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).