Hotel occupancy levels are now on an upward trajectory, according to new research from Amadeus, as worldwide occupancy reached 46% in April 2021, up from the low of just 13% in April 2020.
According to Amadeus, 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.
Amadeus’ Demand360® business intelligence data also revealed that 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, however, bookings made on the same day of travel have shrunk globally from 39% the first week of 2021 to 23% the week of 25 April, 2021, and 31-60 day bookings increased from 6% the first week of 2021 to 11% the week of 25 April, 2021.
The Rebuilding Hospitality report also revealed “significant” growth optimism, as 30% of hoteliers anticipate opening one or multiple sites in 2021.
In addition, 63% of hoteliers worldwide think that leisure travel will drive their recovery with domestic leisure the highest contributor (45%).
Recruiting will also be a high priority, according to the study, with 59% of global hoteliers anticipating that they will need to hire new staff in 2021.
When considering the aspects of the pandemic pivots that will be here for the longer term, the report found that enhanced hygiene measures are “here to stay”: Over a third (32%) of hoteliers think that they will always need significant social distancing, sanitization and visible hygiene measures.
Hoteliers also believe there will be a long-term reduction in guest contact and stayover cleans, with 20% indicating they will keep interaction between staff and guests to a minimum for the long term, while 21% plan to reduce daily housekeeping for guests.
Over a quarter of respondents (30%) said that contactless tech to support personalized guest experiences was one of the developments in hospitality they were “most excited about” as we emerge from the pandemic. Around one in four hoteliers (24%) went on to say they would be turning to technology to support personalized experiences “making sure the ‘human touch’ of hospitality is not lost”.
Francisco Pérez-Lozao Rüter, president, Hospitality, Amadeus said: “The data and trends from this report are intended to draw together insights from hoteliers around the world as we work together as an industry to plan our recovery. With lower restrictions in place, the US market has provided some early indicators of traveler behavior that could help other international hoteliers understand where they are in the stage of their own recovery.
“One of the key takeaways from our research and report is that technology will play a central role in the recovery of the hospitality industry, as we found globally 41% of hoteliers plan to spend the same or more on IT this year than they did in 2019. At Amadeus, we are committed to investing in our industry and providing the technology that will help hotels to pivot their strategies and power future growth.”