World Hotel Index
Sourced from SiteMinder’s guest acquisition platform, used by 35,000 hotels and connected to more than 400 hotel booking channels globally, the World Hotel Index provides data and commentary for hoteliers at both a macro and local scale that’s never been seen before.
For hoteliers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Hotel Index gives you the chance to:
- Act quickly to the first signs of recovery in your country/region or city
- Gain more confidence about when you can anticipate demand
- Be ahead of your competition and put the right plans in place to attract those first guests.
Refreshed daily, the charts show how current booking volumes are changing when compared to the previous year.
The World Hotel Index shows both the fluidity and suddenness of changing traveller behaviour. Here at HomeForHotels, we’re pleased to have exclusive rights to republish the latest snapshots and analyses, and in this section we share those from SiteMinder’s founder and managing director, Mike Ford.
27 May 2020
Global bookings more than double April’s YoY volume
When the World Hotel Index launched on 29 April, every hotelier in nearly every corner of the world was confronted by perhaps the only line they wished would curve upwards rather than continue to flatten. The global booking volume at the time was 10.70% of what it was just a year prior, and almost every sign indicated there would be a lack of positive movement for months to come. It seemed inconceivable that 10.70% would more than double four weeks later and yet here we are, cautiously observing a read of 24.49% in global booking momentum… and counting.
Rewind to February: while the world remained mostly oblivious to the impending impact of COVID-19, the alarm bells were being heard clearly in Iceland. The country was already testing for coronavirus—before its first case—and by the end of the month, had declared a state of emergency that triggered aggressive contact-tracing and quarantine. The quick action has been credited for containing the spread of the virus and, in mid-May, Iceland’s prime minister announced plans to reopen the country’s borders to tourists by 15 June. It’s been said that ‘COVID-free’ is the new five-star rating, and the prime minister’s announcement could be evidence of that theory. In the last two weeks, Iceland’s hotel bookings have doubled from 12.85% of 2019 levels to 27.64%, and overtaken the global average.
Only New Zealand surpassed Iceland as the top high riser this past week. Hotel bookings within the Pacific nation have gone from strength-to-strength since lockdown began lifting earlier this month, and now sit at over half (52.59%) of last year’s booking levels. They rose 12.04% in the last week, alone, and will likely accelerate further if plans proceed to allow Australian visitors from 1 July. Speaking of Australia, it’s rising steadily, with hotel booking volumes now well above the global average, at 33.95% YoY.
Behind Iceland’s WoW growth is Norway’s. The fellow Nordic country surpassed the global average on 10 May and has since jumped to 30.96% of 2019 levels, cementing its place beside Germany, Iceland and the Netherlands as one of Europe’s few markets outperforming the global average.
Could Portugal be the first southern European country to re-emerge from the pandemic? Beachgoers took their first dip this past week, after the government announced a phased lifting of lockdown restrictions, and a jump in hotel bookings mirrors their excitement. In two weeks, they’ve surged from 7.58% of last year’s levels to 20.89%. Incredibly, the volume of hotel bookings in neighbouring Spain—which has reported the fourth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world—has also doubled from 9.02% to 18.17% YoY this past week, after the country’s government declared quarantine restrictions would lift this summer and urged international holidaymakers to return.
For the fourth consecutive week, Taiwan’s hotel bookings have continued to rise, now sitting at 76.61% of 2019 levels and leading the world in booking momentum. While the country-wide volume in the US remains slow to increase, Miami’s has lifted 6.70% in the past week and Tampa’s now exceeds last year’s volume at 125.04%.
20 May 2020
WoW growth of global bookings accelerates in May
Having jumped from 12.87% of 2019 levels on 5 May, to 15.32% one week later and then to 19.39% this past Tuesday, the week-on-week growth of hotel bookings globally has accelerated over the last fortnight. As governments around the world further flex their loosening of restrictions, it seems we no longer have to predict how quickly consumers will act to travel again. The acceleration we’re witnessing in bookings makes it undeniable that many will act at the soonest possible moment.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest spike in hotel bookings over the past week has come from New Zealand where retail stores, restaurants and malls have reopened for the first time since a lockdown was implemented earlier this year. Nation-wide, the growth of hotel bookings almost doubled this past week, from 21.99% to 40.40% of 2019 levels, and the trajectory looks strong.
Across the Tasman Sea, the volume of hotel bookings in Australia has risen to nearly a quarter of last year’s levels and we expect the gap between Australian and global hotel bookings will only continue widening from here on out. That Australia-New Zealand travel bubble can’t be too far away.
For the first time this past week, we saw the booking momentum in both the Netherlands and Norway increase to 20.64% and 23.24% over 2019 levels, respectively. The two countries now join Germany (25.76%) in surpassing the global average from continental Europe.
Meanwhile, in the UK, hotel bookings in Bournemouth are fast approaching the global average level, at 15.54% of 2019 levels, driven perhaps by citizens seeking a beach destination getaway in the summer. UK hotels, pubs and restaurants are scheduled to reopen in some form from 4 July.
In spite of reporting Latin America’s first COVID-19 case, Costa Rica is proving to be one of the most successful nations in the fight against the coronavirus. The nation of 5 million—which has just over one doctor per thousand people—has outdone even New Zealand in keeping infection and death rates low, and its quick decision to close all international borders in mid-March is showing positive results. In the last two weeks, hotel bookings nation-wide have grown more than 60% from 7.91% of 2019 levels to 12.78%.
Speaking of high risers, how about Taiwan? The country’s booking volumes continue to soar, sitting now at 70.20% of the levels this same time last year.
