What are the latest booking trends?

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Like most in the industry, we’ve been continuing to keep a keen eye on the booking trends throughout this pandemic period. Last week, we delved into the ‘new guest persona’ and what that may look like, now that the pandemic has had such a monumental influence over our travel habits.

This week, we’re taking a look at some of the most recent booking trends based on our own data, and also what we’re seeing globally across the board. Let’s get right into it.

Increased Average Length of Stay (ALOS)

According to our own data, in February 2021, ALOS increased by 51% (from 1.8 to 2.7 nights). This was based on bookings made in February for the months ahead. We were seeing that ‘pay less’ rate plans were more popular than ever, understandably.

How can you capitalise on this? The key thing is checking your own ALOS, and seeing how you can increase it – for example, offer an extra discount for a longer stay! Don’t be afraid of this – remember, a longer stay means a lower cost for the property when you consider things like cleaning costs.

International travel is not a million miles away, so it’s good to keep this in mind for when it’s back too! Keep this in mind when International travel is back.

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Increased Average Room Rate (ARR)

Looking at our data once again, in February 2021, ARR increased by 35% YoY (from €155 to €209). This was also based on bookings made in February for the months ahead. We noticed an increased number of bookings for family and interconnecting rooms in February. There were more dinner packages being booked instead of B&B or room only rates.

Increased Average Booking Value (ABV)

This brings us on to a significant ABV increase of 100% YoY (from €273 to €545) as a natural progression and consistency of increased ALOS and ARR. This was also based on bookings made in February for the months ahead.

Now, what can help to increase your average booking value? Enhancements! We spoke about the importance of your enhancements strategy recently, and how they can truly help to improve your average booking value. Review your existing ones, try and make them stand out, and be creative with them!

If you’re a Net Affinity client, you can learn more about our enhancements module here.

When we are reviewing rates and length of stays booked for February 2021, compared with February 2020, we need to remember that this year, bookings are predominantly for summer months, as they are foreign holiday replacements. The bookings made in February 2020 were for stays during the spring months of last year. This has led to an increase in average rates, length of stays, and subsequently ABV across the board, due to the summer business going on longer and their rates being higher than the spring ones of last year.

Flexibility

An undoubtedly key word in 2021 so far, and the OTAs know it! Since their beginning, they have smartly pushed messages like, “Book now, pay later”, and “Free cancellation”. Flexible cancellation policies are absolutely critical to give your guests and potential guests peace of mind, and they will encourage them to book with you.

If you’re a Net Affinity client, make sure you are using our “Free Cancellation No Prepayment” Rate Plan Badge! You want to make sure this message is highlighted at the very initial stages of booking.

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Self catering

In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in self catering bookings, and it’s widely considered to be a super popular option for 2021 and beyond. Do you offer self catering options? Whether it’s apartments, lodges or cottages along with your standard hotel rooms, make sure they can be easily found and booked on your website!

Last minute bookers vs the early birds!

So we can all agree that everyone will be booking stays for leisure! However this doesn’t mean you can paint all your guests with the same ‘leisure’ brush. Take a look at our piece last week on building new guest personas for starters. Be aware of the different target markets among your guests and consider how their booking behaviour differs. For example, parents or groups of family/friends tend to plan and book their trips very early to make sure they can find the right type of accommodation that suits their needs, in comparison with couples, who might wait until the very last minute to book their getaway.

With all of this in mind, think ahead and thoughtfully align your communication strategy to capture both the last minute bookers and the early birds!

The ‘over-55s’

This week on our hotel marketing podcast, we spoke about how you can creatively devise your offers for the ‘over-55s’ demographic. This is the group of people who will be ready to go as soon as they’re free ‘n’ vaccinated! Knowing this, try and devise a thoughtful rate plan targeting older couples where you avoid phrases like “Golden Years”, “Over 55s’”, “Active Retired” or anything else that is age-related! As the old saying goes, age is just a number, and that’s never been more true than it is now. Update your thinking and don’t patronise this group of valuable holiday goers!

 Thinking ahead – some extra tips

  • Get ready for autumn! Workcation & Flexcation will become the go-to trends after the summer months

What’s a flexcation?

It’s blending play with remote work and school

What’s a workcation?

Working out of town! Guests will work in the morning and vacation in the evening.

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