With multiple vaccines here, the end of the pandemic is now visible and no longer just a vision or dream. Everyone is ready for a vacation, and the vaccines provide a new sense of optimism to plan trips. Hotels need to consider a plan with strategies on how to capture these travelers. 

Hotels and the hospitality industry should feel optimistic that the recovery stage is here and moving quicker than forecasted for 2021. Here is some positive news with statistics exemplifying we are moving forward rapidly, and consumers are excited to travel again.

1.Traveler Confidence Gains Momentum:

A recent survey put out by Global Business Travel Association shows that after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, 79% of members and stakeholders feel “comfortable” or “very comfortable” traveling for business. It is reassuring to hear discussion around business travel resuming with safety efforts, including a consistent approach to travel restrictions, pre-testing, and the possibility of vaccination passports.

2. #Google: Searches for Travel are Picking Up:

Google reports signs of travel and event interest picking up, with searches for “resorts near me” (80% YOY), “travel to” (100% YOY), and “wedding suite for” (200% YOY) growing. This is the perfect time to utilize your social media platforms to entice and engage with potential clients. By communicating directly through social media, hotels can be more agile in their responses and better able to personify the hotel and brand. With social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, guests are more likely to engage and ask questions after seeing promotions and specials. 

Hotel Action Plan:

There were so many wedding plans changed and canceled in 2020, filling up all high-demand dates for 2021 and beyond. With RFP’s usually happening earlier in the year, be prepared with your online strategies, as brides stream through sites looking for their perfect lodging with a honeymoon suite or added amenities for their special event

3.Vaccines Lead to Surge in Travel Planning:

The next few months show promise of a surge in travel according to Longwoods International’s latest research. Longwoods indicates as many as 81% of Americans plan to travel within the next six months, marking this as the highest rate of travel since March 2020, when the pandemic started.

With this sparked interest in travel, which is anticipated to be especially high this summer, hotels need to have strategies capturing these enthusiastic travelers and adjust revenue optimization tactics as they book. Working closely with your sales teams and keeping a pulse on the competition will be beneficial and key in maximizing rate while driving occupancy.

Hotel Action Plan:

The strategy for hotels is to grow weekend and leisure business across channels and traveler touchpoints. This includes creating packages on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and promoting on your website for weekend vacations and activities, such as a Staycation, Millennial Inspired Outings, Weekend Getaways, Family Getaways, and Special Corporate Extend Your Stay Promo’s to raise awareness of weekend offers and drive bookings. Through social media outreach and email campaigns, marketing these packages will drive both leisure and business travelers to reserve a package or book a stay.

4. Lodging Economics:

According to Lodging Econometrics, the Extended Stay Segment saw tremendous growth long before COVID; in fact, these hotels are responsible for 24% of hotels under construction. Extended Stay Hotels with Choice Hotels and IHG and their brands like Mainstay SuitesSuburban Inn Woodspring SuitesStaybridge Suites® Hotels, and Candlewood Suites®have been the bright spot of the COVID crisis. The extended-stay market’s growth will continue as travelers are accustomed to the mini- kitchenettes and the freedom they offer.

Hotel Action Plan

Hotels need to continue focusing on essential service workers and build relationships for long-term bookings from government agencies. These accounts are now looking for long-term partnerships in mid-size hotels like Comfort SuitesQuality SuitesHoliday Inn, and Hampton Inn, in addition to extended-stay properties. Also, 1440 Multiversity has generated more than $1 million in donations to fund scholarships to provide essential workers time to recover and recuperate. With corporate donations on the rise, hotels should continue working with non-profits and maintain strong relationships with insurance companies. 

5. Corporate and Group Travel is Positive:

As vaccines continue, the earlier projections of a more substantial return of corporate and group business could be seen into the latter half of 2021. Group bookings that were canceled previously are also starting to rebook. Group business is coming back earlier than many industry observers might expect with positive news.  Leisure and transient still make up the greatest demand for Hyatt hotel bookings, with 70% leisure transient and 30% business transient.

6. Meetings Return: 

Recent data put out by Knowland has some good news for hoteliers as meetings are growing in size and corporate meetings are growing in frequency. Next fall’s meeting industry is getting back to full swing. Things are starting to look up and will only continue as more and more people are vaccinated. 

Hotel Action Plan: 

With new car line introductions by luxury car brands, this business type brings new accounts for hotels to prospect. Consider expanding your market share to target this business. Car companies will be looking to test cars in different climates and locations, targeting environments with high heat indexes and humidity, as well as frigid temps and high altitudes. Think about refocusing your efforts to gain this market share, considering the option for corporate training for car companies, engineers, and mechanics.

With these six signs that travel is rebounding with travelers ready to explore this year, hotels must shift their action plans, strategize, and prepare for a fast and furious unleashed stream of bookings starting shortly. Hoteliers need to prepare now and get their no vacancy signs ready to be hung again.