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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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September 2021

Changes for travel are on the horizon – what are the latest booking trends in the UK & Ireland?

Latest government announcements reveal that from 4th October, we’ll see an end to the green and amber travel lists across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The red list will remain and fully-vaccinated travellers heading to all other countries will be able to replace day 2 PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests – from the end of October – and will no longer need to take pre-departure tests.

In addition to this, big news from the US has revealed plans to lift their COVID-19 travel ban for fully-vaccinated passengers travelling from the UK. So change is coming, but how has this news impacted the latest booking trends in the UK & Ireland? We explore what Amadeus’ flight and forward-looking on the books Demand360® data is telling us.

A lift in restrictions from the US has already started to impact flights

The US didn’t make the list of top 10 countries with flights heading into the UK in September, but as we look ahead to October, we can see that currently, 4.7% of UK flights are coming from the US. As traveller confidence grows, it will be important to review data to see how bookings progress and use those insights to inform your media strategies. This will allow you to make data-driven decisions on where to focus your efforts, such as targeting contacts from top markets in your database with tailored promotional offers.

Occupancy is edging ever closer towards 2019 numbers

When comparing current booking trends in the UK & Ireland to 2019, we are continuing to see a positive turn. Occupancy across the UK & Ireland was only 5-21% lower in September 2021 than it was at the same time in 2019, peaking at 67% occupancy the week of September 12 and almost double 2020 numbers.

As we look ahead to October, occupancy numbers do dip, but keep in mind that 42% of bookings in the UK & Ireland are currently made within 0-7 days of travel. We are also seeing growth in bookings made further in advance, with bookings made 8-60 days ahead of travel on the rise, and those made 61-91+ days ahead of travel reflecting 2019 numbers. This could signify a heightened interest in travel for the festive season, so you may want to start thinking about building seasonal promotions.

Where are bookings coming from?

When comparing the booking channel mix, we can identify noticeable changes in behaviour across each year. 2020 saw a 14% increase in Online Travel Agency (OTA) bookings and a decrease in Direct bookings, compared to 2019. While this shift in the booking channel mix remains, we are seeing a slight increase in Direct and a decrease in OTA bookings in 2021. GDS bookings are rising, after halving in 2020, so now might be the right time to invest in GDS media campaigns to drive more corporate business. Remember, maintaining a diverse channel mix helps to maximise your property’s visibility and increase overall bookings. Download the Personalization and Direct Bookings Playbook for strategies and tactics on how to improve conversion on your website and booking engine.

With these changes in travel ahead, now is the time to ensure your property is best positioned to capture a rise in demand. Leverage data to build targeted marketing strategies that reach the right audience at the right time and invest in technology to help you streamline processes across the traveller journey and deliver memorable experiences that will turn one-time bookers into lifelong customers.

Amadeus is here to help you recharge your business. Visit our Rebuild Travel hub for insights and guidance on what decisions to take in the areas of Operations, Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management. Or contact our UK & Ireland team arrange a complimentary, personalised analysis on what Amadeus’ data is showing in your market.

August 2021

As we wave goodbye to summer, what are the latest booking trends in the UK & Ireland?

The UK government announced in July 2021 that, from the 2nd of August, fully vaccinated US & EU travellers will no longer have to quarantine when entering England. The UK travel lists continue to be updated every three weeks, with seven countries moving to the green list as of the end of August. But how has this effected occupancy in UK and Ireland?

Continue reading to find about the latest trends, and don’t miss this short video from Jerome Wise, Vice President UK & Ireland & Enterprise Clients at Amadeus. He shares a 5-point plan to help hoteliers prepare for this next stage of recovery.

Comparing booking behaviour with 2019 

If we look at current booking trends in the UK and Ireland compared with 2019, we see a continuing positive trend. Occupancy has recovered by approximately half of 2019 levels during August, registering highs of 62% occupancy the weeks of 8th and 15th of August.

