HotelHub, a leading hotel technology solution provider for TMCs and their corporate customers has revealed that recovery in the hotel sector is well underway and bookings via the platform are likely to reach pre-pandemic levels ahead of previous forecasts.
According to the latest HotelHub Index for Q1 2022, global hotel transactions dropped in January to 45% of volumes for the same month in 2019, due to uncertainty caused by the Omicron variant (after climbing to 61% at the end of the previous quarter). However, this figure leapt to 87% of 2019 volumes in March.
US hotel bookings via the HotelHub platform are particularly indicative of a full recovery as they reached 100% of pre-pandemic levels for the month of March, despite Omicron triggering a drop in January to 61% of month-on-month 2019 volumes (compared with 91% in December 2021). European hotel transactions have also risen significantly with volumes reaching 85% of pre-pandemic volumes for the same month in 2019 compared with only 53% of pre-pandemic bookings at the end of Q4 2021.
Whilst the majority of all transactions globally continue to be domestic hotel bookings, HotelHub is seeing a gradual return to international travel. By the end of the most recent quarter, international bookings made up 25% of overall volumes, compared with 15% at the end of Q4 2021. However, this figure still has a way to go to reach pre-pandemic levels when international bookings amounted to 57% of all transactions in March 2019. One reason for the slower return to international travel could be the impact of the war in Ukraine, especially travel from the US to Europe. The HotelHub Index shows that in the US, only 12% of bookings were for international travel in March 2022, compared with 30% in March 2019.
Other notable trends observed by the HotelHub Index are:
- Average daily rates in key cities worldwide are currently up to 25% per cent lower than 2019. For example, in Paris the average rate is $182 (versus $246 in 2019); in London average rate is currently US$271 (versus US$287 in 2019); in New York average daily rate is US294 (versus US$379 in 2019); in Seattle average rate is down to US$185 (compared with US$260 in 2019); and in Milan current average daily rate is US$181 (versus US$206 in 2019).
- There has been no discernible change in average length stay since Q4 2021, with number of room nights still slightly suppressed in most key cities compared with pre-pandemic bookings, for example, 2.1 nights in London (versus 2.9 nights in 2019; 1.7 nights in Paris (versus 2.5 nights in 2019); and 2.1 nights in Seattle (versus 3.4 nights in 2019).
Eric Meierhans, Chief Commercial Officer, HotelHub commented: “At the end of last year, we were predicting that global transaction volumes made by our TMC customers using HotelHub would not reach pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2022. But global bookings are increasing far more rapidly than expected and US hotel bookings have already reached 100% of 2019 levels, according to the data from our latest quarterly HotelHub Index. This is very encouraging and a clear indication that recovery in the hotel sector is escalating rapidly, despite the dip in volumes at the start of the year due to the impact of Omicron. However, the share of international travel versus domestic is still relatively low, especially from the US to Europe, and this is potentially due to the war in Ukraine causing hesitancy and uncertainty.”