SiteMinder: Traveler confidence surges post-pandemic

New analysis of more than 100 million reservations from SiteMinder, an open hotel commerce platform, reveals global traveler confidence is reaching new heights post-pandemic, with booking behavior trends from 2022 showing decreasing cancellation rates and increasing booking lead times, even with rising hotel room prices across key travel destinations.

SiteMinder’s new Hotel Booking Trends report, a hotel commerce data analysis of more than 36,000 hotels and 450+ connected booking integrations, has revealed travelers booked their trips on average eight days earlier, and canceled their bookings 17% less year-on-year in 2022, despite a 24% increase in the average daily hotel room rate.

Including the most popular channels travelers used to book hotels in 2022, SiteMinder’s Hotel Booking Trends report also reveals the performance of OTAs, wholesalers, global distribution systems, tour operators, destination management companies and hotel-owned websites (direct booking engines) as revenue-driving channels for hoteliers across the world, with 11 new additions joining SiteMinder’s Top 12 lists for the first time.

In 2022, analysis from SiteMinder’s Hotel Booking Trends showed:

  • Travelers globally booked hotel stays considerably further in advance than in 2021, with hotels seeing a 38% increase in average booking lead time, year-on-year. The global average booking lead time was around 30 days in 2022, just six days shorter than the average booking lead time in 2019.
  • Travelers globally canceled their hotel bookings 17% less year-on-year. The average hotel booking cancellation rate dropped to about 20% compared to 25% in 2021, with hotels in Ireland experiencing the highest rate (26%) and Indonesia the lowest (10%).
  • Domestic booking channels captured a lower proportion of bookings overall, however, there was a clear balance between traditional and niche booking channels across markets. OTAs, wholesalers and destination management companies reasserted their dominance across SiteMinder’s Top 12 booking channel lists in most markets as international travel returned, with remaining the most popular. Despite this, regional hotel booking channels like in Germany, in Indonesia and Voordeeluitjes in the Netherlands still proved popular with travelers in 2022, ranking on local Top 12 lists.
  • Travelers showed a continued openness to book directly with hotels in 2022, despite OTAs regaining ground. Globally, a hotel’s website was more important as a source of revenue in 2022 than it was in 2019, despite hotel websites moving down SiteMinder’s Top 12 lists in 42% of countries year-on-year. The ranking of hotel websites as a revenue generator remained on par with 2019’s lists in 72% of markets, and ahead in 28%.
  • Bookings via global distribution systems (GDSs) rose as business travel continued to resume with force in 2022. GDSs ranked higher in Top 12 booking channel lists in 47% of analyzed travel markets this year, re-entering the top five in France and Germany for the first time since 2018.
  • Travelers incrementally increased their hotel stays, with the average length of stay growing only slightly in 2022 to 1.93 nights. Stays booked to Spain in August were the longest globally, at 2.65 days, while Mexican reservations were the longest year-round, followed by those made to Portuguese, Thai and Spanish properties.
  • Travelers continued to book accommodation through Airbnb. Featured on just 28% of SiteMinder’s Top 12 lists in 2019, Airbnb ranked in 89% of 2022 lists, highlighting the brand’s popularity with travelers and the wide variety of properties now gaining bookings from the channel, beyond simply vacation rentals.
  • Overall, travelers booked with more commitment to travel than the year prior. Despite the average daily rate (ADR) of a hotel room rising 24% year-on-year to $177, booking momentum remained robust, with reservation volumes rising to 104% of 2019’s levels globally by Dec. 31.

SiteMinder’s Hotel Booking Trends report comes following the removal of travel restrictions in mainland China, triggering an acceleration of outbound bookings at the start of 2023. According to SiteMinder’s most recent bookings data, outbound net reservations from China increased by 37% in February since mid-December 2022, with bookings to properties in Thailand and Vietnam increasing by 86% and 78% respectively. Tourists from China made 155 million outbound trips worth $255 billion in 2019, making them the largest outbound tourism market globally prior to the pandemic.

“The accommodation sector has remained a strong indicator of traveler confidence over the last three years, and we can see through SiteMinder’s new Hotel Booking Trends analysis that this confidence is certainly starting to embed across key travel markets globally. With booking momentum increasing, the average length of stay edging longer, global average daily rates rising and outbound reservations from China accelerating, global booking behaviors are displaying an increasing openness from travelers to book and spend more on accommodation and travel,” said James Bishop, VP, ecosystem and strategic partnerships, SiteMinder.

Changing traveler trends such as the blend of leisure and business trips and the acceleration of group bookings pave a strong growth opportunity for the accommodation sector within rebounding regional tourism industries, Bishop said.

“Our new Hotel Booking Trends analysis shows a clear shift in the accommodation industry toward a holistic hotel commerce strategy that ensures hotels are able to attract the right guests at the right time. From our Top 12 lists, we see hoteliers globally adopting new and established channels—both direct and indirect—to truly optimize their distribution approach, allowing hoteliers to be seen and booked according to evolving seasonality and changing traveler preferences,” Bishop said.

The new data demonstrates global traveler sentiment reported in SiteMinder’s 2022 Changing Traveller Report, in which the majority of travelers surveyed reported they did not expect their travel plans to be held back by rising inflation, with 87% of travelers saying they are happier when they are anticipating travel, and 85% of travelers comfortable spending additional money on extras during their next stay. In the ‘new normal’ of travel, 80% of travelers said it was important to have the flexibility to easily modify or freely cancel their reservation.

“Hotel businesses are certainly showing an openness to employ a broader, multichannel approach as a way of connecting with more traveler segments, which reflect new expanded, multichannel traveler booking preferences and a much more competitive hotel booking landscape online,” Bishop said.

Click here to view all the insights from SiteMinder’s full Hotel Booking Trends report, including the Top 12 lists of top travel destinations.