Staying at hotels and COVID-19: what changed?
Travel addicts are longing for the next vacation out of our home town. But the pandemic affected our way of considering our holidays. We are wondering how to combine a stay at hotels and COVID restrictions, our travel plans changed and are shaped by our concerns, the local measures and global recommendations. Here are the main customer expectations towards hotel stays.
Guests are less inclined to stay at large branded hotels
Most of us have been forced for social distancing for long weeks (or even months). Travel was as well restricted, sometimes in the same country. Thus, our immediate preference is to reconnect with loved ones.
This is what our survey is telling us. Comparing preferred accommodation before the pandemic and now, small and boutique hotels are proven resilient to the change: approximately 50% of the travellers consider the intimate small properties in their preferred type of accommodation.
Branded and chain hotels are hit hard by the pandemic as the travellers’ preference dropped by 10pp, in favour of staying with family and friends.
Guests will spend more time to chose the right hotel and prefer direct bookings
Travellers expressed the importance to gain the right information at the time of the booking as confusion and complexity were increasing. The proportion of travellers who would book directly with the hotel have tripled though (up to 22%) while using an online platform dropped by 15pp.
Travelling post-COVID is different. Although restrictions may be eased, everyone knows the experience will be different from the imposed sanitary protocols. Thus most of us (54%) would spend more time doing some pre-travel homework to find the right accommodation.
The right accommodation is not necessarily more expensive, though. While a third of the travellers are willing to spend more to ensure a smoother experience, 39% consider the post-COVID experience as “valuable” as in the past. These proportions present a big opportunity for hoteliers to re-segment their audience and attract the right guests with the most appropriate offer.
Flexible booking policies and strict hygiene measures are essential
While the choice of the hotel is lead by the location, both measures and the cancellation policies are considered as very important criteria to book a hotel in this time of the pandemic. Travelers expect to be offered flexible cancellation conditions by hotels and COVID related rebooking policies. These policies are now considered as the main criteria to select their hotel, along with the unbeatable location.
Hotels are also expected to communicate about their hygiene and safety measures. Most Travelers consider social distancing measures, sanitization protocols as a mandatory requirement that accommodation should comply within these times of pandemic.
About this survey
The Boutique Vibe asked their followers about their hotel’s preference. More than 400 travelers from 52 countries, replied about their travel perspectives and accommodation preferences in a “post-COVID” world.