As we look further out into September, occupancy does dip a bit. But this doesn’t necessarily mean the demand isn’t there. If we look at booking windows, 42% of bookings in the UK and Ireland are still made within 0-7 days of travel. But it’s also interesting to see the growing proportion of bookings made with more than 8, 15 or 30 days in advance. This activity is reflecting pre-pandemic behaviours, which indicates higher traveler confidence and a desire to travel.

If you want to find out more about your specific market or how some regions are recovering faster than others, contact your local team of experts who can provide more specific data and advice based on our forward-looking business intelligence insights.

Where are bookings being made?

When comparing with 2019, we can draw some important conclusions when looking at the channel mix. One notable change with 2019 is a growth in the OTA channel, which has increased 12%, while Direct bookings have decreased to 22% in 2021, versus 29% in 2019. A diverse channel mix is favourable in order to maximise your property’s visibility, and – in turn – to increase overall bookings. Download our new ‘The Personalisation and Direct Bookings Playbook’ to discover the growing importance of personalisation and the role it plays in driving more direct bookings. You’ll also uncover several strategies to help drive more traffic to your website and increase booking conversion.

For both the UK and Ireland, most bookings are domestic or from within Europe. Use this information to inform your marketing plan and target countries most likely to travel using your available ad spend.

If you’re looking for further insight and guidance on what decisions to take in the areas of Operations, Sales, Marketing or Revenue Management, then visit the dedicated Amadeus Hospitality Rebuild Travel hub. You’ll find a variety of resources, including the brand new Rebuilding Hospitality eBooks.

July 2021

Following Freedom Day, what are the latest hotel and flight booking trends?

With the UK now finally making a return to the ‘original’ normal, we take a look at what Amadeus flight and Demand360® forward-looking hotel data shows for the UK & Ireland, and how does this compare to the rest of the world?

Comparing UK occupancy with other markets

Depending on your location in the world, levels of restrictions might look very different. Occupancy levels reflect this. For instance, with much of America now resuming everyday life, occupancy across North America has been averaging 50-60% since May. China too, with recent holidays and a growth in domestic tourism spurring travel, also reached highs of 50-60% as of March. As for Europe, with much of the continent facing ongoing restrictions and a resurgence of the virus, occupancy peaked at 34% in June, and is set to meet the same level in July. If we drill down into key markets across Europe, between the months of February and October, UK is leading the way in terms of occupancy, with highs of 45% in June.  For each of these markets, numbers drop the further out we look. This makes sense considering the ongoing trend of reduced booking lead time. In the UK, 45% of bookings are still made within one week of check-in.

Looking ahead to September, what about key cities?

As the UK and Ireland reopen in July and August, the expectation is that many will return to the office in September. Aside from that, as restrictions ease, activities most associated with cities, such as theatres, nightlife and events, are set to come back. In fact, current Demand360® data seemingly confirms a growing interest in city travel. In the months of June, occupancy in Edinburgh reached 45%, with London and Birmingham close behind at 41% and 40% respectively. July is set to follow this trend, with Edinburgh’s occupancy at 48%, according to data from 8th July. Considering the UK overall is averaging 40% in June and July, this is a positive sign of recovery for big cities. Dublin is still lagging behind others, but as Ireland continues to reopen, hoteliers should keep an eye on how this evolves.

Interestingly, if we look ahead to September, there are some clear differences between group and transient booking behaviour.

We previously mentioned that overall lead time in the UK is still fairly last minute. However, when we look at occupancy levels in September and October, group business increases the further out we look. This suggests that while leisure travellers might be cautiously booking, when it comes to group business, planning ahead is still favourable. In terms of markets driving this demand, flight data reveals that 17% of the scheduled flights in the UK for September and October are expected from within. This suggests that domestic travel will continue to drive both leisure and business travel in the short-term.

