The hotel and leisure market is showing remarkable resilience post-pandemic, with the staycation market set to remain popular.
In a recent white paper published by the global accountancy network focusing on the travel industry, I laid out the key trends and insights across the globe:
- Bold technology developments across the sector with robots being used in place of staff, a wider use of apps by the industry and an increase in self-check in at hotels globally
- An all-time high in hotels opening across Europe with five hotel groups leading the way in constructing new premises
- Strong bounce back from the sector in the US with a high average daily rate (ADR) and the high demand to buy hotels outstripping supply
- Strong domestic tourism in many markets which is likely to continue, especially in the UK
Skills shortage boosts technology usage
With the shortage in staff across the sector, hotels have had to adapt to embrace technology even more with apps being used for self-check and other tasks. Many of these measures were put in place during the pandemic but are now being pivoted to help the sector deal with new challenges.
This will develop further with robots in restaurants and hotels being used to compensate for the 60 million workers the industry has lost.
Despite these staffing issues, around 110,000 new hotel rooms are set to open in 2022 in Europe alone as big brands expand their geographic footprint – while new concepts are being introduced at both the budget and luxury ends of the scale.
Local tourism picking up traction
In terms of travel, whilst the long-haul market will bounce back, the desire to holiday closer to home is something that will remain popular. This is evident in areas such as the UK where there are enough staycation options to accommodate a high volume of demand.
Triggered during the pandemic due to travel restrictions, the holidaying closer-to-home option will continue as people have short memories, and still desire a risk-free holiday.
The worry about last minute cancellations, different rules per country, and the extra paperwork that’s required when travelling abroad, will mean many will decide to stay in the UK.
Globally, a strong rebound in the travel sector is evident across the board, however intra-European travel isn’t as popular and countries are seeing less US group travel.
Additionally, the continuing restrictions in Asia have seen a stop to outbound travel from China, an area that had sparked a huge rise in tourist numbers across the globe in previous years.
In terms of income, the hotel market hasn’t seen price levels crash like those after the financial crisis, in fact most rates are back at pre-Covid levels already and demand is high.
From April to December, visitor numbers jumped by 94.5% compared to the same period in 2020. Europe was the best performing region in terms of growth rate in 2021, registering a 19% uptick in tourist arrivals over the years compared to 2020, with most of the improvement taking place from June to July.
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