The irrepressible desire to travel renews hopes in the industry
According to studies known in the last hours, the issuing markets are experiencing the effects of a contained demand. With restrictions still in force in many countries and much to be resolved, the tourism market begins to rebuild
At the end of February 2020 that virus that had emerged in Wuhan in December 2019 was rapidly expanding globally and with the protocols to contain it, governments began to make the painful decision to implement restrictions that obviously gradually stopped the tourism market. Today the situation seems to begin to unravel due to the increase in inoculation levels of risk populations and the low circulation of Covid-19 in more important source markets. In the face of the boreal summer, different reports have been published in the last hours and the results are really promising since they reflect that the desire to travel is already irrepressible.
Yesterday, Ipsos has released the results of a report that reveals that 57% of Europeans expect to travel this summer. The survey was conducted between May 5 and 20, 2021 and has been conducted for Europ Assistance.
Overall, 57% of Europeans expect to travel during the usual summer vacation period, this is a six percent drop from 2019. This is higher than that recorded by Americans (50%), Chinese (53% ) or Thais (44%). Some countries are experiencing double-digit drops in summer travel plans, such as Germany (-21 points), the United Kingdom (-14 points) and Belgium (-12 points). Other European countries are experiencing an increase in desire to travel, including Italy (+6 points) and Poland (+5 points).
Europeans report that their travel budgets have been hit harder than their American counterparts.
Overall European travel budgets fell more than 20% from 2019, but US budgets only fell 2%. The biggest drops were registered in Spain (-30%), France (-26%), Germany (-25%) and Austria (-21%). Portugal was the only country in the 2019 survey in which travel budgets remained the same.
The British, Belgians and Americans lead the world in travel optimism and most of them see travel returning to normal in 2022 or 2023. Czechs, Poles and French lead the poll when it comes to those who think travel they will never go back to normal.
Upcoming travel plans
Europeans are still heading for the coast, leading all areas with 58% of respondents. Trips to the countryside (26%) and to the mountains (24%) each gained four points since 2019 and are closing the gap.
Europeans continue to favor spending their holidays in their country of origin (47%). For those traveling outside of their country, the top destinations are Spain, France and Italy, which historically have been the top three are the traditional leaders of the survey.
Some countries that traditionally lead the survey in foreign travel saw large increases in those who stayed within their borders during the summer holidays compared to 2019. Belgians staying in Belgium grew 17 points to 32%. The number of Swiss travelers increased 15 points and respondents from the United Kingdom increased 16 points.
While they lead the survey in desire to travel, Europeans lag behind the pack when it comes to booking vacation travel. Only 35% of European respondents booked any part of their summer trips, compared to 47% of Americans, 37% of Chinese and 50% of Thais. Italians are among the few who have booked their holiday trips with 23%, while UK residents lead in Europe with 56%.
The restrictions caused by the pandemic over the past year affected the habits of European citizens. This is particularly true for Italians, Poles, French and Austrians, who very much miss seeing their relatives (58% miss them very much), being able to move around without restrictions (52%), enjoying daily activities such as going to the restaurant (40%) and travel freely within their own country (39%).
Unsurprisingly, there is an increased focus on travel insurance due to the pandemic. More than 45% of Europeans reported that they would increase their travel insurance coverage as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Vaccines are not an obstacle to travel, as 81% of Europeans indicate that they are ready to be vaccinated to be able to travel again.
Finally, respondents are seriously considering including the environmental, social and economic impacts of their travels in their habits and changing their behaviors to be more respectful of the environment around them:
- 89% of Europeans are considering using a travel bottle instead of disposable plastic (57% are already doing so and 32% are ready to take the leap).
- 88% are willing to change their behaviors to avoid wasting local resources.
- The same number of travelers are willing to help the local economy by eating and shopping at locally owned places (87%) and by staying in locally owned accommodation (85%).
