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Window of Opportunity: Analyzing Current Volatility and Consumer Confidence

When will customers have the confidence to book 12 months in advance? When will events return with notable capacities?

As we’ve seen in a previous article, booking windows have significantly decreased since the beginning of the pandemic. In this latest article, we analyzed two of the major contributing factors to the reduction of booking windows: current volatility and consumer confidence.

Current Volatility

To assess volatility in bookings, we focus in on Forward STAR data for a pair of markets in Spain.

For May through October 2021, the Canary Islands’ occupancy on the books remains between 10-20%, and beyond those months, the metric stays below 10% with only occasional lifts. The Balearic Islands’ follows a similar pattern with limited movement for high season (June-August). While slight rises pop up, occupancy on the books remains below the 20% level for most of high season. As of 1 March, the market’s highest levels in occupancy on the books were just 20.1% (19 June) and 20.7% (17 June).

However, it is important to note that the pandemic has shifted guest tendency toward shorter booking windows. An uptick in leisure travel, especially domestic leisure travel, could push levels higher in the upcoming months.

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Current Volatility

Historically, long lead business was driven through demand stimulated by events, peak nights (where customers already have a perception they need to book early) or group business. All these long-lead drivers are to an extent null and void now, and while all will have a part to play in recovery, it’s hard to determine at what point they will become as prevalent as they were pre-pandemic. There will be some long lead business, however, markets like the Balearic Islands will become more competitive than normal, with the desire to get “business banked.” This all plays into the customer’s hands as it will ultimately lead to more favorable rates.

Consumer Confidence

Next, we focus on when customers will have the confidence to book 12 months in advance.

For many parts of the world, hotel performance is forecasted for more meaningful improvement during the second half of 2021. That optimism is underpinned by the assumption of widespread vaccination distribution, lower COVID-19 case numbers and, as seen before, improved context for travel and events. In Europe, STR’s forward-looking data supports that optimism with visible market-level spikes around key events scheduled for the second quarter and beyond.

Business on the books in select Barcelona hotels shows a spike in late June due to the rescheduled
Mobile World Congress (28 June-1 July 2021). Looking forward to late June, Barcelona’s occupancy on the books is trending between 25% and 30% for the event period. Because of the pandemic, unfortunately, cancellations could also be more prevalent if the situation is not improved.

In Amsterdam, occupancy on the books is currently trending between 35% and 45% for the IBC Show 2021 (10-13 September 2021). The days before and after the show are also showing much improved occupancy levels.

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Consumer Confidence

Occupancy-on-the-books intelligence will help pinpoint recovery and provide much-needed context as recovery ramps up. Those insights can be accessed for free when you submit your data. If you are interested, please email sales@str.com.

We were excited to share more in-depth findings during our recent Hotel Data Conference: Global Edition, which was a 13-hour event that covered APAC, Middle East & Africa, Europe, Central & South America, and North America. Purchase access to the Attendee Hub to watch more than 50 sessions and view PDFs of the presentations
here. All recordings will be available through 23 June 2021.

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