Summer travel is hot, hot, hot as travel continues to rebound. Guests are more ready than ever to spend their saved-up travel dollars in what some are calling a revenge travel trend. And in the face of a future that feels uncertain overall, travelers are looking for an experience of a lifetime. Keep reading for this summer’s hottest trends along with tips on what you can do to bring droves of travelers to your hotel.
Summer 2022 trends are a culmination of what we’ve seen grow over the last couple of years in response to the pandemic, remote work, and a yearning to return to travel.
Remote work continues. While business travel usually dips during summer due to summer vacations, expect workation travel to continue throughout the warmer months. When remote employees can work from any location, working from a vacation location is enticing, especially for those who are tired of staring at their own walls. To appeal to this market, advertise your business amenities—from in-room desks and charging stations to onsite coworking spaces—combined with your leisure offerings.
There are pet-friendly hotels and then there are pet-positive hotels—the latter tapping into the pet-adoption pandemic trend. More households than ever have a new furry family member they want to take with them on their travels. Tap into this trend by adding flair to your pet amenities. Owners feel extra welcome with pampered pet perks that include food and water dishes and treats, plus a map of local pet amenities, from dog parks to pet stores. Stand-out pet offerings could earn you free PR on social media from your four-legged guests (or at least their owners).
Sell the Experiential
People are returning to travel for the experience. Meet your guests where they’re at by highlighting the unique experience they can expect at your hotel and your regional travel destination.
Right now, statistics show that as many as 48% of guests are seeking outdoor activities, likely in response to increased screen use over the pandemic. But whether you’re in a region known for the great outdoors or a large urban tourist destination, highlight how your hotel is situated within all your region offers. You can leverage this through your blog posts and website content, which should all be geared toward the experience side of things.
It’s also time to refresh your images and content around your summer story so guests can clearly imagine themselves at your hotel this summer.
Upsell Packages and Add-on Perks
Summer 2022 brings guests looking to level up their travel experiences and use their saved-up travel budget from the last couple of years. Travelers are interested in fulfilling their bucket lists and—with a future that’s still uncertain—making dreams come true now, not later. Help your guests maximize their enjoyment and expand their experience with hotel packages and add-ons that allow for customization—while growing your bottom line in the process.
At check-in, offer perks that are aligned with your guest segments, such as chilled champagne, activity packages, plush robes to take home, luxury toiletries, a snack basket, room upgrades (including higher-level rooms with the best views).
Sustainable and Ethical Travel
While trending before the pandemic, interest in sustainable travel has amped up over the last two years. According to Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report, 83% of global travelers believe sustainable travel is vital—61% of which feel the pandemic increased their desire for sustainable travel.
Increasing your sustainability initiatives has broad appeal, will increase your bottom line through energy (and cost) savings, and is simply good for the earth. It’s a win, win, win. Initiatives can be as simple as requesting guests reuse towels or as involved as tapping into alternative energy sources. Whatever initiatives you adopt or already have in place, be sure to share the information with guests so they can make informed decisions about where to stay.
Guests also appreciate hotels that give back to the communities they operate within. Consider partnering with local businesses for promotions and packages, sponsoring youth teams, and giving to charity. Looking at trends in other countries can give you insight into what might be coming locally so you can get a head start. For example, Scotland introduced free period care in all public washrooms as they do toilet paper. Being the first hotel in your city or state to offer such thoughtful conveniences as a standard is not only the right thing to do but can bring you positive (and free) PR as well.
Summer 2022 Hotel Marketing
Of course, once your summer initiatives are all in place, you have to let your target market know. Check out our recent article about how to make your hotel shine online for an overview of online marketing musts for hotels. There are a few trending hotel marketing tactics to take special note of this summer:
- Short-form videos for TikTok and Instagram Reels have been hot for a while and this will continue through the summer, so get creating for your hotel. The best part is that this is a low-cost strategy with high organic reach potential, which is rare in social media these days.
- Snapchat has announced dynamic travel ads. The platform’s demographic is mainly Millennials and Gen Zs, 76% of whom are making plans to travel this year, according to Snapchat. Boasting advanced targeting, Snapchat can pull images directly off your accommodation catalog and serve them up to relevant users.
- Search for travel on Google has skyrocketed, making Google Ads appealing. But increased searches translates to higher cost per click for paid ads, which is up 50% globally year over year. There are opportunities for those skilled in Google Ads with smart bidding but for others it could be an expensive solution. If you aren’t already, take advantage of Google’s free booking links.
- Over the last year, hotels have worked hard to earn direct bookings since OTA commissions make lean margins even leaner. As a result, Expedia recently announced that they will increase their marketing spend by 150% to take back some of that business. The move demonstrates their confidence in a growing travel market. For hotels, it’s important to refresh your content on all your booking channels and respond to reviews since 81% of guests read reviews before booking a hotel.
Streamline Hotel Operations for the Summer Season
Hotels are facing two challenges to operations this summer—unpredictable booking numbers and staffing shortages. Last-minute bookings have been trending in 2022 due to the unpredictable nature of travel restrictions and personal illness. This will continue into the summer but it makes it difficult for hoteliers to plan.
All trends are pointing to healthy travel demand but finding and retaining staff is a trend that, while not unique to the travel industry, is placing a burden on an industry reliant on service excellence.
Get set for summer and beyond with property management software (PMS) that helps with staffing issues and reduces pressure on frontline employees by automating administrative tasks—from online bookings to automated transactional emails to contactless check-ins, helping guests bypass the front desk altogether.
Get Ready, Get Set…
Travel is back and this summer is expected to be a hot one. If you haven’t seen the bookings roll in yet, remember last-minute bookings are trending. If your calendar is not looking as full as you’d like, be sure to address the summer travel trends that are relevant to your property. Then, get ready to meet demand by streamlining your operations with automated property management software like WebRezPro. It’s going to be a great summer!