Global hotel rates declined significantly during the height of the pandemic and are expected to rise 13% in 2022 according to the GBTA CWT Global Business Travel Forecast 2022.
While resort hotels have so far led the recovery, hotels in urban centers languished and markets largely dependent on business travel, business events, and group bookings have seen weak recovery thus far. The recovery path for these markets is likely to be greater than 24 months. While uncertainty remains, here are three trends that are here for the long run.
Increased interest in sustainability
Unlike air travel which has a consistent, easy to determine and measurable carbon footprint there is no industry-wide international standard for hotels, which currently self-report. This makes it impossible for the travel manager to incorporate hotel data into their corporate sustainability program.
“Sustainability is front and centre in our client’s thought process. There are fantastic initiatives being delivered by hotels on this front, but the imperative now is for the industry to come together and agree a global standard,” says Patrick Andersen, President and Chief Commercial Officer, CWT, “today, how hotel sustainability translates to measurable data is more art than science.”
There are, however, meaningful steps that travelers can take such as reducing the number of one-night trips, re-using amenities, towels and sheets and making environmentally-friendly dietary decisions.
Lower staffing levels
Getting back to pre-Covid staffing levels and managing costs at lower occupancy rates will continue to be a challenge for the hotel sector through 2022. General managers will be balancing staff levels with the need to meet traveler’s expectations around service levels, what amenities will be open and the type of food and beverage offering that will be available. This will vary from property to property. Communicate with travelers about what to expect and what potential impact there may be on pre-negotiated service level agreements.
When travel managers put safety and comfort of employees at the top of their Covid-19 duty of care checklist some looked beyond the traditional hotel offering to serviced apartments. Providing a reassuring stay-at-home-feel, control of one’s own environment and minimal contact with other guests, the attraction of this type of offering may continue into 2022 and beyond. Research by HRS Longstay showed 39.2% of all business trips in 2021 are eight plus nights or longer. Long stays of two weeks plus are of most interest to providers while some travelers are likely to combine two shorter trips into a longer one to meet sustainability and cost-cutting requirements.