Along with the third wave of the COVID pandemic and its deadly toll on the global population at an unprecedented rate, even the greatest optimists started rethinking their plans. After such a positive summer and autumn of 2020, it was a shock to be confronted with those drastic images from India, which hit us in early 2021. The world was in the middle of vaccination program rollouts, but the virus was not going away and would not let up. It mutated and often re-attacked people who had once won the battle. No one knew if the world we knew before had a chance of coming back.We had so many positive indicators. Photos and videos of open restaurants in Israel with people packed tightly together showed us that it could be the same in our own countries when the steep curves of infection and death level out and finally flatten.Vaccine manufacturers struggled to meet the enormous demand and distribution problems began to arise, bringing some programs to a halt. Some vaccines brought about severely undesirable effects and were banned by some countries. It was a bumpy road for a while, until the culmination of the current state of affairs where vaccination programs are in full swing, and global herd immunity just around the corner.ANIXE Insights have been observing the growth in bookings coming through our Resfinity Platform, growing every week. Last week of May, ANIXE received and passed forward to its supplier partners over 12,000 bookings, a level of production we haven’t seen since January of 2020.More destinations open up for tourists by the day, and believe it or not some destinations are operating at over 75% capacity, however with COVID measures in place. For as long as these regulations are in place, our best-case scenario is around 50% of 2019 figures. Specifically, hotels are not allowed to operate at 100% occupancy, only 50%.New, attractive offers appear in travel agencies and almost immediately sell out. Popular hotels and destinations are becoming more and more challenging to book. Many of us are putting everything aside and planning our vacations on short notice. Right now. We fear that if we don’t book now, it’ll only get more expensive later. As we make that booking, whether on or offline, we take a deep breath…this time without the mask. It’s like old times again. The same adrenaline. The same excitement. The same anticipation. Here we go!Within our client base, bookings grew in May we think as the infection and death rate were slightly weaker than in April and February. June shows a very healthy growth trend with bigger increases week on week to date. Bookings sold in May this year have already reached 52% of those sold in May 2019. In Germany, May 2020 bookings represent 60% of the bookings produced in May 2019.What is worth emphasizing – the scale of booking growth between May and April is 220%! Impressively significant. And decisively a touristic breakthrough! Houston, we’ve just landed on Mars.As lockdowns are removed and restrictions begin to loosen, international travel begins to resume. We’ve started to travel shorter distances, often with our own mode of transport. In May, the Germans decided on Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Egypt. Slightly more interest grew for local destinations. However, their share in relation to the scale of overall reservations remained still at a much lower level (a decline of more than 37%) than before the pandemic.Compared to April, Greece in particular attracted significantly more interest, and its share of bookings exceeded the numbers from 2 years ago by 2,5 multiples. Although there is a sizable 40% drop in the overall share of Egypt, May numbers exceeded April by more than 120%. The drop in Egypt’s bookings is due to the increased popularity of Greece and Italy.On the other hand, Italy and the USA, destinations that were among the most popular in May 2019 seem to be still the most affected by the government regulations and bans against travel. Nevertheless, May’s result shows that vacations in Italy are becoming popular again.The coming summer has encouraged German travelers to make reservations in the popular Spanish resorts; Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas, Puerto del Rosario. The Turkish resorts of Antalya and Gazipasa were also highly-rated, but the most significant increase of interest was on the Greek beaches of Heraklion, Rhodes, Kos, and Chania.Drilling down to city level, In April 2021 Hurghada, Puerto del Rosario, and Las Palmas also enjoyed tremendous popularity, although their share decreased significantly later. We see similar trends with the hotspots of May 2019. Demand for bookings to London, Las Vegas, Rome, domestic areas of Berlin, and Frankfurt fell significantly, and their booking share in ANIXE’s Resfinity dwindled. The top destinations were stable: Palma de Mallorca and Antalya. Their share in Mays’s bookings was even higher, although on disproportionately lower volumes.The four most popular destinations in May 2021 for German travelers are Hurghada, Side, Dubai, and Istanbul.The most significant percentage slump was in Dubai, whose share in bookings dropped fourfold in May. Noteworthy, Dubai, Istanbul, and Hurghada’s share of all bookings were lower than in April, their quantitative volume did not weaken – in fact, it was at a similar level or even increased by 120% as for the latter place!In contrast to the situation in April 2021, where trips of up to two days were very popular, May 2021 has proven to be a harbinger of change. The state of the receding pandemic contributed to this. Last month, 7-8 day bookings were the most popular, while the share of 1-2 day bookings decreased slightly – although quantitatively, it remains high.Online meetings have