compared to just 40% in April.
In the UK, where hotels and B & Bs also opened last Monday, we saw that Easter’s announcement on April 5 regarding the easing of restrictions sparked a large-scale upturn in booking momentum. And this has only continued, with booking volumes increasing by over 35% month over month to reach 66% of 2019 levels.
In Spain too, we can see that the number of reservations accelerated more sharply when the state of alert ended on May 9.
The pent-up travel demand across Europe has allowed hotel reservations to be made very close to the arrival date, with summer now just a few days away. In France, for example, which is currently one of the European leaders in last-minute bookings, we see that around 60% of bookings made in the last two weeks relate to stays in May or June, and less than 7% have summer for stays beyond August.
Reservations remain largely solid in the Pacific and the Americas
Across the Americas, the United States and Mexico continue to perform very well, at 84% and 101% of 2019 booking levels, respectively. Either way, we can see the positive impact that a consistent and steady drop in COVID cases can have on travelers’ confidence.
In Australia, hotel bookings in Australia are once again exceeding pre-pandemic levels, due to Newcastle bookings which are 138% of their 2019 levels. Australia entered the Top 10 last week World Travel & Tourism Council’s global contribution, in terms of its local travel and tourism industry’s contribution to GDP, and it is likely to maintain this place in the Top 10 over the coming year.
Finally, I have long discussed the struggles of Pacific island nations throughout the pandemic, so it was nice to see the Cook Islands receiving their first international visitors in over a year earlier this week, after the establishment of the ‘a two-way travel bubble with New Zealand. . Huge demand saw the momentum for bookings reach 345% of 2019 levels in the World Hotel Index on May 9, with local operators calling for more flights to be scheduled.
On that celebratory note, continue to take care of yourself, happy trips to those who can and congratulations to all of our customers who are open again.
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