13 May 2020
Global bookings creep past 14% of 2019 volume as restrictions ease
A week after rising to above 12% of 2019 levels for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, global booking volume has risen past 14% of 2019 levels as markets around the world both eased restrictions and showed the potential for second waves of coronavirus transmissions.
Germany has served as continental Europe’s success story to date, due to its well-resourced health system and implementation of early mass testing. Yet, almost as quickly as restrictions have relaxed, the country’s reproduction number of coronavirus has again increased to above one in recent days. And, with that, its nation-wide bookings compared with the volume this same time last year rose to 19.36% over the weekend—its highest level since March—and hovered around the same level since. In spite of being one of the top two coronavirus epicentres within Germany, Hamburg is showing booking volumes well above the country average, at 25.45% of the prior year.
Similarly, within Asia, the momentum of bookings in the Maldives has been steady until early May. A rapid rise in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks, both within the nation’s capital and isolated islands, have seen the country remain in lockdown and likely re-imagining the role of luxury tourist resorts over the many months ahead.
Across the ocean, we see that Indonesia performed above the global average since mid-March before sinking to 6.43% of 2019 levels—its lowest point this year—on 29 April. While Indonesia has sadly suffered more coronavirus-related fatalities than any other East Asian country outside China, the government is already considering a phased reopening from next month. The discussions may be contributing to a booking momentum that is back on the upswing, led by the city of Makassar where the volume of hotel bookings is now more than half (57.30%) of last year’s levels.
Perhaps the biggest surprise this month has been the UAE, where booking volume has soared from 8.39% of the prior year on 1 May to 20.42% this past Tuesday. Likewise, Taiwan continues to rise with a booking volume above 60% from this same time last year and we expect this will be sustained growth from here on out. Tampa in the USA, too, remains a rising star with booking volume now at 82.34% of 2019 levels, driven perhaps by locals from hard hit areas along the east coast heading south to Florida. This is supported by short booking lead times for the Tampa region.
7 May 2020
Global momentum above 12% of 2019 levels for the first time since March
After declining steeply from late February to mid-March and then plateauing for almost a month thereafter, booking momentum at a global level has picked up marginally in the last two weeks. While marginal, it is the first incremental rise we have witnessed since March, to take global booking volume to above 12% of 2019 levels for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, global booking volume this year hit its lowest point in the second week of April, dropping to 8.85% year-over-year. It’s a stark reality to the peak levels that hotels would ordinarily see during the Easter season.
The slight uptick in global booking momentum in the last two weeks may be indicative of a growing confidence around the world, spurred by governments that have begun (rightly or wrongly) to signal near-term easing measures.
We can see the confidence rising especially in pockets throughout Asia Pacific.
In Taiwan and Hong Kong—two markets that avoided a lockdown by rapidly implementing public health measures—booking volumes rose to 53.3% and 53.09%, respectively, Sunday and they look to continue rising. Across South-East Asia, booking momentum remains below 10% with the exception of Vietnam, which saw its year-over-year booking volume surge to 21.53% over the weekend, ahead of Labour Day holidays and domestic flights resuming.
Further south, within the Pacific, Australia is currently faring best with booking volumes rising to as high as 14.8% of 2019 levels this past week, while New Zealand and Fiji saw levels peak at 8.14% and 4.73% respectively. Australia may have had the toughest start to the year between the three markets, having endured rampant bushfires immediately prior to the current crisis, but the differences between the neighbouring countries isn’t surprising. The imposed lockdowns in New Zealand have been strict, and let’s not forget that Australia and New Zealand comprise Fiji’s two largest inbound markets. For Fiji—a key part of the ‘trans-tasman bubble’—a growing confidence within its top two source markets will be vital to the restart of its economy.
The US is now the largest tourism market outside Asia Pacific to see its national booking volume rise to above 15% over the same period in 2019, albeit with significantly varying volumes between key cities. This past week, the booking momentum in New York City peaked at 5.86% while Tampa in Florida reverted to its 42.13% volume of mid-March.
Only time will tell when we will see notable glimpses of hope within the EMEA region, although Germany, Iceland, Ireland and Norway appear to be on the up ever-so-slowly. Sweden, in spite of avoiding a lockdown, continues to mirror the global booking momentum.
29 April 2020
Welcome to the World Hotel Index
The world was a different place in 2006 when I began the SiteMinder business. For starters, OTAs were only starting to flourish and few hotels had figured out how to get their rooms on this thing called ‘the internet’.
Needless to say the world of travel, especially online, has continued to explode since then and SiteMinder grew with it. Never would I have imagined the day that so many hotels, the lifeblood of the travel and hospitality industries, would be forced to close their doors or stand still in their lobbies void of guests.
In recent months, hoteliers and the travel industry at large have been forced to shift their focus from maximising revenues and profits to pure survival. From asking ‘how much can I earn from my next guest?’ as recently as February, today hoteliers are asking ‘when will people start travelling again?’
By exposing our own data resources, we at SiteMinder hope to do our bit, however small, in allowing all players within the hospitality and travel industries to track hotel recovery as it happens.
For this reason we have created the World Hotel Index, an aerial view of all the bookings of SiteMinder’s 35,000 customers, through more than 400 booking channels globally. The Index tells us how hotel bookings are performing year-over-year and it’s refreshed daily. We’ve ensured that data is available at a global, country and city level, to provide insight into both macro and local trends, which are critical for hoteliers, hotel investors and travel professionals during this time of uncertainty and the staggered lifting of lockdowns around the world.
The World Hotel Index is our small contribution to hoteliers who have given the world so much and, even today, are joining the COVID-19 frontlines to play their part. We know inevitably their role will be as critical as ever once this pandemic passes, and we look forward to celebrating with them as we start to see those bookings coming in once more.