The road to recovery. 10,000 Expedia Group partners share their recovery plan

Expedia Group surveyed more than 10,000 partners world-wide to understand their COVID-19 recovery strategy, from handling pricing and revenue management to their top priorities for health safety regulations.

The new lodging landscape is upon us. Hoteliers, innkeepers, and bed and breakfast owners around the world are revising their strategies as they begin to welcome guests. 

We want to help you prepare for what’s next. 

Expedia Group conducted a study of lodging partners, receiving more than 10,000 responses from partners in all corners of the globe. Here we share our findings.

Eighty-three percent of lodging partners are open or planned to reopen before the end of July, occupancy patterns may change

While the first half of the year has been difficult for all of us, there is cause to be hopeful.

In total, 83% of partners are open or planned to reopen by the end of July. While reopening is beginning, expectations for occupancy remain tempered. 

Partners expect demand to be limited during the first months of reopening with approximately 50% expecting occupancy of less than 10%. 

There are a variety of factors influencing these tempered expectations including social distancing, uncertainty around international travel, uncertainty around business travel, to name a few. 

Despite initial caution, there is a reason for optimism. Many experts are predicting a resurgence of travel. For example, former Vice President of Owners Relations for Expedia Group, current Vice President of Ground Transport, Susan Spinney, believes the first wave of travel might be driven by a desire to reconnect with family members, as well as leisure travelers

Trips not taken during March through July may be deferred to shoulder seasons. Knowing this, now this is the time to build connections to recapture lost bookings. For more details on effective marketing strategies for your property, check out the Standing out section of the COVID-19 resource center.

Lodging partners shifted focus to health and booking strategies

When asked how they are preparing for operations after travel restrictions lift, cleanliness and safety emerged as the resounding priority one. 

Second to hotel cleaning, partners are focused on driving bookings—with OTAs and new pricing strategies seen as critical elements of an effective strategy.

Forty-five percent of lodging providers cited “updating rooms, rates and availability on OTAs and revising listing priority” as a key action item, and 43% cited “revising pricing and revenue management.”  To learn how partners are preparing their properties, see the Bouncing back section of the COVID-19 resource portal. 

A deep dive into cleanliness and sanitation practices

Looking closer at cleanliness and hygiene, partners plan to put a variety of measures in place to get guest ready. Those who stand out will go above and beyond the norm both in hotel sanitation and safety precautions, as well as their communications. 

The key to success is to communicate both pre- and post-booking, as well as on-premises. Make sure guests feel safe and secure from the moment they book, until the moment they say, “see you next time.” Additionally, make sure your communications are consistent across channels—website, OTA, etc., as a lack of consistency might discourage travelers from booking. 

 

 

Cleanliness and safety breakdown

% of respondents
Adding complimentary cleaning products (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes) 71%
Enhancing cleaning and disinfectanting procedures in rooms and shared spaces 95%
Implementing regular health checks for staff and guests 31%
Post signage to remind staff and guests to wash hands and take precautions (social distancing) 70%
Pursuing health and safety certifications?  If so, which ones? 6%
Training staff on how to protect themselves at work, including providing personal protective equipment 74%

 

How other lodging partners are handling pricing and revenue management

Partners revealed the top four ways they’re handling pricing and revenue management: 

  1. Contacting previous guests with discounts and offers
  2. Improving OTA listings (updating amenities and photos)
  3. Offering targeted discounts to drive specific outcomes (for example, longer stays, advance bookings)
  4. Working with local destination marketing organizations to attract travelers

As discussed earlier, a key trend to consider when preparing your strategy is the traveler's desire for connection. It is likely that the first wave of travel will be about people, not places. To learn more, check out the article: People will travel again. Will you be ready? 

It’s time to adapt to the new lodging landscape

The findings are clear: Expedia partners around the world are implementing their recovery strategy. While initial expectations for occupancy are tempered, partners are focusing on hotel safety, health and revenue management to help attract returning travelers.

Take the time now to implement your COVID-19 recovery plan and stand out to travelers. By adapting your plan now, you’ll be well prepared to welcome guests to your door tomorrow.

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