As case numbers fall to their lowest 7-day average in 12 months, the months ahead feel ever brighter for those of us rooting for the Mexican travel industry, some 450 days since bookings were first disrupted. According to the SiteMinder World Hotel Index, a busy summer period awaits our hoteliers, just reward after a difficult 2020. And in order to help them prepare, I’ve analysed some of the major data points, and broken down the four trends we can likely expect from June through August.
1. The proportion of international guests will be higher than normal, and they’ll stay for longer too
With the success of the United States vaccine program, and strong optimism being felt towards travel and hospitality to the north, Mexico will see more and more American leisure travellers taking advantage of the short flights and increased security that the vaccine has created. To show just how popular parts of Mexico currently are, in a recent report by travel booking site Skyscanner, Cancun rose an incredible 42 spots to fourth in its rankings of the most-searched global destinations between 2019 and 2021.
This June, SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index tells us that international arrivals will make up over 70% of those staying at Mexican hotels, well up from the 48% of international visitors that stayed in June of 2019, and the vast majority of those travellers will be arriving from the US. As vaccinations continue to ramp and as confidence grows, it’s a trend that can be expected to continue through summer.
Our data also shows that the length of stay of Americans travelling to Mexico has grown by 21% when comparing the year leading up to the pandemic first impacting reservations, and the time since the pandemic began. Starved of overseas holidays, many US guests will look to soak up the Mexican atmosphere for as long as they possibly can before returning home this summer.
2. Smaller, less populated locations will continue to attract the most travellers
As we’ve seen through the entirety of the pandemic, in Mexico and around the world, travellers will continue to opt for coastal or regional destinations, rather than head to densely-populated major cities. And for Mexico, it’s the beachside locations that are leading the country’s recovery.
We can see in the World Hotel Index that Playa del Carmen, a coastal resort town in the Riviera Maya is currently at 122% of its 2019 booking volumes, compared to Mexico City which is at just 68%. Through summer, leisure travellers will continue to favour wide open, outdoor spaces, creating more business for those by the sea, as we wait for group and business demand to meaningfully recover.
3. The majority of guests will still be booking just weeks before their arrival date
The explosion of spontaneous travel, spurred by unpredictable changes in restrictions will continue in the summer of 2021 for Mexican businesses. Fifty-four percent of bookings to Mexican hotels in the last two weeks were for stays in either May or June, and only approximately 20% of current, booked stays are for September and beyond. Travellers to Mexican hotels are minimalists when it comes to planning, and the last-minute trend will continue in the months ahead, with many now increasingly used to packing up and heading out the door at extremely short notice.
4. Holidaymakers will continue to demand strict hygiene regimes, and hotels will step up for them across the board
In recent months I’ve constantly heard reports of the great efforts being made by local hoteliers to ensure that their guests feel safe, which has been pleasing to me. It’s a diligence that’s now expected by guests however. SiteMinder’s Changing Traveler Report made clear that for Mexican travellers, well-promoted health and safety practices were the most important factor for 63%, as they decided where to stay. Similarly for Americans, a safe environment was of the greatest importance to the highest number too.
Guests have raised their expectations of hoteliers in the last 14 months. And, this summer, although many travellers will simply be happy to be free of their four walls, many others will want more in terms of not just cleanliness, but service, amenities and experiences too.
I wish you a great summer ahead. Be safe, and I will see you by the pool!