Many reports in recent years have suggested hotel booking lead times are getting shorter, even though the overall path-to-purchase may be increasing.
A recent report from online travel agent Agoda has served to accentuate these trends. It reveals the time between booking and check-in of guests can be as low as 12 days on average.
Here are the key findings:
Global average lead time is 24 days
Agoda’s insights showed a distinct difference between regions when it came to booking lead times. Many Asian and Middle Eastern nations left it late to complete their reservations:
Shortest lead times by country:
- India – 20 days
- Vietnam – 18 days
- Saudi Arabia – 17 days
- Indonesia – 15 days
- UAE – 12 days
The outlier to that trend is travellers from Hong Kong, who had the longest lead times:
Longest lead time by country:
- Hong Kong – 42 days
- Taiwan – 40 days
- Australia – 40 days
- Russia – 40 days
- Sweden – 38 days
Travellers from the UK book their stay 34 days before they arrive – 10 days over the global average. Other key segments such as Spain and the US fall right on the average at 25 and 23 days respectively.
What can hotels learn from this data?
The general decrease of lead times and the increase of last-minute bookings certainly makes life harder for hotel revenue managers. Planning and forecasting is much easier when there is more time between booking and check-in so it’s a good idea to encourage travellers to book comfortably ahead of time.
Some of the reasons you can use to incentivise longer lead time bookings include:
- Earlybirds get a better selection of properties
- Earlybirds get a better selection of room types
- Earlybirds have more time to cancel and book travel again if plans change
- Earlybirds will have greater opportunity to take advantage of discounts and offers
- Earlybirds give the hotel more chance to personalise their experience
Not to mention travellers who book early will be less stressed and more excited!
How to combat decreasing lead times
When facing the reality of shorter lead times hotels need to be even more focused on data.
It’s so important you have a clear picture of who is coming to stay at your hotel, so you can not only give them an experience that keeps them coming back but also convert future travellers who fit the same mould. Each guest is a unique person requiring a unique conversation.
Finding out who is booking and when also allows your hotel to stagger any marketing campaigns you may have. If you dig deeper and find that older generations book earlier than millennials, you can adjust your promotions as you see fit leading up to particular weekends or holidays. This will help you achieve higher occupancy rates and implement success revenue management practices.
To assist you in this, there are a range of technology solutions out there designed specifically for your hotel.