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Global bookings surpass 50% YoY for the first time since March

By Mike Ford, Founder and Managing Director at SiteMinder


This past March was a month that many of us are unlikely to ever forget. It seems like yesterday I was watching in disbelief as hotel bookings plummeted from around 50% YoY to below 10% YoY.

Four months on, hoteliers in many pockets of the world can find some comfort that booking volumes have surpassed mid-March levels for the first time. On 2 July, hotel bookings globally tipped over to 50.51% of 2019 levels to mark a key milestone as we all look to bounce back from this crisis together.

As I write this, 14 countries across Europe, Asia and the Pacific now outperform the global average of 52.52% YoY in hotel booking volumes. Norway currently leads the growth, with volumes at 89.13% YoY, followed by Ireland, at 81.33% YoY, and then Malaysia, at 79.56% YoY. All three countries have now remained in the first stage of hotel booking recovery—Domestic Acceleration—for more than a month.

Meanwhile, in the Americas, the United States remains in the stage of Destabilisation and is unlikely to progress to International Acceleration anytime soon. With increasing cases of coronavirus, international arrivals at U.S. hotels now constitute less than 10% of all guest arrivals for the fourth consecutive month as further proof of the value of local holidaymakers in the current climate. Indeed, in Canada, international guest arrivals may be down 80% from last year’s volumes, but hotel bookings have risen steadily over the last six weeks to reach 47.05% YoY, driven by domestic trips.

Without doubt, we are witnessing a surge in domestic travel worldwide, led by South-East Asia. Domestic guest arrivals this month have more than quadrupled (316%) YoY in Cambodia and tripled (202%) in Vietnam. While domestic guest arrivals this month are up 196% YoY in Thailand, the country’s cautious reopening to certain foreigners, including business travellers, could tip the domestic/international balance very soon. Within Europe, domestic guest arrivals this month have more than tripled YoY in Denmark (262%) and Malta (247%).

Speaking of Malta, it’s our fastest riser this week, having jumped from 31.12% YoY to 44.43% YoY, to represent 42.77% WoW growth after it was revealed that active cases of COVID-19 in the country had been reduced to ten.

While previously-lifted pandemic measures have been reinstated in the city of Leicester, they weren’t enough to send the UK to the Deceleration or Plateau stage of hotel booking recovery. The UK is our second fastest riser this week, with hotel booking volumes that rose 24.54% WoW to 39.53% YoY, and the Domestic Acceleration is likely to continue for some time yet.

Other quick risers this past week included Malaysia (21.49% WoW growth), Ireland (18.99% WoW growth) and France, which has continued to climb steadily to 65.78% of last year’s hotel booking volumes. While domestic travellers may be driving the growth, the reopening of France’s borders to countries outside the EU this month has had a positive impact on the domestic and international business mix of local hotels. International tourists currently contribute a third of all hotel guest arrivals in France, but the World Hotel Index tells us that that contribution will grow to more than half (54.9%) by September. Could International Acceleration be around the corner?

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