Understanding Changing Traveller Booking Behaviours

Understanding Changing Traveller Booking Behaviours


In the fast-paced travel industry, which has undergone unprecendented changes in demand over the last few years, it's important that new and persistent changes to traveller booking behaviours and their impact are kept top of mind. This is especially the case when determining your strategy as a hotel owner to remain visible and competitve.

How Traveller Behaviours Are Changing And Their Impact On Hotel Owners

New Ways To Book Hotels 

The integration of all-new technology within the hotel industry, and travel industry as a whole, has changed many of the ways that end travellers can find, interact with, and ultimately book hotels. Here are just a few examples of rising technology trends in the hospitality industry which hotel owners should consider accommodating to remain competitive and visible alongside and above your competitors.

  • An increase in voice search and voice control - impacting the visibility of hotels in search engines if they are not 'optimised'
  • Rising reliance on AI tech like chatbots to solve traveller queries
  • Virtual reality increasingly used as a marketing technique during the booking process
  • New apps for travel-bank companies like Monkee, flipping the idea of ‘buy now save later’ and instead encouraging customers to purchase from their associated partners and accruing ‘savings’ in a specifically set up bank account for later use.

Ensuring that, as a brand, your hotel(s) can accommodate the increasing demand for new ways for travellers to virtually interact and make reservations, is vital to ensure you're maximising your occupancy and attracting the right guests.

Shifting Seasonal Trends

Today’s traveller is booking trips during off-peak seasons more than ever, as changing working circumstances and an increase in blended travel alter when and how often individuals, and families, can get away. This includes periods before or after the traditional high seasons, and low-demand midweek days. In fact, a recent Vrbo report in 2022 suggested that across rental platforms, there had been a 33% increase in undated searches - highlighting the increasing flexibility of travellers nowadays.

Here, the impact to hotel owners can be significant, because there are more opportunities to increase occupancy during what has been historically considered to be the low season. But it also means that your competitors will be vying for your ideal customers’ attention just as much, which will not only make marketing more expensive due to a more competitive landscape, but means that understanding what is driving your ideal guest to travel, and how your hotel(s) meet these demands, in order to get the attention of your end customer.

It’s also more important than ever to ensure you’re managing your visibility across channels and pricing strategy effectively, to gain even more visibility to a more flexible traveller who is ready to book more of the time. Working with a distribution partner like Hotelbeds is the perfect way to increase your visibility to your ideal audience without impacting your direct channel!  

Remote Working and Extended Stays

Related to the aforementioned shifting 'peak' seasons, is the undeniable trend of remote working and the blending of 'business' and 'leisure' trips seen most notably in the last few years. And with 44% of families suggesting they would work remote in the future - in a recent Vrbo survey - and a significant increase in demand for trips with a 21-30 day travel window, remote working is drastically change the capacity of many travellers’ for extended stays and blending travel. Google also recently suggested however that one of the biggest pain points for end customers is faulty internet, which is a major concern for hoteliers and one that should be analysed in full before you begin to advertise yourselves to this fast-growing audience.

The decrease in distinction between ‘business’ and ‘leisure’ trips means that hotels must accommodate an increasingly flexible traveller, with more complex needs as the delineation between historically clear travel motives and availability patterns is becoming smaller. This also means that hotel owners must be able to adjust your pricing and marketing strategies to accommodate a traveller who is ready to book more often.

We also discuss in more depth the impact that remote working is having on the hotel industry in particular in our article on some of the best remote working destinations for 2023, and how hotel owners can appeal to this fast-growing audience even if your hotel isn’t based in these in-demand destinations.

Shrinking Booking Windows 

Over the last two years, the lead time for booking trips in many markets has significantly lowered, as many travellers have become hesitant to book far in advance in case their plans are disrupted by travel restrictions or unexpected changes to a country’s status as open to international travellers. This shorter booking window has remained, with bookings dropping off across global markets more than three months from the travel date and an average eight to twelve week booking window remaining prevalent.

However, shorter booking windows do not necessarily come with a negative impact. It gives hotels a chance to connect with an astute type of traveller, utilising profiles built up with historical customer loyalty and customer data to provide a personalised experience for guests who are becoming more accustomed to making more direct decisions, based on interactions either with a bespoke booking agent, or the hotel themselves.

This means that hotels must adopt a dynamic, adaptable pricing structure in order to maintain revenue streams and attract this flexible traveller - especially those hotels in high-volume city destinations. 

Catering for variable demand and a traveller who enjoys creating personal connections with their travel provider also means that hotels who partner with a distribution company like Hotelbeds can increase their exposure to final guests through retail agents and providers like wholesalers and tour operators, as well as access a powerful extranet system that allows you to quickly and easily change your hotels’ availability and prices across multiple rate and room types.

