2021 UK Forward-Looking Data Insights - Amadeus Hospitality

UK and Ireland Forward-Looking Data Insights 2021

Using data from our Business Intelligence Solutions, we hope that these monthly extracts give useful insight into the UK & Ireland markets, so you can make better and more informed decisions about your business.

If you’d like a complimentary Amadeus Business Intelligence report, including forward-looking hotel and flight data, or would like to understand more about how this data can benefit your business, please reach out to our team of experts.

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March 2021

The countdown to reopening is on…. What does this mean for hotel and flight bookings?

As the Hospitality reopening dates draw closer, Amadeus took a look at flight and forward-looking Demand360® hotel data to see what impact this is having on bookings across the UK, Ireland and beyond.

Domestic booking behaviour

For many, a staycation within the UK or Ireland is expected to be the case in the coming months. Currently, 80% of bookings are coming from within the UK, and in Ireland, 42% from within (followed by 33% from the U.S.). When we take a look at lead times in the UK, ongoing uncertainty about whether we can travel is reflected in this data. Throughout the majority of the pandemic, lead times changed to shorten within one week. Today, 39% of bookings in the UK are made 91 days or more in advance. Of the bookings made, just over half (52%) are for high end, luxury properties. In Ireland, the number of 91+ day bookings increases to 54%.

The data also tells us that 44% of bookings in the UK, and 41% in Ireland are currently Discount. Discount bookings refer to net rate promotions sold via online travel agencies, packages or promotional rates. Whilst this strategy might be favourable in the current climate in order to make your hotel stand out from the competition, keep an eye on your pricing as we move forward. If potential guests come to expect discounts or reduced rates, it will be harder to recover this in the long-term.

Similarly, we can also see that there has been an increase in the number of bookings being made via Online Travel Agencies, with 38% coming from this channel in the UK, followed by 24% made on both Brand.com and Direct respectively. The increase in OTA bookings is important if we also consider the portion of bookings made via Discount. Whilst maintaining a strong channel mix is key to drive bookings, in order to reduce the impact on your bottom line, make sure that you are thinking about strategies which drive business via Direct, a more profitable channel. For instance, rather than discounting prices on this channel, look to maintain rate parity and offer ancillary services such as free parking or wine on arrival.

Summer booking trends

Last month, we also took a look at how bookings were performing in the summer months. Across the UK & Ireland, there’s been some movement between February and March, with occupancy sitting at around 10% between June and August. However, we know that pent up demand is out there, and our search data from our partner, Google, confirms that throughout February there was an increase in searches from within the UK. This suggests that many travellers continue to play the waiting game. For Hotels, one way to incentivise bookings already might be to focus on flexible cancellation policies in case their plans change.

Finally, with rumors continuing to suggest travel corridors between the UK and countries such as Spain and Greece, we looked at current occupancy for the months of June to September. The booking trend is similar in these markets, with the exception of Greece, with occupancy still around low double digits.
As a hotelier, the next few weeks will be critical in looking at how booking behaviour changes in line with further reopening announcements. Be prepared for a possible boom in bookings and make sure your channel and promotions allow for potential bookers to easily discover your hotel, whilst maximising revenue for you.

How can Amadeus help during reopening?

Amadeus Demand360® data comes directly from a hotel’s Property Management System (PMS) or Data Warehouse. This means that this data is not predictive, but an accurate reflection of what is happening in your market, and – best of all – you can view up to 365 days in the past or future. By using any of our Business Intelligence solutions, it becomes easier to create smarter strategies to improve all areas of your business.

Aside from this, Amadeus has a range of solutions that can help to maximise your success during reopening. This includes Media solutions to drive more visibility to your hotel, Service Optimization software to simplify hotel operations and abide with COVID-19 hygiene protocols and Sales and Events Management tools to easily plan and manage group business. Find out more about any of our solutions at: https://www.amadeus-hospitality.com/uk/amadeus-hospitality-solutions-overview/

February 2021

Preparing for reopening: How to analyse booking behaviour to build strategies

At the time of writing, the staged reopening plans across the UK & Ireland were still not public. Despite this uncertainty, that’s not to say the only strategy to employ right now is the waiting game. Using Amadeus’ flight and forward-looking Demand360® data, we share what booking patterns we’re seeing currently. Using this data makes it easier to prepare for reopening – hopefully for the final time – and create strategies based on real-time information.

Pay attention to how and where bookings are made

In order to understand how bookings are being made, first look at where they are coming from. Let’s start at the search phase. Amadeus partners with Google to track this behaviour, and data as of the 13th February, confirms that the majority of searches are made within the UK. Moving onto booking behaviour, our data shows that Online Travel Agencies, direct bookings and Brand.com are the most popular channels currently in the U.K.
Ireland demonstrates similar behaviour, but with Direct bookings taking the top spot. As a hotelier, this data provides important insight when it comes to creating or adjusting marketing and revenue strategies. This spread in booking behaviour shows the importance of displaying your properties across a mix of channels, in order to maximise visibility and booking potential. It’s also key to maintain rate parity, to avoid travellers choosing one channel or another due to price. If you’re looking to drive more bookings direct, consider building promotions that go beyond price, such as offers for longer stays, free breakfast or room upgrades. For more advice on this, download our complimentary Direct Bookings Playbook.

Secondly, with search trends indicating an interest in domestic bookings, focus your advertising spend during reopening within the UK & Ireland. As restrictions ease, keep an eye on how this trend changes to look at widening your reach across other countries.