76% of Americans plan to travel soon
According to a new survey from Oracle Hospitality, 24% of respondents in the US and Canada plan to travel immediately, 31% in the next one to three months, and 21% for the end of the year.
After more than a year on lockdown, 76% of consumers in North America plan to travel within the next six months. According to a new survey from Oracle Hospitality, 24% of respondents in the US and Canada plan to travel immediately, 31% in the next one to three months, and 21% by the end of the year.
People largely travel regionally, but venture further away from home. Domestic travel will account for 61% of travel plans (versus 44% last year), 19% of people will stay within driving distance (versus 47% last year), and 20% will go abroad (up from 10% last year).
Beaches (39%) and national parks (16%) are the preferred destinations. Regardless of location, 77% noted that a COVID-19 vaccine is very or somewhat important to give them the peace of mind of traveling. As for getting on a plane, 18% do not feel safe doing so until they are fully vaccinated.
Last year, travelers became more concerned with navigating uncertainty with flexible hotel cancellation and refund policies. This year is about the experience. To fend off competition from short-term property rentals, hoteliers are offering extended services from packaged excursions to new dining options. The majority of hotel executives surveyed (72%) are exploring non-room related revenue opportunities. And consumers are in complete agreement, with 68% indicating that they are very or somewhat interested in buying products or experiences from your hotel beyond the room.
"The pandemic has had a profound impact on the hospitality industry and continues to redefine what travel will look like in the future," said Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality. "The great news is that travel is on the rise and consumers are excited to return to the world. However, they have new and changing expectations of what that experience will be like. Hoteliers are taking up the challenge not only to delight customers with a great stay, but also offer services to increase revenue and compete with the growing short-term rental market. "
The survey commissioned by Oracle was conducted by Skift in May 2021. The survey "Back to Hospitality: Getting Smart and More Profitable in a Post-COVID World", interviewed 4,467 global consumers and 537 hotel executives (including 773 people and 160 hoteliers in North America).
Spending beyond the room
After a year of saving money on lost vacations, travelers expressed their willingness to spend for a great experience. The main services that consumers already have or are interested in buying from a hotel include:
- 92% - food from a hotel restaurant.
- 82% - drinks from a hotel bar.
- 83% - takeout or home delivery.
- 79% - tour or activity.
- 68% - tickets to an event.
- 77% - a long stay.
- 63% - wellness or fitness services.
- 53% - subscription membership to hotel services.
- 39% - using a hotel as temporary office space.
Pandemic priorities have become permanent practices
The survey shows that features and amenities that became a necessity during the pandemic will be the norm and the desire to move forward:
- 76% of hoteliers offer contactless payment options, 36% self-service check-in, 59% digital messaging services to limit staff and guest interactions, and 42% based room keys on smartphones.
- 67% of travelers expect to see an increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing procedures that remain the standard in hotels.
- 55% of consumers still want to see guest areas / public spaces arranged for social distancing.
- 11% of consumers plan to dine solely through room service to minimize contact. However, 30% plan to dine in hotel restaurants and 48% expect to do both.
Being stuck at home has changed consumer thinking about vacations and what is most critical in terms of space and amenities:
- Rising rents:
- 54% of travelers said they plan to stay in a short-term rental property in the next twelve months.
- 43% for the ability to stay socially distanced and minimize the risk of COVID-19.
- 57% chose rent for privacy.
- 59% chose a rental for access to the kitchen.
- Hoteliers rethinking services to win over guests:
- 59% of hotel executives agree that non-room revenue will account for a growing portion of their annual revenue over the next five years. Almost half (43%) said non-room sources of income could account for up to a quarter of their hospitality business in 2021 and another 24% said it could account for 26-50% of revenue in five years.
- 48% of hotel executives are improving the amenities of the community space.
- 46% are considering promoting exclusive services for hotels, such as restaurants, gyms and swimming pools.
- 26% seek to add more live events and social activities.
- 28% are considering upgrading bedroom kitchens to better compete with short-term rentals.