The unprecedented global travel disruption caused by COVID-19 has introduced never-before-seen challenges in the hospitality industry.
Despite hoteliers across the globe eager to capitalize on recovery efforts, strategic decision-making is more difficult in a post-pandemic world than ever before.
As vaccine rollouts and new coronavirus variant outbreaks continue to rattle the travel market, unpredictable and inconsistent demand fluctuations mean that traditional forecasting patterns are no longer reliable - making it challenging for hoteliers to gather the critical insights they need to make qualified revenue decisions.
During such an uncertain time, however, using accurate and reliable data in a hotelier's decision-making process is vital.
Traditional forecasting methods relied heavily on historical analysis, such as identifying established demand drivers, year-over-year (YOY) trends and on-the-books (OTB) data; however, as the pandemic radically shifts consumer behavior and travel demand, new metrics are providing fresh new insights into the future of travel.
Forward-looking data, one of the most innovative methods for gathering market insights, is rapidly emerging as a popular method for strategic decision-making.
Now in an effort to assist recovery efforts, OTA Insight has released a free interactive global map that utilizes forward-looking data to provide hoteliers with the market demand and emerging trends needed to make critical recovery decisions.
A new era of travel demand
p>Hoteliers and travelers alike have never experienced anything like COVID-19. Government policies and national lockdowns regulated traveler behavior, yet the measures imposed have varied drastically from government to government.
For example Australia, which has remained closed to foreign travellers since its lockdown in 2020, announced it will not open its borders until at least 70% of the country is vaccinated.
However the U.K. and U.S. governments have largely opened borders to foreign travelers now able to present a negative COVID test. On the other hand, many Asian countries have begun enforcing travelers to quarantine at mandated isolation centers upon arrival.
With global inconsistencies and rapid changes in government policies, hoteliers must continually evaluate not only their own government's travel restrictions, but also the restrictions in source countries to have any understanding of future demand.
With new outbreaks leading to unpredictable government policies, traveler behavior is changing. Consumers, uncertain about new lockdowns being lifted or imposed, are booking in shorter windows than before.
The emerging mindset of "revenge travel" has thrust domestic trips into high demand, and with many travelers still wary of high-contact environments, rural bookings and 'staycations' are on the rise.
Technology has also shifted travel behavior: as many businesses introduce permanent remote work roles, day-of-the-week and weekend travel demand is shifting. With personalized experiences now an integral role in the guest experience, for the first time in decades, OTAs became the most frequently booked channel.
Despite revenge travel trends, business travel is still virtually nonexistent - forcing hoteliers to rely on leisure travel, (which for most hoteliers was previously a smaller segment of business), to generate revenue.
With previously vital market segments restricted and leisure travel demand still below 2019 numbers, hoteliers are in a fierce competition - and not only with each other. With safety and social distancing measures at the top of guest minds, the demand for private accommodations is soaring at a faster rate than the demand for hotel bookings.
When facing intense competition, making informed decisions is crucial to driving recovery efforts. Shifting market conditions have now thrust hoteliers into an entirely new era of travel behavior, leaving data collected pre-pandemic no longer accurate.
At an inflection point when missteps are too costly to afford a significant challenge presents itself. How do you make accurate marketing and budgeting decisions when traditional methods and historic data points are no longer effective?
The growing importance of predictive market intelligence
For the foreseeable COVID-19 and travel restrictions will remain unpredictable, leaving hoteliers struggling to accurately forecast demand.
During this period of instability, a hotelier's best approach to accurate forecasting relies on using a predictive market intelligence solution. Predictive market intelligence uses forward-looking data (or top-of-funnel data points) collected from a variety of sources, including OTA and direct booking guest data, travel query volumes and more.
With this data, hoteliers are given a valuable glimpse into the first signs of a shifting market, including emerging behaviors, trends and demand which allows hoteliers to adjust their strategies and budgets accordingly.
With predictive intelligence, hoteliers can continually utilize real-time market data, including elements such as vaccine distribution rollouts and social distancing measures, to capitalize on even the most minute market changes.
Armed with insights into commonly emerging booking dates, lengths of stay (LOS), and the geographic origin of demand, hoteliers can target regions experiencing high demand and specific traveler demographics, ensuring increased revenue and greater ROI.
Predictive market intelligence tools can provide hoteliers with expert support in developing an accurate forecast for demand, but hoteliers who are hesitant to partner with a data solutions provider aren't without support.
At OTA Insight, we've committed to assisting the travel industry at this critical time by providing a powerful, free-to-use tool that delivers the data needed to help hoteliers make critical decisions.
Using the free Global Market Insight tool to capitalize on global recovery efforts
To help hoteliers overcome the challenges of a rapidly-changing market and support the industry-wide effort to recover, we've launched Global Market Insight, a free-to-use interactive heatmap.
It is easily accessible via the OTA Insight website and is powered by our industry first Market Insight platform, ensuring accurate, up-to-date data is always available. Assisting hoteliers in harnessing the significant insights that predictive intelligence can deliver, Global Market Insight serves as a new industry benchmark to track worldwide recovery for the travel and hospitality industries.
Global Market Insight combines recovery trends from the past six months and a demand outlook for the next 90 days - ensuring that users are the first to spot upticks in demand for future travel dates in cities around the world, at no charge.
The insights displayed for destinations include flight and hotel search evolution index, available hotels, lead time trends and the top countries searching for the destination.
Through the aggregation of pre-booking and top-of-funnel data points, users can get a clear picture of demand for destinations around the world. With a travel rebound now on the horizon, hoteliers can accurately track the return of demand - not only by being able to more accurately determine when recovery will reach their specific market, but also, being equipped with the granular insights needed to for more informed decision making, such as accessing trends in feeder markets, lead times and seasonal patterns.
Using the Demand Outlook panel in the Global Market Insight tool, hoteliers have access to an overview of the demand trends in their market.
The Demand Outlook panel equips hoteliers with critical insights into the time frames that are driving recovery, the percentage of hotels they are competing against, the share of domestic and international demand in the market, and whether corporate travel is set to resume.
Equipped with this critical information, hoteliers can make more informed decisions on budgeting and forecasting, the return and recruitment of staff and the adjustments needed in room pricing strategies. Giving hoteliers the ability to access shifts in demand at a macro-level.
The Recovery Trends panel allows users to track global recovery efforts for a six-month period. This feature allows hoteliers to assess how market conditions have changed over time, enabling hoteliers to make informed predictions on industry-wide recovery.
The best asset in navigating successful recovery is accurate, reliable and actionable data. While there is no playbook for the year ahead, utilizing industry-leading data technology tools can allow hoteliers to identify emerging opportunities and prepare them to take advantage of demand as markets continue to rebound.
As the COVID-19 environment rapidly changes, OTA Insight is honored to share the free-to-use Global Market Insight tool, offering hoteliers assistance in developing the fundamental strategies needed for a successful industry recovery - throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Global Market Insight Tool
As the COVID-19 environment rapidly changes, OTA Insight is sharing the free-to-use Global Market Insight tool, offering hoteliers assistance in developing the fundamental strategies needed for a successful industry recovery - throughout the pandemic and beyond.