What do Guests want from Hotels in Summer 2022?Reading Time: 4 minutes
2022 is fast shaping into the year of the GOAT, or the “Greatest of All Trips” according to Expedia. But although the appetite for revenge travel is exploding, rising flights and hotel prices mean that guests are now much more discerning of service levels and expect nothing but the best value for money. Yes, guests are willing to dig deep into their pockets in pursuit of enriching travel experiences, but this must be justified by a communicative, efficient, and flexible service.
After two years of disruptions, miscommunications, and inflexibility when it comes to refunds and cancellations, guests now seek businesses they can trust to efficiently guide their buying decisions and adapt to their needs should the unexpected happen. In this article, we share what guests expect from hotels in summer 2022.
4 Things Guests Expect from Hotels in Summer 2022
Following the highly disruptive years of 2020 and 2021, summer 2022 is set to be a record-breaking period for the industry due to pent-up demand. But before we dive into what your hotel website should include to capture this demand and get more direct bookings this summer, below is a short recap of what guests actually want in summer 2022:
1. Guests are Dreaming about Sea, Sun, and Swimming Pools
Gone is the obsession with ‘Clean and Safe’ badges of honor. Guests now want to forget the rules and restrictions of the past two years and escape for the summer.
Data from Expedia shows a double-digit percent increase in demand for beach destinations in comparison to 2019. People are also booking summer homes earlier than usual. Before the pandemic, the peak time for booking summer vacation homes wasn’t until late April. People are now in a rush to get good deals and first dibs on their choice of homes and amenities.In addition, Hotels.com, which is part of Expedia, analyzed searches from the past three years and pools are the number one amenity people are looking for when booking stays.
Of course, this may sound like nothing new given the season. But when considering how to visually present your hotel online following the past two years, it’s important to remember that guests are once again craving the complete summer experience without restrictions.
2. Guests are Booking More International Trips this Summer
Although 2020 and 2021 were undoubtedly the years of domestic travel, more travelers are booking international trips in 2022. In fact, data from Guestcentric shows that international bookings continue to significantly outnumber domestic bookings since the beginning of 2022, and fast-approaching pre-pandemic levels.
Thus, hotels must be prepared to pivot toward international travelers, ensuring their online channels capture this demand by communicating globally-acclaimed attractions/activities and giving far-flung travellers confidence to book by providing current travel information and requirements per destination.
3. Guests Demand Accurate Travel, Destination, and Hotel Information
Research published in Skift reports that Google searches for travel rules have increased sixfold year over year. The challenge is further exacerbated by the fact that many businesses are still communicating outdated and inaccurate information to travelers.
As travel businesses from airlines, to OTAs, and yes, even hotels frustrate travelers with poor communication, delivering clear and accurate information will set your hotel apart in the summer 2022 travel boom.
4. Travel Disruptions are Still Here, and Travellers still value Flexible Policies to Navigate Them
With the big reopening underway, many hotels, airlines, and other travel businesses are abandoning flexible cancellation policies adopted during the pandemic. However, as these same businesses are now dealing with the challenge of hiring and training staff to cope with pent-up consumer demand, it’s important to acknowledge that travel disruptions are still occurring in 2022.
As reported by Bloomberg in May 2022, Flight cancellations at Dutch airline KLM have surpassed 225 in the past few weeks as its Amsterdam Schiphol hub is hit by labor shortages and industrial strife. Even prior to this, we have received reports of travelers who have had their flights postponed to different dates literally hours before travel. To make matters worse, many of these passengers are still waiting for compensation of expenses accrued due to these disruptions.
Thus, hotels may do well to maintain, at least in part, some of the flexible cancellation policies they instituted during the pandemic – particularly for guests who cannot make their check-in dates due to flight disruptions.
How can Hotels Compete with OTAs to give Guests what they want and get more Direct Bookings?
In line with increased consumer demand, OTAs are also reverting to more aggressive marketing tactics ahead of summer 2022. This will undoubtedly create more competition for visibility online, challenging hotels that benefited from exponential growth in direct bookings between 2020 and 2021.
Although OTAs continue to hold the lion’s share of visibility online, hotels still have the upper hand in terms of converting demand into direct business because they can observe and learn first-hand what guests enjoy during their stay. Major OTAs such as Booking and Expedia send out long post-stay surveys to understand what guests want from hotels and improve their marketing. This means your hotel should have the lead in terms of understanding the guest, but if you do nothing about it, there’s no telling for how long you will have this advantage.
Furthermore, as we mentioned above, consumers want to engage with businesses they can trust to deliver accurate information, flexibility, and efficient transactions. This means the vast majority of guests will continue to reach out to hotels directly, typically via the hotel website prior to booking in order to get the most accurate information beforehand.