COVID-19 Hospitality Impact – Get Ready for Fall Travel
- Posted by Brett Perry
- On May 13, 2020
States are opening up and stay-at-home orders are being loosened across the nation. Only 30% of the country is still on shutdown, according to the New York times. With less restrictions, the hospitality industry is hoping to see a pickup in occupancy as users get ready to travel. STR reported last week that there was a slight increase in occupancy; A trend that has continued every week since the beginning of April.
At Screen Pilot, we’ve been reporting on how users are shopping for hotels. However, prospective travelers were not yet booking their vacation. With more testing available and less travel restrictions, we are seeing that behavior change. Reservations have picked up across the country and the website conversion rate has followed the same trend. This doesn’t mean occupancy will immediately revert to old levels, but it is a strong indication that travel is on the rise.
Users are Starting to Convert
Through the month of April, our data showed a steady flow of reservations for hotels across the country. Albeit, at a much lower volume than last year. We expected to see a slow increase as states began to open up. However, reservations have spiked since the beginning of May. The peak number of reservations was a 500% increase over the middle of April. Many states started opening up after April 25 and that is the exact moment we see the upward trend in reservations.
Prepare for Fall Season
For prospective travelers, we saw a steady decrease in the average shopping window through the start of May. Meaning users were looking to travel sooner than expected. The booking window suggests the majority of people are more comfortable traveling in the fall, however there is still a strong contingent that have planned vacations for the summer months. Almost 80% of the reservations are in the next six months with 44% in the fall and 35% booked for the summer.
Warm Weather States Benefitting
Last week, STR found that warm weather states such as Florida and Texas were leading the charge in increased occupancy. Some submarkets jumped as much as 30% in the first weekend of eased COVID-19 restrictions. Our data suggests much of the same, especially in Florida. The same weekend we saw jumps in reservations, Florida was seeing a dramatic increase in website conversion rate. The idyllic warm weather and beaches are likely a big draw to people who have been cooped up in their home for months. The warm southern states may see the initial wave of travel in the country.