With the US fully reopened and Europe steadily easing out of lockdown, Hoteliers are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel as hotel bookings increase day by day. Based on the current signals from consumers, when travel will resume is no longer a question of demand, but when vaccination will roll out globally and the world fully reopens to travel. In this month’s Hotelier Spotlight Interview, we catch up with Daniella Boeken, Group Vice President Commercial & Member of the Executive Board at Ruby Hotels in Germany. Here, she shares what her business is doing to ensure they effectively capture the demand and recover strong in the upturn.
Hotels have the potential for quick recovery in summer 2021, provided that all restrictions are lifted and borders remain open for travel.
How is your hotel experiencing the steady recovery of hotel bookings 12 months since the pandemic became a global crisis?
Ruby Hotels predominantly represents City Center properties. So as you can imagine, bookings plummeted severely in March 2020, and we experienced cancellation after cancellation. In fact, we had as many nights cancelled in one month as we did for the year 2019. After a reasonable summer last year, we also suffered during the second winter lockdown. However, bookings have been steadily growing since January 2021, and in April 2021 are currently around 2,000% up from the same period in 2020.
Looking back on last year, the industry saw tremendous demand over the summer. This indicates hotels have the potential for quick recovery in summer 2021, provided that all restrictions are lifted and borders remain open for travel. We are currently focused on ensuring everything is in place to capture the returning demand this year - this time with the long-term solution of a vaccine.
What steps is your business taking to optimize your Direct Channels to capture the pent-up travel demand?
Direct has always been a strong focus for us. However, the downturn has certainly sharpened our focus on distribution and increasing our direct revenue share. Therefore, we took a number of measures last year to revamp our website and generate more direct bookings.
Currently, our direct bookings continue to trend upward, with Booking as a close second. Expedia is still slowly, but this is unsurprising given that no one from the US is currently traveling to Europe. However, this could change if Europe opens up to vaccinated US travelers in May, as the EU Council has suggested. Hotel bookings in April 2021 have Outgrown those over the same period in 2020.