Register your property today to partner with us and access time-saving solutions to boost your success!

Big-Ticket Trips & Micro Travel

Long-haul travel opportunities are very much back on the market for travellers, especially in countries like the UK which has seen 80% of respondents to a recent Accor survey suggest their travel budgets are 39% higher than in 2019. While in the USA, around 68% of travellers want to take a ‘major trip’ to European and Asian destinations in the next year.

Contrastingly, booking trends over the last two years have also shown a rise in micro travel, or short-distance travel, within a three-to-four hour drive of a travellers’ primary place of residence. One of the more significant rises in popularity has included eco-lodges, boutique properties in rural areas and smaller towns compared to city-based hotels. This feeds into the long-standing booking trend within the past two years where travellers are increasingly seeking to escape crowded areas. 

Sustainability As A Core Decision Maker

Traveller behaviours are changing with regards to the 78% of travellers who will stay in sustainable hotels at least once during 2023, which brings its own list of considerations such as decreased occupancy, lower revenue and decreasing reputation in an increasingly eco-conscious industry. 

But the necessity of sustainability for hotel owners also means that being able to attract this long-term audience is critical to keeping your revenue stream steady while simultaneously reducing your outgoings as a result of enhanced operations. Rising energy costs are seeing 80% of European hoteliers citing this as a major concern, and 80% of UK hospitality businesses seeing a significant and detrimental impact on their profits as a result. The impact is two-fold on hotels: how much business is brought in from conscious-minded travellers and the profits of hotels as a whole due to increasing costs, so the need for sustainable and technology-driven solutions is more important than ever.

We explore the importance of sustainability and more changing travel considerations in our guide to top travel trends for hotel owners.

How To Meet These Changing Needs As Hotel Owners

Improve Your Distribution & Leverage Data

One of the best ways of ensuring that your hotel is put into the hands of your ideal guests as much as possible, is by having an effective, optimised distribution strategy. While this is achievable using a dedicated in-house channel manager, much of the time this position can be neglected for the more practical aspects of running a hotel - especially for channel managers who also perform other necessary roles within independent hotels.

In this way, working with a dedicated distribution partner like Hotelbeds means your hotel is receiving the expert support and hotel marketing solutions that it deserves. What's more, our clients are given access to an expert account manager, who is responsible for keeping you and your team abreast of the latest industry trends, revenue opportunities tailored to your particular market and ideal guest, as well as identifying areas for improvement within your current rates or availabilities that could boost occupancy. This is all without competing with your direct channel strategy. 

With access to thousands of global travel distributors including retail travel agents and tour operators in hard-to-reach source markets, and an extensive portfolio of ancillary products such as transfers, experiences and car rentals, Hotelbeds have a far-reaching network which facilitates more connections than ever between hotel owners such as yourselves, travel bookers, distributors and the final traveller. 

Register your property today to start scaling your success with us.
Log into your account to begin monitoring the opportunities we’ve identified for you.


Leverage Travel Technology & Business Data

Considering that 2022 and 2023 saw wide-scale labour shortages within the travel and tourism industry, one of the best ways to ensure you’re remaining highly-effective as a hotel while catering to changing traveller booking behaviours, is by providing efficiencies for staff wherever possible. 

Implementing travel tech could look like working with a distribution partner like Hotelbeds to optimise your channel management, or onboarding a new revenue management system to streamline operations and maximise income. Utilising business data could be connecting the many silos of data that exist in the hospitality industry, rather than just focusing on ‘big data’, to understand what’s driving your travellers, and what will make them come back.

The wise hotel brands are beginning to leverage forward-looking data into their strategy, as it’s no longer enough to build a hotel revenue strategy from purely historic data, considering that for the past several years the consumer landscape has been an unprecedented space.

Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all solution to changing traveller behaviours but improving your distribution strategy is one of the most effective methods of ensuring that your hotel or hotel chains are seen by in-market travel distributors, and therefore more end travellers!

Register your property today to access our global network of travel distributors and boost your occupancy.
Log in to your account today and begin taking your success even further.


2023 Travel Trends For Hotel Owners
Travel Trends 2023 Ebook cover

Discover what travel trends are shaping the industry for 2023, and how as hotel owners you can ensure you're keeping ahead of these changing demands. 

Our Travel Trends 2023 guide provides a useful overview of:

  • What factors are motivating travelers in 2023
  • What traveler profiles are shaping the year's trends
  • How you as hotel owners can meet the needs of these travelers
  • Destinations to watch for 2023 travel


Download Now