The novelty of perfecting the art of baking sourdough bread and binge watching everything on Netflix is long since over. Cocooning, while essential, was a novelty. But now, as travel opens up, we’re ready to travel again—this time with a vengeance!
It’s called revenge travel. And in spite of not being able to travel much before, so many are ready now, causing a surge of business for the hospitality industry. Is your hotel ready?
We broke down revenge travel into nine main trends we’re seeing to help you prepare for the onslaught, along with tips for meeting it head on.
1. Bleisure Travel
You guessed it… business plus leisure equals bleisure! As more people return to work, we see a return to business travel. Even those working remotely are taking opportunities to travel and meet colleagues beyond the Zoom call, face-to-face. Add to that a desire to travel and an escape from the ordinary and you get the bleisure traveler. But what is this market looking for in a hotel?
According to this flexible rentals market report, 68% of properties report an increased demand for extended stays from those looking to work-from-home in a different setting. Those with families are also combining holidays with work, opting to work while away to save those precious vacation days.
The flexible rentals market has prioritized certain amenities in response to this trend, such as high-speed internet (43%), and desk and office space (29%). Hotels can ensure their own rooms have comfortable work spaces, highlighting kitchenette or self-catering options, and providing office services, such as printing. Consider amped up offerings such as co-working spaces, private meeting room rentals, and endless (free) self-serve coffee. In addition to fitness services and fast and reliable internet, this market appreciates hotel tech such as keyless entry and smart room technology that allows guests to personalize and control their stay with their phone.
2. Family and group travel
By summer 2022, family travel is expected to grow by 25%, amounting to approximately 376 million trips in the United States alone. Like everyone, families are seeking new experiences as well as a break from routine and a sense of connection. In fact, according to Tripadvisor’s winter 2021 trend report, the most popular reason at 61% is to visit the homes of family and friends. Knowing this, appeal to families and groups to visit your property for get-togethers.
There will also be an uptick in scaled-back weddings and family reunions. A PMS with group booking functionality will help hotels manage this demand on the backend with the ability to organize reservations into a single group folio, allocate rooms and rates, and manage group contracts, payments and incidental charges. Attract families to your hotel by focusing on family-friendly value adds, stay-and-play packages, and promote self-catering services (if available). For larger groups, consider offering discounts.
3. Big City Life Experiences
When travel initially started opening up again, the greatest driver was to outdoorsy locations but 2022 will send revenge travelers to big cities with a vengeance. Hungry for culture and crowds, Tripadvisor reports that 50% of the top 10 travel destinations are large cities, in particular Las Vegas, New York, and Orlando. Outside of the USA, locations like Paris and Rome are hotspots.
For hotels near or in the middle of big city life, be sure to sell what visitors are looking for with activity packages that get them exploring all the vibrancy that comes with a city center. Maybe that’s an admission to the museum, a historical walking tour, culinary classes, and spa passes.
4. The Great Outdoors Experiences
While people are excited about big cities again, the chance to get out into the big wide open is still of major appeal to travelers. That Tripadvisor top 10 destinations in the USA? The other half were beach destinations, including Myrtle Beach and Ocean City. There’s also an uptick to resort destinations and all-inclusives in Hawaii and Mexico, indicating that people want to get away from it all for some deep relaxation, with perhaps a side of escapism.
Hotels in reach of ski resorts, white water rafting, bungee jumping, cycling tours, and other paid outdoor activities can capitalize by teaming up with local tour operators to offer stay-and-play packages. Help your guests (and your SEO) and promote local activities on your blog so they know all that’s on offer in your region.
5. Road Trips
The majority of travelers in 2022 will travel by road rather than air in the face of continued restrictions and security. With that in mind, continue marketing your hotel to the staycation market. Promoting the unique selling proposition of your hotel (more so than your region) will be important to these guests who are looking for a change of scenery, a short escape, and a comfortable stay.
Little room perks can go a long way for these travelers, such as in-room coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Coupons for room service discounts, movie and popcorn packages, and in-room wine and cheese pairings are a few activity package ideas you can offer during the reservation process or as check-in upsells. Perhaps you can create experiences no one else in town offers, like roof-top marshmallow roasting and outdoor movie showings.
Value adds for road trippers include free parking, and we have seen one hotel offering free car washing and detailing!
6. Flexible Hotel Bookings
Flexible bookings continue to be important to travelers into 2022. With ever-changing regulations and guest confidence levels, you’ll gain trust and loyalty the more flexible you are with your hotel bookings policy, namely cancellations.
Flexible bookings fall under a larger need for a flexible hotel management system during the pandemic and beyond. WebRezPro, for example, can convert cancellations into gift certificates to be used at a later date to reduce lost revenue. You can also streamline your operations further by managing inventory and rates across all your booking channels from one central hub.
7. Sustainable Travel
The year 2022 will see continued increased interest in sustainable travel. Small changes to your operations can make a big reduction to your carbon footprint. While sustainability brings the natural world to mind, hotel technology is helping hotels make changes. From energy efficiency to paperless transactions and keyless entry, a cloud PMS and its many available integrations can help your hotel be more green.
8. Last-minute Travel
While there have always been last-minute bookers, 2022 will see last-minute trips trending. We speculate this is because it’s still difficult to plan ahead right now. According to Tripadvisor, winter 2021 saw 30% of Americans booking travel in advance while 74% were waiting to book at the last minute before committing.
Cater to this trend with last-minute room rates and packages. Segment your email list to send personalized offers, which will garner a better return than sweeping generic offers. While last-minute bookings can help hotels fill rooms, encourage your guests with special offers if they commit sooner. Flexible cancellation policies can also persuade guests to not leave things too late to book.
9. Dream Trips
Perhaps the biggest trend supporting revenge travel is the dream trip. After all those months of armchair traveling, this market has big dreams—and the saved up money and travel credits to support them.
While everyone loves a bargain, you’ll appeal to this group more with value-added amenities and luxuries rather than discounts. If your hotel is in a destination location, play up your offerings that are specific to your area. For example, if you’re situated in a wine region, provide the option to add in-room wine on arrival, book wine tours, and partner with a local restaurant or vineyard for wine pairings and tastings. These guests want to experience their dream trip so be sure to make everything bookable through your one-stop-shop online booking engine.
Is your hotel ready for the wave of revenge travelers? It’s not about appealing to everyone but rather knowing where your hotel fits within the trends and then marketing to relevant segments. Rather than bracing yourself for the impending storm, embrace your guests because you’re prepared—with cloud hotel management software like WebRezPro. Now more than ever, it’s important to streamline your operations to keep up with demands in the face of reduced staffing levels. From the back office to the front desk, WebRezPro streamlines operations so you’re ready for any travel wave.