8 Trends for Hotels in Summer 2022Reading Time: 5 minutes
Travel demand is back ahead of summer 2022, and fast outgrowing pre-pandemic levels. Guests crave enriching travel experiences and are willing to reach deep into their pockets to ensure they get them. But they will also be more discerning of hotel service levels and it will be critical for hotels to ensure the best experiences for their guests.
Flight capacity will be key this summer : Although demand is coming very early, if flights are disrupted, or airports understaffed, guests will be unable to get to the destination.
What else is in store for hotels this summer? Keep reading this article to find out.
8 Trends for Hotels in Summer 2022
Although we’re seeing early signs of exponential demand for summer 2022, with international travel set to significantly exceed 2019 levels, flight capacity will influence the level of travel activity during peak season. Some clear guest behavior trends are emerging ahead of the peak season.
Below are 8 trends for Hotels in Summer 2022:
1. Prices are through the Roof
Average Daily Rates (ADR) and pricing are reaching record levels, especially in Europe. According to data from Guestcentric, Europe-based hotel prices are currently 31% above 2019 levels, while US properties’ prices are 13% above 2019 levels. According to Bloomberg, US pricing reached the highest levels ever, in 2022.
2. Guests are Prioritizing Experience over Budget
If 2021 was the year of domestic travel, then 2022 is fast shaping up to be the year of “The Bucket List Trip”. According to Stephanie Papaioannou, a VP at the luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent, there is a “new sense of urgency” to travel. “Guests feel they have lost two years, and older clients are concerned about having fewer healthy years left to travel,” she says.
Expedia is calling 2022 the year of the GOAT, or the “greatest of all trips.” In a survey of 12,000 travelers in 12 countries, 65% of respondents are planning to “go big” on their next trip, prompting Expedia to vote the desire for exciting and extravagant trips “the biggest travel trend” of the year. Meanwhile, ultra luxury is having a field day, and over three fourths of Virtuoso travel agents, who are specialists in the more unique, once in a lifetime type of travel, have seen a sharp increase in this type of travel.
Budgets are relatively unconstrained, as we can see from higher prices and willingness to spend, both on flights and hotels. Any discrepancy can easily be argued away, as due to inflation. However, rising fuel prices and consequently airfares, may dampen spirits somewhat.
3. Last-Minute Bookings are Still the Norm
Last-minute bookings are still the norm, and Guestcentric data shows that between 40% to 50% of bookings are still made for the same month. While it’s uncertain whether this trend will hold for the summer, the ability to drive demand quickly is new for many hotels, and they need to continue to be agile enough to respond accordingly.
4. Hotel Business Performance will Exceed 2019 Levels
According to Guestcentric data, hotel stays for the first half of 2022 are projected to be 70%-90% of 2019 levels. On an even better note, hotel bookings for the second half of 2022 are currently a whopping 20% above 2019 levels. This clearly shows that guests are eager to book and travel again.
We expect domestic travel to remain steady, reaching 2021 levels or exceeding them by the second half of this year. Meanwhile, international travel is expected to significantly surpass 2019 levels. Provided that there are no new restrictions, it is extremely likely that this demand will convert into tangible revenue for hotels in 2022.
5. “Disconnect Me Now” Travel on the Rise ahead of Summer 2022
The intensity of screentime and social media consumption have taken their toll over the past two years. The ability to disconnect and limit screen time is on many people’s wish lists for a true holiday feeling. According to G Adventures from the UK, 58% of travelers claim they need a holiday to help alleviate pandemic-related stress of burnout from work.
6. Travel Advisors are Back to Reassure Guests
Travel Advisors are making a comeback, due to the complexity of travel, the constant changes in routes and flights, and also to the uncertainty of a post-covid world. For Summer 2022, simpler packages to closer-to-home destinations may trump exotic long-haul travel for many, especially families.
Voice reservations are also expected to grow. During the pandemic, guests grew accustomed to reaching out to hotels directly for general information and reservations. This will likely continue over the summer, because people want reassurance to know there is an advisor who can help them when there is a disruption to their travel plans.
7. Guests will Choose Active Travel over Cultural Travel
The enforced lockdown and isolation has made most travelers eager for a more active lifestyle – whilst discovering new countries and cultures. Cycling, diving, sailing, hiking and horseback riding trips are likely to be in increased demand over the summer of 2022.
Research by Viator shows that many more travelers are interested in outdoor experiences in 2022. Just under half (48%) of all Viator bookings made were for outdoor experiences. The demand for outdoor experiences rose exponentially compared to 2019. Water sports activities showed the highest percent of growth from 2019 levels, rising 311% in demand. Cruises, sailing or water tours rose 122%, while other outdoor activities rose 153%.
8. Responsible Travel will continue to be Significant
Carbon miles are an issue, and hotel guests actively search for sustainable options and news items when they travel. Local community initiatives are at the forefront of guests’ mindsets – whether supporting local charities, or sourcing food and beverage from local suppliers.
According to Skift Research, 83% of global travelers think sustainable travel is vital. In addition, according to Booking’s Sustainability Report 2021, 73% of travelers would be more likely to choose an accommodation if it has implemented sustainability practices. Of those surveyed, 61% said the pandemic made them want to travel more sustainably in the future. But that’s not all. According to Futtera’s latest study in the US and UK, 88% of consumers want brands to help them improve their environmental and social footprint.
These astonishing numbers highlight the importance of a strategic approach to sustainability. To attract and satisfy a far more conscious and environmentally aware consumer, hotels must adapt, offering guests sustainable experiences on property, as well as the ability to measure the impact of their specific stay, on the environment and on the local community.
How can Hotels prepare for the Summer Demand?
As guests gear up to splurge on extravagant travel experiences this summer, hotels must up-sell more this summer. With prices increasing everywhere, hotels should also monitor relevant competitive pricing in their region and ensure their positioning and pricing are optimal I.e aligned with their product and service levels, to ensure profitability, without eroding their brand’s credibility and consumer trust.
Rising prices also means that hotels should be prepared to deliver the best customer experience at a reasonable cost and without compromising service levels. Staffing challenges will continue to impact hotel operations, but technology and creative thinking can help..
For example, if your hotel can no longer deliver a breakfast buffet, aim to deliver an amazing breakfast to go. Equally, you could also encourage guests to reduce housekeeping services during their stay by offering a €10 bar voucher as an incentive. Not only will you reduce the carbon footprint and staffing demand, but it’s likely the guest will pay beyond the voucher value.
Although travel demand is booming, staffing challenges and untrained staff may lead to a degree of travel disruptions over the summer. It’s important that hotels and the wider industry continue to collaborate and share information in order to deliver seamless experiences to guests. Independent hotels may want to consider joining a local brand, collection or network, where they can benefit from a significant level of cross-selling opportunities for each other.
What is your hotel doing to prepare for summer 2022? Let us know in the comments!