The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many things in our lives and travel certainly hasn’t been exempt. Now, as we move cautiously towards recovery, we want to help you capitalise on the emerging trends we are seeing in the industry as travellers’ preferences shift in a post-COVID landscape.
1. Maximise your distribution: Full rate mix and competitive rates
With such a vast array of clients and markets ready to kick start a return to normality, it’s vital to have the right rate plans to suit their requirements.
There is a clear link between offering a full rate mix as well as having competitive rates in terms of driving incremental growth in sales and revenue. Suppliers who offer both are able to grow their volumes by more than double, whilst driving an increase of up to 15% in their ADR.
We make sure that our high value clients have access to both dynamic and static rate types – plus vital opaque discounts for the B2B market – and this means we can offer our hotel partners the maximum potential for recovery and growth.
Opaque rate plans in the dynamic space are increasingly important and offer a real opportunity to capture incremental volumes from real closed user and packaging environments.
2. Offer Flexibility: Rate plans and cancellation conditions
The last 12 months have challenged the whole industry and one of the key differences we are now seeing from our booking data is a shift towards customers searching and booking rates that have more flexible conditions.
It’s true that there is still a strong place in the mix for non-refundable rate plans, but our Sourcing teams are strongly recommending that you build into you offer a fully flexible cancellation condition, in response to this emerging trend.
Typically, we see the deepest discounts in the most restrictive rate plans, but COVID has been a game changer so it’s important not to lose customers because of the potential risk of losing or fighting for a refund of their hard-earned money!
3. Capture the shifting booking trends: Ensure availability for both short and long booking windows
Another clear pattern emerging is the change in client behaviour. At both ends of the spectrum, lead times have shortened for some markets and brave last-minute bookers, while many others lead times have increased – with the end customer becoming more focused on booking early for their long-awaited holidays planned for late 2021 and into 2022.
An example of this is a significant increase in demand and searches for Summer 2022 & Winter 2022/23 in both leisure and city destinations. Tour operators, that provide you with high value distribution, are also following this pattern, registering high levels of searches for future seasons.
As a valued partner, it is vital to renew static agreements sooner and ensure dynamic rates plans are open and extended for us beyond the usual 365 days – by up to two years if possible – to help you really capture this shift in the market.
4. Help build customer trust to drive bookings
Consumer confidence is slowly starting to return in many places and demand is starting to come back, but there is still a clear need to give the maximum reassurance possible to guests.
As part of this, our Sourcing teams recommend you focus energy on your product display and communication with the end consumer, showcasing everything you are doing to help keep them safe, happy, relaxed and healthy during their stay with you.
Did you know that all of our partners that have created their own COVID-19 health and safety protocols are eligible to be included in our Safe2Stay distribution filter? This helps customers to search and book with trust and confidence. Remember, if you have information you want to share with consumers, you can add it directly via MaxiRoom.
5. Engage and collaborate with us! Curate your strategy with your Contracting and Yield Managers
Throughout the pandemic our teams have worked as hard as possible to be there for you, providing support, sharing important data and market intelligence and proactively collaborating as we strongly believe being proactive is one of the single most important ingredients to drive the recovery, rather than just waiting and hoping for the best!
At the beginning of 2021, together with the rest of the business, our Sourcing teams have been embracing the new market trends, designing, curating and rolling out new strategic actions designed to respond to the new environment.
Our teams continue to actively reach out to you, our valued hotel partners, but don’t be shy, get in touch if you’d like us to work with you to curate something that’s designed just for you!