replaced business travel – this is a fact. The new reality is visible in numbers compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. The percentage of bookings of up to 4 days stay, which reigned supreme in then, is now 50% lower on average than half that value, and has given way to slightly longer leisure trips.Nevertheless, data from ANIXE’s Resfinity Platform shows that we feel safer. We are finally starting to formalize and execute holiday plans. We are most willing to buy offers more than two months in advance. Spontaneous reservations are less popular, although recently there has also been a growing interest in trips made 8-14 days in advance.While people can do business online, the hunger for leisure travel is reaching a breaking point. This is evident if we compare the latest figures with those of 2 years ago. We have a more than 20 percent decline in the share of single-person reservations (30% just in the last month). Still, there clearly is a growing demand for last-minute trips. Learning from last year, we prefer not to wait. Might be disasters down the road. Let’s travel while we can.ANIXE’s data shows that Covid-19 has also influenced certain changes in eating habits compared to the situation in 2019/2021 the proportion of reservations with a more inclusive meal plan – AIP (All Inclusive Plus), AIU (All Inclusive Ultra), AI (All Inclusive) – has increased significantly. At the same time, the share of bookings with BB (Bed and Breakfast), SC (Self-Catering), and RO (Room Only) decreased by 40% on average. Tour operators, agencies, and OTAs aren’t accountable for the health and safety of restaurants outside the hotels.As for pricing, after long stagnation due to lockdowns and a decline in demand for hotels, prices have begun to rise again. In May 2021 the surge began. Nevertheless, they are still slightly lower than just two years ago. Interestingly, we are now spending significantly more, by an average of 50% more than at that time, for a single booking, primarily related to the recent decline in business and incentive travel.Last year’s data and this year’s direction, which has been consistently confirmed month after month, has clearly shown that the travel market has the potential to regenerate quickly. Demand for backlogged travel is vast. People no longer want to wait. They want to enjoy adventures, experiences and exploration.What awaits us soon? It promises to be a pleasant summer and an uncertain fall.People willing to travel are growing by the number every day. More and more countries are opening up to tourists again. Nothing left but to get vaccinated with a second dose and fly.How fast will the tourism sector continue to grow? Which countries and resorts will offer the best deals for tourists? We look forward to bring you more data and more insights.
Tourism driving Jamaica’s economic recovery since reopening
KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that since its reopening in June 2020, the tourism sector has been driving the economic recovery of Jamaica’s economy, through a steady increase in arrivals and tourism earnings. Minister Bartlett expressed that “preliminary figures indicate that since the reopening of the tourism sector on June 15,…
KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that since its reopening in June 2020, the tourism sector has been driving the economic recovery of Jamaica’s economy, through a steady increase in arrivals and tourism earnings. Minister Bartlett expressed that “preliminary figures indicate that since the reopening of the tourism sector on June 15, 2020, Jamaica has recorded a total of 816,632 stopover visitors and generated earnings of approximately US$1.31 billon (J$196 billion), over the one-year period.” “The earnings from the sector included US$1.2 billion in visitor expenditure; US$28 million in departure taxes; US$19.5 million in passenger fees and charges; US$16.3 million in airline passenger levy; US$8.5 million in hotel room taxes and US$8.1 million in airport improvement fees,” he explained. He emphasized that this is further proof that the tourism sector is on a steady path to recovery. Minister Bartlett adds that “for the current calendar year, the Tourism Ministry is reforecasting to deliver 1.61 million visitors against an earlier estimate of 1.15 million, an improvement of 460,000 more visitors.” “Tourism recovery is on the horizon. Our tourism sector is rising like a phoenix from the ashes. This more positive outlook for 2021 will also improve the destination’s estimate of earnings from US$1.6 billion to US$1.93 billion, an improvement of US$330 million,” said Bartlett.The Minister credits this improvement, in part, to the development of robust health and safety protocols for the sector as well as the establishment of the Tourism COVID-19 Resilient Corridors, which have seen a very low infection rate of 0.6%. He also noted that the measures enabled Jamaica to welcome some 342,948 tourists during the first five months of this year (January to May).He indicated that estimated earnings, for the period January 2021 to the end of May 2021 is US$514.9 million or roughly J$77 billion. “May 2021 showed a remarkable increase in visitor arrivals and overall stopover arrivals, increasing steadily from mid-month consistently to the end of the month. Load factors recorded for May 2021 averaged 73.5%, this is against the forecasted 50% average load factor for 2021, 9.3% less than the 83.1% load factor achieved in May 2019,” he explained. The Ministry remains cautiously optimistic of cruise passengers starting to return around July/August. The first cruise out of North America to the Caribbean took place very recently and that has heightened expectations of more setting sail soon.
