Travel During Coronavirus: A Month-Over-Month Analysis
- Posted by Brett Perry
- On June 3, 2020
With two months in the rearview mirror and COVID-19 on the decline, new patterns have emerged for how users shop for hotels. For the majority of April, occupancy rates reach all-time lows as people lost their confidence in travel. However, hotel shoppers and occupancy rates slowly climbed throughout April, indicating that confidence in travel may be back on the rise. May was a beacon of hope for many hoteliers as select markets began to pick back up, perhaps signaling a slow recovery.
Prospective Travel Increased by 300%
At Screen Pilot, we’ve been measuring booking engine activity for our partners across the United States. Every time a user inputs a future date but does not book, we label that user a “hotel shopper” and capture the value they shopped for.
Through this approach, we recorded a 300% increase in the number of hotel shoppers in May over April. This drastic leap highlights the increased confidence in users to once again shop for hotels. Some of our partners in Florida saw similar occupancy rates in late May as they did before coronavirus, partly due to the holiday weekend. The trend has continued into early June as more and more people look to book hotels. While the volume and conversion rate are generally lower than pre-coronavirus, it is a good sign to see an increase in people shopping for travel.
The Hotel Shopping Window was Flipped on its Head
What was once a growing concern that users wouldn’t be traveling until late in the year, has now shifted to people looking to travel within the month. In April, the majority of users were looking to travel at least three months out. That has been turned on its head as May saw people shopping from 1-30 days out.
This doesn’t equate to users booking hotel rooms, but the shrinking shopping window is a clear sign that users are hoping to travel sooner than later. As more states loosen their restrictions and attractions and restaurants open up, expect to see more people looking for travel in the near future. The graphs below showcase this movement across the last two months.
Hotel Occupancy Increased Every Week
STR has been measuring occupancy rates across the Nation for tens of thousands of hotels. An encouraging trend has formed as occupancy rates increased each week compared to the previous one. While the rates are much lower than previous summers, we can take solace in the fact that the numbers are headed in the right direction.
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