Keeping an eye on the channel mix

Throughout the pandemic, Amadeus has closely monitored changes in the channel mix, and how consumers are booking travel. If we compare the channel mix in 2021 versus 2020 and 2019, there are some notable shifts. Firstly, in 2019 bookings through Online Travel Agencies (OTA) made up 27% of all bookings. In 2019, this increased to 29% and, in 2021, this now sits at 30%. The consequence of the OTA gaining share means that bookings direct have fallen, from 30% in 2019 to 28% in 2021. As hoteliers look to recover occupancy, it’s important to maintain a balanced channel mix. For more guidance on this, download our Preparing for Recovery: Revenue Management eBook. The good news is that GDS bookings are almost equal to 2019 levels, at 13% (vs. 14% in 2019). As data shows that group business is increasing during the autumn, now might be a good time to invest in GDS media campaigns that can help drive more corporate business.

As you continue to rebuild your business, to help you on your way, Amadeus has updated our series of recovery eBooks – published in collaboration with HOSPA, HSMAI and the Institute of Hospitality. If you’re looking for more guidance on Operations, Marketing, Revenue Management or Sales, download one of the complimentary eBooks.

June 2021

Occupancy, booking windows and feeder markets – what are the latest booking trends for the UK & Ireland

There’s no question about it, demand for travel is on the up. In their most recent research, the European Travel Commission reports that 72% of Europeans plan to travel between June and September. But with the majority of typical hotspots yet to make the green list, the question becomes, how can hoteliers take advantage of available demand in the coming months? Using Amadeus Demand360® forward-looking hotel and flight data, we share the latest booking trends in the UK & Ireland, and what this means for hospitality.

Comparing booking behaviour with 2019

If we take a look at current booking trends in the UK compared with 2019, there are clearly reasons to celebrate. Occupancy has recovered to more than half of 2019 levels during the latter weeks of May and into June, with highs of 51%. Since reopening began in April and May, this number has steadily grown, with occupancy in the UK averaging 23% in April. As we look further out in the short-term, occupancy does dip. But this doesn’t necessarily mean the demand isn’t there. If we look at booking windows, 44% of bookings in the UK are still made within 0-7 days. In 2019, this figure was 38%, suggesting that, despite a growing desire, travellers are still opting for a more hesitant, wait and see approach. If we also compare current Average Daily Rate (ADR) with 2019, as of 6th June, ADR in the UK stood at $126, compared with $187 in 2019. As a hotelier, this provides two important insights. Firstly, don’t drop rates as a way to secure bookings, because the growth in occupancy confirms that the demand is there. Secondly, if you do drop rates, this will risk making it harder to recover the same rates as in 2019, as travellers come to expect discounts. Another important consideration here is the channel mix. One notable change compared with 2019, is a growth in the Online Travel Agency channel. As of June, 42% of bookings came from OTAs, compared with 29% in 2019. Direct bookings have also decreased as a result, down to 21% in 2021, versus 29% in 2019. Although a diverse channel mix is favorable in order to secure more bookings, this drop in Direct bookings could impact on overall revenue. Take a look at our Direct Booking playbook for advice on how to address this.

Moving onto Ireland, there are clear differences in behaviour.

Overall occupancy is due to hit mid-30s in June, with some regions recovering faster than others. For example, Demand360® data reports highs of 80% occupancy in Galway for July. Keep in mind that this data is not predictive but represents actual on-the-books reservations. Bookings in Ireland also show a longer lead time overall than compared to the UK. 51% of bookings are currently made 31 days or more in advance, up 13% from 2019. For hoteliers, use this knowledge to think whether you could build any promotions to secure these further-out bookings. What about a long-weekend break in the Autumn months, or a special celebration for Christmas? As with the UK, consider how to build these without dropping prices. ADR in Ireland is still recovering compared with 2019, reaching highs of $201 as of June 6th, compared with $268 for the same time in 2019. Direct bookings are currently higher than 2019 (35% vs 31%) although bookings via OTAs have also grown. Keep an eye on this mix in order to drive more bookings through your most profitable channels.

