COVID-19, as well as the growing need for more sustainable options, have caused a shift in the tourism industry, favoring domestic travel.
The desire to travel remains strong, perhaps stronger than ever, but the pandemic has changed the way people travel. We explore what lies ahead and offer advice on what hoteliers should be aware of right now.
One thing is for sure: COVID-19 will be here to stay in 2022, causing uncertainty, drastic travel restrictions and, as a result, cautious bookings and vigilant travel behavior. This year, the emphasis will be on local travel: attractive destinations close to home, accessible by train or car, and will remain high on the priority list.
Therefore, we advise hoteliers to focus their communication on regional offers. Hotels that have already come up with attractive offers in the immediate vicinity of the hotel and targeted locals as potential guests with promotional activities are definitely ahead of the game. “The World at Your Doorstep” will undoubtedly be one of the major trend topics of 2022.
Make local experiences a part of your services
Slogans like #supportyourlocals have been popular on social media in recent months. Even though local companies struggled to stay afloat at the start of COVID-19, the pandemic has reinforced their bonds, with each other and with travellers. Even on holiday near home, staycationers expect genuine and meaningful connections. To capitalize on this trend, highlight your hotel’s offers while connecting to regional partners and businesses, inspiring guests with new experiences. Customer loyalty will increase, guests’ needs and desires will be met, and local companies will thrive.
Money plays a minor role
Uncertainty in holiday planning, frequent trip postponements, and the often lengthy duration of travel have all contributed to a shift in the travel budget’s value. People travel less, more consciously, typically for longer periods of time, and are thus more generous in their spend ー Money plays a secondary role. Revenge Travel is the name given to this overwhelming desire to make up for missed travel time. People want to make each holiday unique and treat themselves to something special. They are looking for new experiences and entertaining activities, as well as doing something for their own well-being and receiving authentic insider tips. Hoteliers should respond to this by approaching visitors with spontaneous offers that meet their needs.
Technology ensures a flexible guest experience
COVID-19 has also had a big impact on hotels’ decisions to accept and use more digital equipment. Modern technology already provides support during travel planning and during the trip too. For example, information can be accessed easily and quite spontaneously at the hotel, and special services can be booked around the clock and with the click of a button. Guests value this convenience and flexibility even more, especially when it comes to social distancing. Furthermore, the use of such technological devices has skyrocketed in the last two years, with good reason. Technological solutions, such as having a digital guest directory, are no longer limited to younger guests; anybody can peruse the offers at their leisure and intuitively book exclusive experiences and products with just a few clicks.
As a result of COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing, many individuals relocated their shopping and travel bookings primarily online. We may expect these practices to have an enduring impact on everyone long after the pandemic has passed and hoteliers can use this to their advantage. What’s more, hotels are seeing a growth in room service orders now placed via the in-room tablet. And this figure will continue to rise.