Travellers more confident with booking hotels: SiteMinder

SiteMinder reveals global traveller confidence is reaching new heights post-lockdown in its new analysis of more than 100 million reservations – booking behaviour trends from 2022 showed decreasing cancellation rates and increasing booking lead times, even with rising hotel room prices across key travel destinations.

SiteMinder’s new Hotel Booking Trends report has revealed travellers booked their trips on average eight days earlier, and cancelled their bookings 17% less year-on-year in 2022, despite a 24% increase in the average daily hotel room rate.

Travellers are booking hotels earlier and cancelling less

Including the most popular channels travellers used to book hotels in 2022, SiteMinder’s report also reveals the performance of OTAs, wholesalers, global distribution systems, tour operators, destination management companies and hotel-owned websites (direct booking engines) as revenue-driving channels for hoteliers across the world, with 11 new additions joining SiteMinder’s Top 12 lists for the first time.

In 2022, analysis from SiteMinder’s Hotel Booking Trends showed:

  • Travellers globally booked hotel stays considerably further in advance than in 2021, with hotels seeing a 38% increase in average booking lead time, year-on-year. The global average booking lead time was around 30 days in 2022, just six days shorter than the average booking lead time in 2019.
  • Travellers globally cancelled their hotel bookings 17% less year-on-year. The average hotel booking cancellation rate dropped to about 20% compared to 25% in 2021, with hotels in Ireland experiencing the highest rate (26%) and Indonesia the lowest (10%).
  • Domestic booking channels captured a lower proportion of bookings overall, however there was a clear balance between traditional and niche booking channels across markets. OTAs, wholesalers and destination management companies reasserted their dominance across SiteMinder’s Top 12 booking channel lists in most markets as international travel returned, with remaining the most popular. Despite this, regional hotel booking channels still proved popular with travellers in 2022.
  • Travellers showed a continued openness to book directly with hotels in 2022, despite OTAs regaining ground. Globally, a hotel’s website was more important as a source of revenue in 2022 than it was in 2019, despite hotel websites moving down SiteMinder’s Top 12 lists in 42% of countries year-on-year. The ranking of hotel websites as a revenue generator remained on par with 2019’s lists in 72% of markets, and ahead in 28%.
  • Bookings via global distribution systems (GDSs) rose as business travel continued to resume with force in 2022. GDSs ranked higher in Top 12 booking channel lists in 47% of analysed travel markets this year, re-entering the top five in France and Germany for the first time since 2018.
  • Travellers incrementally increased their hotel stays, with the average length of stay growing only slightly in 2022 to 1.93 nights. Stays booked to Spain in August were the longest globally at 2.65 days, while Mexican reservations were the longest year-round, followed by those made to Portuguese, Thailand and Spanish properties.
  • Travellers continued to book accommodation through Airbnb. Featured on just 28% of SiteMinder’s Top 12 lists in 2019, Airbnb ranked in 89% of 2022 lists, highlighting the brand’s popularity with travellers and the wide variety of properties now gaining bookings from the channel, beyond simply vacation rentals.
  • Overall, travellers booked with more commitment to travel than the year prior. Despite the average daily rate of a hotel room rising 24% year-on-year to US$177, booking momentum remained robust, with reservation volumes rising to 104% of 2019’s levels globally by December 31, 2022.

SiteMinder’s Hotel Booking Trends report comes following the removal of travel restrictions in mainland China, triggering an acceleration of outbound bookings at the start of 2023.

According to SiteMinder’s most recent bookings data, outbound net reservations from China increased by 37% in February since mid-December 2022, with bookings to properties in Thailand and Vietnam increasing by 86% and 78% respectively. Tourists from China made 155 million outbound trips worth US$255 billion in 2019, making them the largest outbound tourism market globally prior to the pandemic.

James Bishop, vice president of ecosystem and strategic partnerships, SiteMinder, said: “The accommodation sector has remained a strong indicator of traveller confidence over the last three years, and we can see through SiteMinder’s new Hotel Booking Trends analysis that this confidence is certainly starting to embed across key travel markets globally.”

He added that changing traveller trends such as the blend of leisure and business trips and the acceleration of group bookings pave a strong growth opportunity for the accommodation sector within rebounding regional tourism industries.

“Our new Hotel Booking Trends analysis shows a clear shift in the accommodation industry toward a holistic hotel commerce strategy that ensures hotels are able to attract the right guests at the right time. From our Top 12 lists, we see hoteliers globally adopting new and established channels — both direct and indirect — to truly optimise their distribution approach, allowing hoteliers to be seen and booked according to evolving seasonality and changing traveller preferences,” Bishop said.

The new data demonstrates the global traveller sentiment reported in SiteMinder’s 2022 Changing Traveller Report, in which the majority of travellers surveyed reported they did not expect their travel plans to be held back by rising inflation, with 87% of travellers saying they are happier when they are anticipating travel, and 85% of travellers comfortable spending additional money on extras during their next stay. In the ‘new normal’ of travel, 80% of travellers said it was important to have the flexibility to easily modify or freely cancel their reservation.

Bishop noted: “Hotel businesses are certainly showing an openness to employ a broader, multi-channel approach as a way of connecting with more traveller segments, which reflect new expanded, multi-channel traveller booking preferences and a much more competitive hotel booking landscape online.”

To view all the insights from SiteMinder’s full Hotel Booking Trends report, including the Top 12 lists of top travel destinations, click here.

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