In part 1 of Hospitality Trends for 2021 we looked at the new normal and the covid factor on hospitality. In part 2 of our 3 part series, we will look at consumer trends that hoteliers can expect in the new year.
Part 2 – Consumer Trends
As travel begins to resume, we know that we won’t be jumping back into 2019 rates and levels of occupancy. Consumer behaviour is always changing however the past year has transformed the way we view travelling.
Here are the top trends to expect for 2021.
1 – Local travel
Now this one doesn’t come as much of a surprise and is a direct result of the global pandemic but local travel will continue to see traction as a hospitality trend in 2021. After the initial onset of lockdown in March, the industry saw steady growth in local travel because of the current international travel restrictions. OTAs reported that six of the top ten destinations in 2020 had never even made it on to the list before. Hotels in once popular trending destinations are losing visibility and seeing a decrease in clicks and impressions.
This, in turn, may be an opportunity for hotels in rural areas that are close to major cities. People are looking for getaways that they can easily drive or take a short road trip to. Focus your marketing efforts on local and domestic segments to appeal to the people who are actually physically able to visit.
2 – Booking trends
An ongoing hospitality trend for 2021 are the evolving booking trends of travellers. We’re seeing bookings that are closer to home, booking much closer to the date, and a shorter booking window. And ah, yes, free cancellation is a must. Because our situation keeps changing, we suspect that booking trends can change on a whim as well so keep your eye on the data and follow the changes from your website and OTAs.
To keep up with these changes in booking behaviour, build marketing campaigns based on target segments. Then analyze lead time to see when campaigns could be launched to maximize how effective it can be given these booking trends.
With price sensitive customers, focus on the value you’re providing by offering promos and packages. Don’t just offer a room at a cheap price. By throwing in the free breakfast, welcome package or spa discount, you’re adding value without increasing the overall price of the room too much.
3 – Declining corporate and business travel
This one may seem a little redundant but we wanted to point out that corporate travel was a billion dollar industry in 2019 and has taken a 180 with the current pandemic. With the whole world working remote and through online conferencing, many workplaces are considering working from home permanently beyond COVID-19.
With that in mind, a hospitality trend for 2021 is people looking for alternatives from their work-from-home situations. Since many people’s home setups aren’t ideal to accommodate work and focus, hotels might just be the next best thing to the office to get those contracts finished. Check our article on “Work from Ho-tel, the Work From Alternative” on tips and strategies to market your property to this segment.
Corporate and MICE travel will slowly resume one day, but the competition will be fierce and the market will be much smaller starting off. Sales team should be working on developing relationships, nurturing and cultivating leads and taking a different approach to prospecting to win business in the new normal. The inputs you make now will trickle into outputs down the line, so don’t wait and get proactive.
4 – Millennials and the aging generation
Millennials have become the generation with the highest disposable income and the choice to spend their income on travel and experiences. At the same time, the aging population over 60 is one of the fastest growing age groups at this point in time, expecting a growth rate of 58% in the next four decades. Studying segments by age will give you insight on what products and services are appealing and what to offer and then appropriately market the right things to the right people at the right time.
Now that we’ve looked at the effect of covid and consumer trends that the hospitality industry expect in 2021, we will next look at hotel concepts that hoteliers can expect in the new year.