Travel policy changes prove game-changing amid high volumes of hotel bookings
At nearly 87% of 2019 record highs, global hotel booking volumes are the highest since late February 2020.
And, as policy shifts sweep across Asia-Pacific, early indications are that this figure will only continue to rise, with travelers proving once again that they are both confident and responsive when it comes to to change the regulations.
Here is a quick overview at the national level of the region:
- In the Cook Islands, hotel booking momentum has already reached near pre-pandemic levels after restrictions were eased last Saturday.
- For Indonesian hotels, bookings have increased from 62% of 2019 volumes at the start of the month to 81%, with all quarantine requirements now lifted. March also saw bookings by international travelers once again surpass 25%, compared to just 10% in January.
- Malaysia’s announcement that it will be quarantine-free from April 1 has helped the country’s hotel booking momentum return above 75%.
- In New Zealand, the country’s decision to accelerate its opening plans created a more than 20% increase in hotel booking momentum last week and saw international traveler bookings exceed 10% for the first time since last June.
- In the Philippines, bookings are again above 70% of pre-pandemic levels, with all foreign tourists welcome from April 1. In line with the evolving restrictions, international travelers exceed 30% of bookings made this March (and are currently set to account for over 45% of hotel arrivals in August).
- Thailand, too, is eyeing April 1 as a milestone, with the planned scrapping of its pre-travel Covid test pushing bookings back above 60% of 2019 levels. International travelers to the country are also on the rise, accounting for more than 50% of bookings at local hotels through March, up from just 14% 12 months ago.
- Finally, in Vietnam, which last week announced the end of the quarantine for international travelers, reservations have already seen a 25% increase.
Other countries in the region, such as Fiji and Australia, also saw increases in March. Fiji, a current favorite of Australian travelers re-engaging in international travel, is once again approaching pre-pandemic volumes, with Easter and July expected to be peak times. Meanwhile Australia, which topped its 2019 volumes for the first time since last May, is dominated by domestic bookings to far north Queensland.
Although Asia-Pacific largely continues to rebuild, most of the strong global momentum in hotel bookings continues to be drawn elsewhere. In the Americas, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States each remain above the global average, while in Europe there is so far no evidence of a slowdown in hotel bookings on SiteMinder’s Global Hotel Index.
On the contrary, with hotels in Estonia, Iceland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden all accepting more bookings than at the same time in 2019 – and with France, Ireland and the UK all receiving more 90% of their pre-pandemic levels in hotel bookings – clearly more travelers are planning a summer away from home compared to the past two years. This is especially true among international travelers. It will be particularly interesting to follow hotel bookings in the UK in the coming months. With all remaining Covid travel restrictions now lifted for arrivals, we have already seen an increase in international guest bookings, reaching 28.53% so far in March – their highest point in more than two years.
Well, that’s all for this month. Stay safe, be kind, and as usual, I’ll be back in April to bring you the top travel trends via the World Hotel Index. Be sure to subscribe to real-time updates and monthly reviews like this one at siteminder.com/world-hotel-index.
SiteMinder Limited (ASX:SDR) is the world’s first open hotel commerce platform, ranked among the technology pioneers to open every hotel’s access to online commerce. It is this central role that has earned SiteMinder the trust of tens of thousands of hotels, in 150 countries, to sell, market, manage and grow their business. The global company, headquartered in Sydney with offices in Bangkok, Berlin, Dallas, Galway, London and Manila, has generated more than 100 million bookings worth more than $35 billion in revenue for hotels in the last year before the start of the pandemic. For more information, visit siteminder.com.
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