Pent-up travel demand is here, and hotel bookings have exceeded 2019 values for the first time since April 2020. But as the appetite for revenge travel rapidly increases on a global scale and consumers grow more demanding for the experiences they have been denied since the start of the pandemic, it’s vital that hotels have the necessary skills and digital strategies in place to capture the demand. As Hoteliers shift focus toward upskilling the workforce to leverage the demand in the upturn, we catch up with Ben Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer at Penta Hotels to get his take on what hotels should do to support their teams and optimize the guest’s online journey and experiences.
June 2021 will be our strongest month since February 2020 in terms of revenue.
For the first time since the pandemic became a global crisis in March 2020, hotel bookings worldwide exceeded 2019 levels in May 2021. Are you seeing this in your hotel?
In May 2021, we saw our hotel bookings steadily increase towards pre-pandemic levels. June 2021 will be our strongest month since February 2020 in terms of revenue, and we continue to see growth in bookings for July and August, exceeding the booking pace of previous months.
Although May yielded a significant uptick in leisure bookings and stays over the weekends and bank holidays, weekdays were slower due to low levels of business travel. While leisure travel will continue over the summer, we hope that vaccination continues to ramp up and that we will see business travel pick up in September 2021.
Reopening the transatlantic corridor will be critical to underpin business travel and sustain it going forward. Leisure travel will see us through the summer months, but we really need business travel to resume so that the economy as a whole can recover.
As international travel demand grows and hotel bookings exceed pre-pandemic levels, what should hotels be thinking about in terms of upskilling their workforce?
Upskilling the workforce is absolutely essential during this time. Historically our industry has faced skill shortages worldwide, and even more so now as hotels recover from the economic fallout of 2020.
Although occupancy levels are steadily recovering, they remain lower than pre-pandemic levels. Pricing has also changed significantly, which means consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to booking a hotel. Furthermore, the events of 2020 have also made consumers more demanding, which means every step of the customer experience needs to be optimized, from pre-booking to check-out and beyond.
All of this adds additional pressure to the workforce. Therefore, it is vital for our hotels to ensure we have the right skills in place to meet the demands.