World’s top hotel brands lose nearly $23 billion in brand value
As holidays are cancelled and people are instructed to work from home, the hospitality sector has reached an almost complete standstill both from tourism, as well as corporate travel. As a result, the total value of the top 50 most valuable hotel brands has decreased 33% year-on-year, down from US$70.2 billion in 2020 to US$47.4…
As holidays are cancelled and people are instructed to work from home, the hospitality sector has reached an almost complete standstill both from tourism, as well as corporate travel. As a result, the total value of the top 50 most valuable hotel brands has decreased 33% year-on-year, down from US$70.2 billion in 2020 to US$47.4 billion in 2021, according to the latest Brand Finance Hotels 50 2021 report.Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance, commented: “The hotels sector has completely ground to a halt over the previous year, the repercussions of which are demonstrated by the sharp brand value declines for almost all of the top 50 most valuable hotel brands. The sector is a resilient one, however. As the world begins to open back up again, we are already witnessing a strong improvement in bookings and occupancy levels across the board, showcasing the strength of brands despite the turmoil of the last year.”Hilton retains top spotHilton once again is the world’s most valuable hotel brands, despite recording a 30% drop in brand value to US$7.6 billion. While Hilton’s revenue has taken a significant hit since the outbreak of the pandemic, the brand is showing confidence in its growth strategy, announcing a further 17,400 rooms to its pipeline, bringing the total to over 400,000 new rooms planned – an uplift of 8% on the previous year. Hilton also boasts the most valuable hotel portfolio, with its seven brands that feature in the ranking reaching a total brand value of US$13.8 billion.Hilton’s rival, Marriott (down 60% to US$2.4 billion), has dropped down to 5th spot from 2nd, after losing more than half of its brand value. Last year, the brand’s worldwide revenue available per room was down 60% from 2019 and global occupancy was just 36% for the year.Hyatt checks into 2nd spotBucking the sector trend as one of only two brands in the ranking to record brand value growth is Hyatt (up 4% to US$4.7 billion). Despite the pandemic impacting its performance greatly, Hyatt’s net rooms growth has been strong, opening 72 hotels and entering 27 new markets. Furthermore, the brand has continued to execute new signings to maintain its pipeline, which represent over 40% growth of existing hotel rooms in the future.Taj is sector’s strongestIn addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. According to these criteria, Taj (brand value US$296 million) is the world’s strongest hotel brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.Renowned for its world-class customer service, the luxury hotel chain scores very well in our Global Brand Equity Monitor for consideration, familiarity, recommendation, and reputation especially across its home market of India. Taj’s successful implementation of its 5-year plan – which focuses on selling non-core assets, becoming less ownership driven and reducing dependence on the luxury space – followed by the speedy adoption of its new R.E.S.E.T 2020 strategy, which provides a transformative framework to help the brand overcome the challenge of the pandemic, has contributed to the brand’s re-entrance into the ranking for the first time since 2016 in 38th spot.Brand Finance Leisure & Tourism 10 2021Alongside analysing the world’s most valuable hotel brands, Brand Finance also ranks the top 10 most valuable brands in the wider leisure & tourism industry. This year, the total value of the world’s top 10 most valuable leisure & tourism brands has declined by 40%.Despite booking.com recording a 19% brand value loss to US$8.3 billion, it has overtaken Airbnb (down 67% to US$3.4 billion) and Trip.com Group (down 38% to US$3.5 billion) to become the most valuable leisure & tourism brand in the world. The fastest falling brand this year, Airbnb, cut a quarter of its workforce last year, and was forced to scale back on new initiatives that it had in the pipeline, including luxury resorts and flights.Happy Valley (down 37% to US$1.2 billion) is the sector’s strongest brand, with a BSI score of 84.1 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA- brand strength rating.Three new entrants in rankingThere are three new entrants into the ranking this year, AMC Theatres (brand value US$1.8 billion) in 7th, Priceline (brand value US$1.5 billion) in 8th, and Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town (brand value to US$1.3 billion) in 9th.The world’s largest cinema chain, AMC, has struggled as cinemas were shut amid global lockdowns. The brand will be hoping their fortunes will reverse as customers slowly start to return to the big screen and blockbusters that have been delayed are finally released. The three new entrants have pushed out three cruise brands, which have dropped out the ranking this year: Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise, and Carnival Cruise Lines.Brand Finance Hotels 50 2021 reportLeisure & Tourism 10 2021 ranking
Hotel industry updates mask guidance for vaccinated hotel employees
WASHINGTON – The following is a statement from Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), on easing face covering and physical distancing requirements for hotel employees in response to updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance.“In response to increasing vaccination…
WASHINGTON – The following is a statement from Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), on easing face covering and physical distancing requirements for hotel employees in response to updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance.“In response to increasing vaccination rates across the country and of our workforce, and consistent with CDC and OSHA guidance, the hotel industry supports vaccinated employees being given the choice whether to continue wearing face coverings, in accordance with state and local laws. This change in policy for vaccinated employees is a result of our industry’s ongoing commitment to encourage vaccinations and a recognition of all employees who have received a vaccine. “Additionally, we ask that all guests and employees, vaccinated or not, respect and honor these revised guidelines. AHLA previously announced that fully vaccinated guests are no longer required to wear face coverings or practice physical distancing, in accordance with CDC guidance.“Unvaccinated employees and guests should continue to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing at all times in common areas of the hotel facility. It is also important to note that employees and guests, including those who are vaccinated, are welcome to wear a face covering if that is their personal preference.“Above all, employee and guest safety remain our top priority. Throughout the pandemic, hotels have met the challenge of the public health crisis through Safe Stay, an industry-wide set of health and safety protocols. Safe Stay will continue to evolve to align with the current environment and CDC and OSHA guidelines to keep travelers and hotel employees safe. “Moving forward, the hotel industry’s health and safety protocols will continue to include enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols as well as innovative contactless technologies to support safe travel while improving the experience for guests and hotel employees. As we reach a turning point in the pandemic, our industry continues to encourage all individuals to get vaccinated as we unite to fully recover and return to a sense of normalcy.”