Hotel demand, booking rate up, but review ratings down

The latest edition of the Pulse report, which compares data from May 2022 to April 2022 and cross-checks it with performance from previous years, shows that accommodation demand and prices are moving in a positive direction and the pace of bookings remains off the charts, written Claire Middletona collaborating editor of Duetto.

Interestingly, over the past few months last minute bookings have been much less common and, while many travelers are still procrastinating, we are seeing a lengthening of the booking window as it returns to regular booking patterns. pre-pandemic advance purchase.

However, customer review ratings are declining sequentially due to numerous headwinds. Hospitality guest satisfaction hit pre-pandemic record highs in July and August 2019. But, as with most industry performance metrics, scores fell off a cliff in March 2020 and bottomed in August 2020. The trend sequentially improved through May 2021, then turned negative, reaching an all-time low in November 2021 after the peak of the Delta variant. Global trends in hospitality guest satisfaction rose at the start of 2022, down only -2.5% from 2019 levels, but in March 2022 the downward slope has returned, now -3, 5% from 2019 guest satisfaction levels. It appears guest expectations are returning to normal as owners and operators look for ways to better compete in the new normal.

Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria

North America
In terms of web traffic, the United States saw a 31% month-over-month gain for stay dates during the second half of 2022, including a 51% jump for July. The decline rate for regrets and declines remained the lowest among global regions at 18% in May and brand.com’s web conversion rate, or the ratio of the number of reservations divided by the total number of visitors, remained healthy at 5%.

US RevPAR exceeded its 2019 benchmark for the third consecutive month in May. Month-on-month booking pace trends continued to show strengthening demand, but the drop in ADRs on recent bookings indicated a possible return to the pre-pandemic practice of giving discounts more near the arrival date to fill rooms (for example, to meet loyalty program redemption thresholds), known as rate erosion.

LATAM
Web traffic for LATAM was slightly higher in each of the next four months before turning negative for stay dates beginning in October and the rate of regrets and denials averaged 22% in May with a rate brand.com web conversion rate of 4%.

The pace of bookings increased from the previous month every month for the rest of the year except October, with OTB committing to increase occupancy from the previous year every month through December.

EMEA
The biggest story in this region is that May was the first month where European industry trade reached a pre-pandemic level. Month-to-month booking pace grew by triple digits in each of the next three months of stay and averaged a global leading region of 121% for the entire second half of the year 2022. European hosting is back!

In terms of web activity, there have been no signs of slowing down with increased interest in staycation dates during the summer months of June, July and August. The decline rate for regrets and denials averaged 26% in May, with a strong web brand.com conversion rate of 5%.

APAC
In terms of web traffic, activity increased by 13% and 20% respectively for the May and June stay dates, and almost doubled for July. However, the rate of rejection of regrets and denials in Asia-Pacific remained the highest among regions in the world at 34% in May.

Booking pace trends are exceptionally strong over the next three months, but committed book occupancy (OTB) remains weak. However, strong ADR growth propels RevPAR higher, compared to 2019 levels, in December 2022.

Lloyd Biddle, Director of Product Marketing at Duetto, commented: “One of the changing landscapes in the hospitality industry is the divergent trajectory of guest satisfaction and RevPAR recovery trends. Accommodation demand and prices are moving in a positive direction while guest review ratings are declining sequentially due to numerous headwinds. Sales teams need to be proactive in thinking about what kind of long-term ramifications this challenge will have on customer experience and the ability to drive growth. After all, the amount a customer pays influences their level of satisfaction. Business strategy can only come to life if we put the customer at the center and aggregate all the data points along the journey.

“There’s an old adage in the hospitality industry that ‘today’s booking pace is tomorrow’s RevPAR’. While still true today, the evolution of post-pandemic business strategy expands these parameters to an updated industry adage that “consumer searches today are customer reviews of tomorrow”.

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