Use lead times to adjust promotions

As you begin to plan for reopening, booking lead times will provide important insight into building promotions and adjusting operations, based on demand. Remember, our data is not predictive, but instead shows forward-looking on-the-books data that have been reserved.  In the earlier months of the pandemic, lead times on bookings reduced dramatically globally, with the majority of bookings made within 0-7 days. Today, this trend remains for the UK with 59% of bookings currently being made with this timeframe. This is a clear increase on last year. However, almost a quarter of bookings are also being made over three months in advance. In Ireland, this trend is even more prevalent, with 44% of bookings made over 90 days in advance – double that of last year. It’s likely that last minute bookings currently are a result of quarantine or essential travel, however those bookings further out are an indication of traveller demand and optimism. Take advantage of this to build promotions that span the coming months, maintaining flexible cancellation where possible. As we get closer to reopening dates, keep an eye on how lead times progress to understand whether you should adjust your promotions to include ones such as last-minute offers.

Looking ahead to Summer…

Preparing for reopening requires thinking of where travellers might be headed. We’ve taken a look at what occupancy looks like for the months of July and August. As many of us remain cautious, occupancy still remains low for most places. Locations such as Carlisle, Dundee, Oxford and Plymouth all show occupancy levels of at least 20%. This contrasts to bigger cities such as London or Birmingham with single-digit occupancy during this time. In Ireland, Galway and Sligo come out top with occupancy of between 20- and 40% throughout the summer months. This unsurprisingly verifies that, once possible, travellers are looking for a break from city life, opting for country or sea air. If you have destinations in these locations, keep in mind that competition will be strong. Avoid focusing on lower prices, and instead look at other ways to make your property stand out from the crowd – what are your property’s selling points? What packages might appeal to your target audience? If you’re not in these locations, remember that everyone is ready for a break from the lockdown routine. Emotions will play an important role in attracting demand, so think of promotions that will appeal to this.

If you’re looking for more guidance on reopening, on the topics of Marketing, Operations, Revenue Management or Sales, download any of our complimentary eBooks for advice.

 

January 2021

Why are travellers now booking further ahead, and how can you use this data to attract demand?

Despite a gloomy start to 2021, with the return of lockdowns across the UK, Ireland and beyond, there is some activity, and a reason to be optimistic, according to Amadeus Demand360® and flight data. Amadeus only uses real time, on the books data to forecast occupancy, making it easier for hoteliers to take informed decisions when it comes to planning next steps.

A shift in booking window behaviour

In previous months, when domestic travel was leading hotel recovery, we noticed a shift in lead times with the average booking window shortening compared with previous years. On average, for the second half of 2020, our data showed that over half of bookings in the UK & Ireland were made within the 0-7-day window, with many even made on the same day of booking. In 2021, we’re still seeing an increase on the amount of bookings made during that time frame, with 58% of bookings still made last minute in the UK and 52% in Ireland. However, a newer shift in booking behaviour indicates that more travellers are now looking to book further out – with 20% of bookings in the UK now made three months or more in advance. This is up from 13% last year. Ireland shows a similar picture, with 22% of bookings currently made in this timeframe, a slight increase from last year.

There are two reasons behind what might be causing this shift. Firstly, unsurprisingly, most of us are feeling pessimistic about the future, with 62% fearing that the worst is still to come (Visit Britain). As a result, it makes sense that many are taking a cautious approach to booking holidays, opting to play it safe rather than sorry. However, in contrast, for those whose vaccination date is nearing closer, confidence is growing. As a result, many travel firms such as TUI and National Express are seeing a spike in bookings from those in the 50+ age range (BBC).

Adapting strategies in response

Now that we know there is potential demand coming from bookings made three or more months in advance – how can hoteliers use this to ensure they are the chosen ones for bookings?

Firstly, as always, it’s important to consider who your competition is when it comes to targeting available demand. Our data indicates that of the bookings made within the 90+ day window, almost a third of those bookings are for luxury properties in both the UK & Ireland. Research from Hotels.com found that a desire for more spontaneity is leading to an increase in luxury travel, with 17% of those surveyed booking five star stays for 2021. For hoteliers, this provides an opportunity to widen your reach with advertising that targets those outside of what you previously believed to be the target market or existing CRM.

Once you use data to understand who your competition is, it’s all about effectively communicating your property or brand’s value proposition. With so much on offer, why should a traveller book with you? Recent insights tell us that there are certain factors which appeal during the booking process now more than ever, such as the continued need for clear hygiene and safety factors. In the Amadeus Rethink Travel Study, we found that 4 in 5 say technology will increase their confidence to travel, for example through mobile apps and contactless payments. Use this to your advantage as you build campaigns which appeal to the needs of your target audience.

Take the time to check where bookings are coming from

Throughout 2020, we saw a growth in Online Travel Agency (OTA) bookings. Currently, 36% of bookings in the UK come from this channel, and a further 32% from Direct. In Ireland, the proportion of OTA bookings rises slightly to 42%, and Direct drops to 34%. This split suggests travellers are using different channels to make bookings, so – if you haven’t done so already – adapt your channel mix to make sure you have presence across all major channels.

Amadeus offers solutions that span the end-to-end Hospitality journey. To find out more how we can help you to drive profitable demand, deliver memorable guest experiences and improve operational efficiencies, learn more about our solutions here.

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