GuestCentric has analyzed hundreds of hotels and now presents the main trends of the national hotel sector for the upcoming summer season.
Clearly, there are signs of exponential demand – with growth levels that exceed pre-pandemic numbers – but also the emergence of more demanding customers willing to pay more if they get a truly differentiated experience in exchange.
1. More trips planned
This year’s recovery forecasts for the number of trips are encouraging. According to a survey conducted by Small Portugal Hotels (SPH)*, 30% of customers predict 3 or more trips in 2022, and another 20% intend to make 2 trips this year. International customers were more ambitious, with 33% mentioning they will make 4 or more trips in 2022, twice as many Portuguese customers.
2. More millennials from Portugal are traveling this summer
This summer, about 24% of Portuguese hotel customers* this year are millennials (aged 35 to 44), 30% are aged 45 to 54, and 25% of customers are over 55. the so-called generation Z – make up 16% of this market share. Foreign visitors reveal a very different profile: 43% are over 55, and another 43% are millennials.
3. Alentejo is the star of summer 2022
The three most sought-after regions* are Alentejo (21%), followed by the North and Center with around 20% each. This data contrasts sharply with the intentions for 2021, when the North attracted only 14% and the Center 13% of the guests. About 8% of customers highlight the Portuguese islands – Azores and Madeira – as destinations where they are going to go. Obviously, the restrictions on travel abroad in the past two years, as well as the frequent changes in their vacation plans, have made the Portuguese (re)discover their country. Foreign visitors, on the other hand, prefer to travel in the north of Portugal (40%), another 20% plan to visit Porto and another 20% intend to visit the Algarve.
4. Portugal, US and UK: Top Direct Booking Markets
According to research by Guestcentric, Portuguese guests make up the majority of direct hotel bookings in the country, followed by the US and the UK. Although online travel agencies (OTA) have stepped up their marketing efforts and higher commercial aggressiveness is expected in summer 2022, there is still a lot of potential for growth in direct bookings and hence profitability.
5. The average price reaches its upper limit
The Average Daily Rate (ADR) hits record highs in 2022, especially in Europe. According to GuestCentric, hotel prices in Europe are currently 31% higher than in 2019, and apartment prices in the US are 13% higher than in 2019. According to Bloomberg, hotel prices in the United States reached their highest level in history in 2022. .
6. Customers prioritize experience over price.
If 2021 was the year of domestic travel, then 2022 is the year of the “travel of a lifetime.” There is a “new sense of urgency” to travel, Stephanie Papaioannou, vice president of luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent, explains: “Our clients feel like they’ve lost two years of their lives, and those who are older still know which means fewer years to travel healthy.”
Expedia calls 2022 “the biggest trip ever”. In a survey of 12,000 travelers in 12 countries, 65% said they were planning a “big trip”, leading Expedia to vote the pursuit of exciting and extravagant travel as the “biggest travel trend” of the year. However, ultra-luxury is more in vogue than ever, and more than three-quarters of Virtuoso travel agents who specialize in unique and extraordinary trips are seeing a surge in these bookings.
In addition, the budgets are comfortable, which can be seen in the high prices and willingness to spend, both on flights and on hotels. Any discrepancy can easily be justified by inflation. However, rising prices for fuel, and, consequently, for air tickets, may spoil the mood a little.
7. Last minute bookings in progress
Last minute bookings are still the norm and Guestcentric data shows that 40% to 50% of bookings are still made within the same month. While it is not known whether this trend will continue in the summer, the ability to quickly manage demand is new to many hotels, so it is important that they remain flexible enough to respond accordingly.
8. Hotel results above 2019
GuestCentric data shows that hotel stays in the second half of 2022 are now 20% higher than in 2019. This clearly shows that guests are willing to book and travel again.
As for domestic travel, it is expected to remain stable, reaching or exceeding 2021 levels until the second half of this year; international, as a rule, significantly exceed the level of 2019.
9. The Popularity of “Unplug Me Now” Trips
The intensity of screen time and the increase in the number of hours spent on social networks over the past two years have negatively affected almost all audiences. To truly feel like on vacation, clients say they need to disconnect from social media and limit screen time. According to G Adventures UK, 58% of travelers say they need a vacation to ease the stress of the pandemic and the burnout they experience in their professional lives.
10. Travel agents: back to reassure customers
Travel consultants (former travel agents) are making a comeback due to the complexity of travel, constantly changing air routes and flights, and the uncertainty of a post-pandemic world. In the summer of 2022, demand for simpler packages and closer destinations could far outstrip demand for exotic long-distance travel, especially for families.
The number of orders placed by phone is also expected to increase. During the pandemic, guests have become accustomed to contacting hotels directly by phone for up-to-date information, and this trend is expected to continue in the summer of 2022.
11. More demand for “active” than cultural travel
The forced isolation experienced during the pandemic has caused real anxiety among clients for a more active lifestyle – while discovering new countries and cultures. Cycling, diving, sailing, hiking and horseback riding are likely to be the most in-demand activities in summer 2022. According to Viator research, many more travelers (about 48% of bookings made by the company) are interested in outdoor recreation in 2022 than in previous years. Water sports activities recorded the biggest increase compared to 2019: 311%. Cruises, sailing or water tours are up 122%, while other outdoor activities are up 153%.
12. Responsible travel remains important
The ecological footprint of travel – in terms of carbon footprint – is currently a real issue for hotel customers who are actively looking for sustainable travel options. Guests are particularly sensitive to sustainable initiatives that involve the hotel’s local community, especially when it comes to using local food and beverage suppliers.