Location and value remain top drivers of hotel bookings

Respondents to the STR survey mostly agreed that they believe travel and hotel costs will continue to rise. (STR)

Excerpt from CoStar

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Hotel guests and their motivations are different than they were three years ago, but some things never change, including the importance of location in a hotel search and the value of stays.

In a data presentation at the Hotel Data Conference, Chris Klauda, ​​senior director of market research at STR, said the mindset of modern hotel guests has changed and continues to change due to the pandemic. of COVID-19.

Although customers seem willing to pay higher and higher fares, Klauda said consumer desire to travel remains negative, even less for domestic than international customers.

The good news is that a July survey of 1,168 global travelers showed that the propensity to travel to the country next year has increased by 29%, and the desire to travel abroad has increased by 27% compared to the previous survey conducted in May.

“Cost is a concern, COVID-19 is not, and hotel use has dropped relative to alternative accommodations, but is slowly coming back,” Klauda said.

There was a significant increase in trips made in 2022 compared to 2021, she said.

She added that “10% of travelers will probably never return”.

New barriers to travel are driving some of this negative sentiment.

“Reasons cited by travelers include the cost of travel, both for hotels and airlines,” she said.

Sixty-one percent of those surveyed in July said travel costs were their top concern, a 2% increase from May.

Other concerns cited include cancellations, disruptions and rising costs of living, Klauda said.

She said concerns about COVID-19 were diminishing, with only 43% of respondents referring to the pandemic. Part of this concern shifts to inflationary pressure on prices.

Klauda said all of these concerns are changing the nature of travel, not just the nature of the traveler.

“City breaks are only starting to get a bit more popular, if not a notion at all, with country and outdoor getaways remaining the most popular,” she said.

She added that a bright spot is that there are signs that international travel is starting to return, with 44% of respondents saying they are likely to take an international trip in the foreseeable future, compared to 65% saying that they would probably be taken on a national trip. .

She added that in terms of booking decisions, the importance of accommodation quality has diminished.

“The pandemic did not change most travellers’ accommodation preferences, as many were simply not traveling at all. Full-service hotels provide more experiences, and there has been no loss of independent assets,” Klauda said.

Customer preference has increased for alternative accommodation to hotels, she added.

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