Maria Taylor, Head of Commercial, Asia Pacific, Hospitality, Amadeus explains what the shift to domestic tourism and staycations means for hoteliers in Southeast Asia, which is beginning to open up again, and advises how they can drive profitable demand and retain guest loyalty in this changing market.
The Staycation Renaissance
Restrictions on travel mean that staycations are set for a boom. For example, in Singapore, hundreds of consumers booked staycations as soon as hotels got permission to reopen at the beginning of July and bookings have since continued to increase.
This behavior reflects the outcome of a recent Amadeus survey of HSMAI hospitality executives, in which 33% of those polled believe that leisure travel closer to home will become much more prevalent as a result of the pandemic. In response to this shift, 76% of respondents are planning to prospect new audiences to make up for impacted revenue from the usual business travelers. With passport-free holidays becoming increasingly normal, identifying these shifting demands and leveraging this momentum is crucial for the hospitality industry to capitalize on.
What Does This Mean for Hoteliers?
Hotels will have to make key operational changes to survive in a COVID-19 world.
Firstly, hoteliers need to be agile to provide guests an offering that is safe, flexible, and exciting. To do this, the use of business intelligence, media, and technology is vital to stand out against the competition. The foundation of a solid recovery plan is making data-driven decisions to plan for competitive rates, marketing, and distribution strategies. Historical trends won’t be useful for hoteliers given the seismic industry shift resulting from COVID-19. As such, hoteliers will need to be forward-looking and tailor their recovery approach to cater to new traveler segments (such as the domestic traveler), shorter booking windows, and new channels to source bookings.
Secondly, COVID-19 has made cleaning more important than ever and it is a non-negotiable essential that hotels deep clean and sanitize high-touch areas, and provide essentials such as hand sanitizer throughout the premises. Scrupulous cleaning and disinfecting processes and procedures will be vital to execute the cleanliness standards that the new “Generation Clean” guest – a singular segment that blurs the lines between baby boomers, millennials, and Gen X travelers with elevated cleanliness standards – will expect.
Thirdly, if the customer base of hotels has shifted from international travelers to those seeking holidays closer to home they will need to employ new marketing strategies that are relevant and targeted to the evolving customer base. These customers will want updates on the necessary steps hotels have and are taking at every phase of recovery to ensure traveler safety and inspire their confidence to book your property.
Once hoteliers have demonstrated that they have and are continuing to address the top concerns of travelers they can turn their attention to meeting traveler expectations by offering personalized, authentic, and sustainable journeys and experiences to give themselves a competitive edge.
Looking to the Future
Although traveler behaviors, such as domestic travel, are likely to be impacted in the long term and altered habits could pave the way for a new normal in the travel industry the hospitality industry is resilient, and we look forward to the future when we see recovery and the return to global travel. Whilst we hope that this recovery occurs in a directly forward pattern, we should be prepared to account for some setbacks along the way, so we aren’t taken by surprise.
As with any challenge the industry will find a path forward, learning from the challenges we have and continue to face, adjusting as we go to find a better solution in the future.
For best practices and guidance on how you can build the most effective recovery strategy for your business, find out more in Amadeus’ e-book series.