US: With the holiday season around the corner, the latest data from property management software platform Guesty suggests that travellers will still be keen to navigate the pandemic to book trips during the holidays, whether they be in drive-to destinations closer to home, rural areas, or a staycation in their own cities.
Though global reservation volume went up by five per cent in September compared to August of this year, when looking at booking numbers for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Guesty reported seeing “significantly fewer” reservations in the system this year than at the same time last year.
According to the company, the overriding trend was that those who book should expect to spend more on stays and many are considering taking longer trips than they did over the holidays last year, given that Covid-19 has resulted in “work-from-home” morphing into “work-from-any-home”.
Taking the data in account, Amiad Soto, CEO and founder of Guesty, summarised the following points about the booking patterns during the upcoming holiday season:
Reservation volume is decreasing across the board, though rates and lengths of stay are rising. People will travel this holiday season for longer periods of time, but should expect to shell out more on stays. Travellers should book their first choice of stay now and take advantage of flexible cancellation policies that enable them to cancel up to a couple days in advance of the booking itself for circumstances outside of their control, such as lockdowns etc.
Thanksgiving [USA only]
Reservation volume in the USA has decreased by two per cent compared to this time last year for Thanksgiving weekend, though the average nightly rate has increased by nine per cent. People are still travelling, but will have to pay more and will likely stay longer. The average length of stay went up 15 per cent for Thanksgiving stays compared to last year, now at 4.5 days on average.
- The main concern for travellers this holiday season will be booking separate accommodations versus staying with family, given that everyone has different anxiety and comfort levels surrounding the pandemic. While some travellers are extremely cautious and follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines strictly, others follow them loosely.
- To help everyone feel safer, travellers will look for accommodations that enable larger, social-distanced gatherings, offer spacious common areas and are contactless in order to limit human interactions [via keyless entry systems and self check-in/out procedures].
The Christmas season
In the USA, Christmas reservations have decreased 26 per cent compared to last year, and the average nightly rate has increased by 13 per cent. Globally, Christmas reservation volume decreased by 40 per cent compared to last year while the average nightly rate increased by 13 per cent. People are also planning longer Christmas vacations – the length of stay increased by 17 per cent compared to last year and now sits at six days on average per trip.
Last-minute trips are still trending
The trend of travellers making reservations closer to check-in is continuing, especially with domestic travel increasingly on the rise. In September, 15 per cent of reservations across all short-term rental channels were made the same day. And the majority of reservations were made within seven days of the reservation itself.
Reservation volume globally keeps increasing month over month
In September, we saw a five per cent increase in reservation volume worldwide compared to August.
- The USA saw an eight per cent increase in reservation volume compared to last month and a seven per cent increase in average nightly rates.
- Mexico also saw a boost of eight per cent in reservation volume this month compared to last as well as an increase of 12 per cent in average nightly rate pricing. This may not be a surprise considering its warm weather and the fact that it is open to countries hungry for travel, such as the USA.
- Italy saw a two per cent increase in reservation volume compared to last month and stays are coming at lower prices. The average nightly rate is down 16 per cent since August.
- The United Kingdom saw a decrease of 14 per cent in reservation volume this month compared to last, which is less surprising as it is heading into a series of lockdowns around the country. Its average nightly rate also went down by around one per cent.