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Around the World in 80 Words: How are guests travelling in December?

  Posted in Hotel Insights  Last updated 1/12/2023

Almost as quick as a hotel can accept a booking, another year is flying by. The tourism industry is heading into what is traditionally the busiest time of year for travellers and hoteliers alike.

December sees a dramatic increase in bookings as people look to get away for the Christmas holidays or visit friends and family throughout the festive period.

Sojern has released its latest insights into what the global trends might be next month and what kind of booking behaviour we can expect from travellers.

Looking back at July to September, Greece fell off the top 10 most searched countries with the most popular destinations for each region being:

  • Americas: New York City
  • Europe: London
  • Asia-Pacific: Bangkok
  • Middle East and Africa: Istanbul

But let’s head ‘around the world in 80 words’ to look at how guests are planning to travel this December, and what hotels can do to capitalise on those all-important, last-minute bookings.

(Please note in the following: ‘short-haul’ denotes regional travel while ‘long-haul’ denotes inter-regional travel)

How do guests plan to travel in North America?

North Americans are looking to party towards the New Year with Las Vegas the most popular short-haul destination.

Cancun, another popular destination for nightlife is the most searched for long-haul trip. Longer trips overall are the flavour of the month with the average flight search distance by the US jumping to 3,177 miles, up from 2,000 in August.

Travellers in this region are looking to escape before the weekend, Friday being the most popular departure day.

SiteMinder says: For travellers looking to make the most of local attractions, think about offering enticing packages or promotions on their booking to attract guests who may be willing to spend more for a better experience.

How long will travellers book for in Latin America?

This market is getting a head start on other travellers by departing within the first two weeks of December to hit the beaches of Cancun and Miami – although Mexico City and New York City are also popular destinations.

Mid-length trips of 4-7 days will be very popular especially for beach destinations, while other cities are split between short and long trips.

The most common party size is one traveller for both short and long-haul trips.

SiteMinder says:
Many of these guests may be flexible travellers, open to a changing itinerary. Try to boost your revenue by focusing on opportunistic, spontaneous travellers and increase your ADR (average daily rate) with these tips.

What are the popular dates for travel in Europe?

Europeans are departing later in comparison. The most popular dates of departure are the 22nd, 23rd, and 26th December.

Short-haul travellers are heading to London, while jet-setters are visiting Bangkok.

For families and groups, destinations are extremely varied with American locations like New York, Orlando, and Miami featuring heavily.

A common denominator here is the slightly warmer weather they’ll experience.

For regional travellers, short-haul trips are by far the most popular while inter-regional travellers want to go away for 12 days or more.

SiteMinder says:
At such a busy time of year when people are trying to squeeze a trip out of the sometimes minimal time they get off work, it’s a great chance to secure last-minute bookings. Accommodating those guests who haven’t made early plans is good opportunity to push your occupancy level to 100%.

Where are guests in the Middle East & Africa travelling to?

Istanbul is proving the most popular destination for those travelling within their region while the largest contingent of international tourists are heading to London.

A party size of one is even more common within this region, at more than 70%. Trip lengths are quite even between short and long sojourns but surprisingly a medium length stay of 8-11 days is significantly less popular.

Interestingly, if we focus only on Middle Eastern travellers, the Philippines becomes the most popular destination.

SiteMinder says: Travellers from the Middle East and Africa can often be more diverse in the destinations they choose and the type of holidays they take. To ensure your hotel is on their radar you need to amplify your distribution by connecting to a global distribution system (GDS). This will increase your chances of securing bookings from non-traditional methods.

When will guests in Asia-Pacific make their journeys?

Dates of departure in this region are very broad. In Australia the most popular dates are the 16th, 17th, and 23rd December.

For Japan it’s later, with travellers preferring to leave on the 28th, 29th, and the 30th.

Singaporeans plan to travel on the 1st, 16th, and 23rd December. Australians are looking for long trips of 12+ days, while Asian travellers prefer trips of 4-5 days at this time of the year.

This is not unexpected as most locations in the world tend to be long-haul trips for Australians.

SiteMinder says: Given the unpredictable planning behaviour and departure dates, and the tech savvy nature of this region, focus on making your hotel as accessible as possible to mobile search and mobile bookings. This means having a mobile-optimised website and integrated booking engine.

For hotels, it’s always important to understand the nuances of travellers from each region.

How they book, how long they book for, and when they book is going to differ so a strong diversified distribution strategy is needed to attract, reach, and convert the maximum number of guests.



By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of SiteMinder, the only software platform that unlocks the full revenue potential of hotels. With 5+ years of experience in content strategy, Shine has produced informational content across various industry topics, mostly about operations management and continuous improvement. She aims to share well-researched articles for hoteliers to discover how to optimize their time and increase room revenue.


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