Which markets are driving demand?

As you continue to rebuild and capture business in the coming months, it will be important to understand which markets are influencing demand. In most markets globally, unsurprisingly, domestic travel continues to drive the majority of bookings. For example, in Portugal, despite a growth in bookings following their addition to the green list, only 15% of bookings came from the UK in the trailing 4 weeks as of mid-June. With quarantine mandatory for most markets, currently 76% of reservations in the UK are made domestically. However, Ireland tells a different story. Following the news that American tourists are welcome as of July 19th, 34% of bookings in this market are currently coming from the U.S. This provides an important opportunity for hoteliers in Ireland. Consider directing any available ad spend to this market, in order to get your property seen – and booked. For the UK, continue to monitor feeder markets, to anticipate and adjust promotions ahead of the competition, for instance should the US and UK travel corridor go ahead.

If you’re looking for further insight and guidance on what decisions to take in the areas of Operations, Sales, Marketing or Revenue Management, then visit the dedicated Amadeus Hospitality Rebuild Travel hub. You’ll find a variety of resources, including brand new Rebuild Hospitality eBooks.

May 2021

With 12 countries on the green list… are Brits staying at home or away?

The long-awaited list of countries that made the green list is finally available, but as of May, only 12 destinations made the cut. Even with the potential introduction of the EU passport, the question remains – where are those in the UK & Ireland looking to travel this summer? We use Amadeus Demand360® forward-looking, on-the-books hotel and flight data to find out.

When comparing the UK and Ireland to other key European markets – including Portugal, the only typical summer hotspot on the UK’s green list currently – UK occupancy is higher for the months of April, May and June. Greece and Portugal both increase then as we look further into the Summer months. Remember that this data is not predictive but represents real-time reservations.

However, one of the major trends that emerged out of the pandemic is a reduction in lead times. In the U.K., this is still an important indicator for demand. Currently, 56% of bookings are made within the one-week window, of which 27% are made on the day of arrival. Whilst this number is down from 2020, it’s still a notable change than when comparing with 2019. As for Ireland, travellers are taking a more cautious approach, with 67% of bookings made 31+ days in advance.

Another important factor to consider is the cancellation ratio – the rate at which hotel bookings are cancelled. For the UK, this number is sitting around 20% for the months of April and May. This is lower than the 40% average seen even before the pandemic (Phocuswire). This is good news for hoteliers as it suggests that, whilst travelers might be waiting longer to book, when they are booking, they are doing so with more certainty.

Stronger signs of recovery in leisure destinations as anticipated by hoteliers

The increase in occupancy in line with the reopening of hotels is a positive sign for hoteliers across the U.K. But which destinations are driving demand? In our latest Rebuilding Hospitality report, hoteliers believe that leisure will be the primary driver of recovery. Current bookings align with this expectation. For example, throughout May, seaside destinations are leading the way with highs of 40-50% occupancy in Blackpool and Bournemouth. As we look further out, Plymouth is showing strong signs of demand with occupancy reaching 60% for July and August. Similarly, in Ireland, occupancy in Galway is above 50% throughout these months. In comparison, for London, occupancy is lower the further out we look. However, that’s not to say the demand isn’t there. When drilling down on lead time, 21% of bookings in London are currently made either the day before or day of arrival. If you have properties in this area, think about how to encourage stays by combining them with value-add activities such as restaurant discounts.

Finally, our newest indicator now provides insight into length of stay. Where the number appears as higher than 100% in the graph, this shows an increase compared with the previous time period. For the UK, this means that, compared with 2019, stays are lengthening overall. With alternative accommodations coming back strong, it’s important to think about how you can capture this market. Discounts on longer stays, remote office concepts or complimentary breakfast are examples of what could help your property stand out from the competition.

