Berlin, Germany – Winter hotel bookings in Portugal have surpassed 2019 numbers for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to data sourced from SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index. On February 7, 2022, Portuguese hotel booking volumes measured 101.93% of those recorded during the same period in 2019 and have remained above pre-pandemic levels since.
The figures come as a result of strong growth in Portugal’s hotel bookings over recent weeks, with hotel booking numbers up from only 61.99% of 2019 levels on January 1, 2022. The growth demonstrates the strength of the Portuguese hotel industry’s quick recovery, both from the disruption caused by the Omicron COVID-19 variant in December and ongoing disruptions over the past year. During this same period last year, Portugal’s hotel bookings were at around just 20% of numbers for the same period in 2019, emphasising the sector’s resilience over the past 12 months.
International travellers remain a major contributor
Significantly, a majority of hotel bookings (73.87%) in February came from international bookers – up from 60.63% at the end of last year.
Of all bookings made with Portuguese hotels during the past two weeks, more than a third (34.69%) are due to arrive this month, 21.53% in April—highlighting the importance of the Easter holidays—12.46% in May, and 24.81% over the summer. Overseas visitors are set to increasingly make up the majority of hotel guests arriving in the coming months, including this month of March (79.36%), April (85.13%) and May (89.21%), suggesting that international guests are booking ahead more than their domestic counterparts.
Portugal outpaces regional recovery
Portugal’s latest figures compare favourably to the average for hotel bookings globally, which sit at 71.77% of booking volumes during this same period three years prior. When compared to 2019, the country’s hotel bookings also register a stronger performance than southern European destinations such as Spain (80.11%), Italy (52.86%) and Malta (46.91%), as well as major northern European markets such as the UK (74.95%) and Germany (55.07%).
André Gois, Country Manager for Portugal at SiteMinder, says: “This positive news confirms Portugal’s strength as a year-round destination and a regional leader, supported by a steady domestic market and a continual flow of international travellers. SiteMinder’s data also reflects a shift away from the last-minute bookings which we saw become the norm over the past two years. Travellers have been increasingly prepared to book ahead, reflecting a renewed sense of security after a prolonged period of shortened guest horizons in the face of the ongoing threat of short-notice travel restrictions.”
Adds Gois: “However, hoteliers must avoid becoming complacent, to ensure they avoid pitfalls, while capitalising on the opportunities available to increase their share of bookings. The guests who hotels are welcoming today are not the same as two years ago. They have higher standards and are accustomed to the integrated, nimble and flexible world of digitally-enabled commerce. To meet these expectations, accommodation providers would benefit from using the latest technology to design and implement holistic hotel commerce strategies, allowing them to offer a consistent customer experience throughout the guest journey, forged by effectively using consumer data to design personalised marketing and products. This also presents ample opportunities for hoteliers to increase revenue, direct bookings, guest monetisation, third-party brand advocacy and loyalty. Those accommodation providers that can embody and surpass the expectations of the evolved hotel guest, will be the ones who can corner the market in this period of travel resurgence.”
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SiteMinder Limited (ASX:SDR) is the world’s leading open hotel commerce platform, ranked among technology pioneers for opening up every hotel’s access to online commerce. It’s this central role that has earned SiteMinder the trust of tens of thousands of hotels, across 150 countries, to sell, market, manage and grow their business. The global company, headquartered in Sydney with offices in Bangkok, Berlin, Dallas, Galway, London and Manila, generated more than 100 million reservations worth over US$35 billion in revenue for hotels in the last year prior to the start of the pandemic.