Understanding and applying data will be a key asset for hotels that want to effectively capture market share and stand out from the competition. For this reason, we have launched Amadeus Demand Generation. Combining insight from five solutions, hoteliers have the power to make informed decisions that can increase bookings in your direct channel.  

April 2021

The pubs are open, but are Brits as excited about the reopening of the rest of Hospitality and the return of hotels?

For the first time in a while, April has allowed us to feel a sense of normality across parts of the U.K. And we’re not referring to the new normal, but the old kind. The kind that allows us to reconnect with our friends and families over our favourite food and drink. Now, with the last major milestone in England behind us, it’s time to focus on the next one, and with it, the reopening of all remaining Hospitality. With ongoing uncertainty around international travel, domestic tourism will be the name of the game in the coming weeks and months. Using forward-looking Demand360® data, Amadeus has analysed what hotel and flight bookings tell us about current traveller behaviour.

Domestic booking leads the way

Unsurprisingly, our data tells us that 77% of bookings currently are made within the UK. If we look at the split of flights vs. hotel bookings, hotel bookings have been greater than flight bookings throughout most of 2021 so far, and this number is increasing each week. This is great news for hotels, as it suggests that the pent-up demand among travellers is also translating into bookings. For hoteliers, if travellers are not flying to their destination, it’s likely they are using ground transportation or car. In your promotions or loyalty programmes, think about how you can use this to your advantage, such as through free parking or partnering with transportation companies to offer discounts. This also means that any targeted promotions should be focused on the local market.

The importance of lead times when building reopening strategies

Another important factor to consider when looking at British booking behaviour is lead times. Over the past months, we’ve spoken a lot about the changes in lead times throughout the pandemic. In the UK, we continue to see similar patterns to the rest of the world, with shorter booking windows overall. Currently, 40% of bookings are made within the 0-7-day window, of which 14% are same day bookings. However, there has also been an increase in the number of bookings made three months or more in advance, particularly when we compare with the same time in 2019. 30% of bookings are now made in this timeframe. In Ireland, where reopening plans are still less clear, this number increases to 40%, compared with just 17% in April 2019. It’s important for hoteliers to pay attention to this and begin to track these patterns to provide guidance on adjusting operations, revenue management and promotional strategies for reopening.

The impact of this lead time can be clearly seen when we look at occupancy for the next six months across the UK & Ireland. If we take a look at on-the-books reservations between May and October, occupancy in the UK appears lower in the near future than for further out in June and July.

However, between the weeks of April 4th and April 11th, occupancy increased by 9% in the UK. Aside from that, when we take a look at the current segment mix, 44% of bookings are currently Discount (i.e. from promotions, last minute rates and online discounts). We know from these week-on-week increases in occupancy that the demand for travel is there. McKinsey also report that 47% of Brits plan on spending more in 2021 to reward themselves after 2020. So, if price is not a key driver currently and demand is on the rise, hotels should try to avoid dropping rates as part of their strategies, as it will only be harder to increase these again in the longer-term.

Where are Brits booking holidays?

Finally, although we can hope for a further increase in bookings as we get closer to reopening in May, and even more so as we head closer to Summer, we can already use Amadeus Business Intelligence data to see where bookings are being made. Between the months of May and August, highest occupancy can be found in coastal destinations of Plymouth, Southampton and Bournemouth. However, that’s not to say that seaside trips are the only ones of interest. Historic sites such as Cambridge, and even some cities, like Cardiff are currently showing occupancy of between 25 and 30% in June and July. For those with properties in key cities, keep an eye on how these levels change as more venues such as concert halls and theatres open up.

The time for hoteliers to make their properties known is now. The local UK & Ireland team at Amadeus is on hand to help you as you prepare for reopening and can offer complimentary, personalised analysis and guidance on what the data is showing in your market, and how to use this to maximise revenues. To speak to a local representative, contact us.

 

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://staging.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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