Sunday, June 16, 2024

8 key takeaways from 2023 for hospitality professionals

Regardless of some lingering considerations across the broader financial system and geo-political instability, we will confidently say that journey has totally recovered in 2023.

Whereas obstacles nonetheless stay and can proceed to rise, we will look again on 2023 and ahead in 2024 with optimism and acknowledge the potential for progress and innovation.

Listed below are our key learnings from 2023.

Regardless of harder circumstances, customers stored spending on journey

In 2022, it was just about a provided that we have been going to see an enormous journey and tourism rebound given the artificially depressed years of journey restrictions that had preceded it.

One yr later and that surety was falling away as excessive inflation ate away at client spending energy, as did fast rises in rates of interest to counter these hovering costs. There was now a world crunch in discretionary spending, and plenty of economists warned in regards to the impression to livelihoods and even the potential for a world recession.

Quick ahead to the shut of the yr, and vacationers decisively defied the gloom. World expenditure on journey and tourism has remained extremely sturdy even within the face of weakening family spending energy.
Within the US, which opened up sooner than different economies and had very excessive charges of progress within the journey sector in 2022, momentum continued in 2023. Whereas the beforehand explosive charges of progress have come down, US customers nonetheless spent 8% extra on transportation, recreation, and meals and lodging providers than a yr prior in each Q2 and Q3 2023.

Even in much less sturdy economies the place client discretionary spending has been squeezed greater than within the US, there appeared to be little let up within the want to ebook journeys. Whereas Japanese households reduce total spending by the best quantity in almost two-and-a-half years in Q2 2023, they continued to extend the quantity of their budgets going in the direction of eating out, transportation, tradition and leisure providers.

Equally, Barclays’ October UK Shopper Spending Report famous that the journey sector “continues to be one of many best-performing classes of 2023,” with spending rising 10.5% in October 2023, even amid a value of dwelling disaster.

In 2023, the will to see the world couldn’t be dampened.

Occasions stay an enormous demand driver for resort and short-term rental bookings, whereas enterprise journey supplies a fine addition

One of many fundamental drivers for this continued spending by customers and the general energy within the journey and tourism sector appears to be the drive to expertise issues in individual and reject the web world pressured upon us as a result of pandemic.

Whether or not it was Primavera and Sonar festivals in Barcelona, Eurovision in Liverpool, Summerfest in Milwaukee, the Rugby World Cup in Paris, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, or the Girls’s World Cup down beneath in Australia and New Zealand, excited followers turned out in droves for main sporting, cultural and music occasions.

Simply by glancing on the chart for a few of these cities talked about above, there are clear spikes in resort room pricing the place these occasions fell within the calendar for his or her respective cities, that are marked within the chart.

These boosts to room charges underlined the sturdy demand generated and the following capability for hoteliers to set greater charges in all of these instances.

Folks weren’t solely touring for pleasure, although, as the private contact very a lot returned to enterprise journey as properly.

Enterprise journey expenditures, beforehand anticipated to be one of many slowest recovering facets of the financial system post-COVID, are actually quickly approaching the place they have been in 2019.
The October 2023 GBTA Enterprise Journey Outlook Ballot reported that 84% of respondents thought of that their firm’s enterprise journey in 2023 had recovered to near-2019 ranges, whereas the World Enterprise Journey Affiliation (GBTA) has repeatedly revised up its projections in order that it now expects 2023 spend to be roughly corresponding to 2019.

Certainly, in line with the Knowland and Amadeus Hospitality Group & Enterprise Efficiency Index (HGBPI), group enterprise within the US is now above the place it was in 2019, whereas for the yr as much as Q3, the amount of hosted occasions had reached 91% of the pre-pandemic degree.

There gave the impression to be no diminishing of enthusiasm for the expertise financial system going ahead both, as charges and bookings for main occasions, such because the Paris Olympics or Euro 2024 soccer match, are extraordinarily excessive, even for such high-profile occasions. Whereas the GBTA predicts that enterprise journey spending will exceed 2019 ranges in 2024.

The Chinese language journey market is gradual to wake for outbound locations

Again in April 2023 we dove into our information and predicted that the Chinese language market was going to be one thing of a gradual grower, possible lacking the expectations of hopeful tourism our bodies hungry for high-spending Chinese language vacationers.

So, what occurred?

Nicely, the info doesn’t lie, and whereas Chinese language vacationers have been venturing again exterior the Center Kingdom, they’re doing so in a lot smaller numbers than the extra bullish forecasts had hoped.

Earlier hotspots, like Japan, Thailand and South Korea have discovered themselves with large shortfalls in arrivals versus their expectations initially of the yr, and it appears possible that this underperformance will proceed into subsequent yr.
For instance, you would want to return a decade to search out comparable numbers for mainland Chinese language guests to Japan within the yr to August 2023, whereas Thailand welcomed 2.8 million guests within the yr to October 2023, which might put it method behind its preliminary goal of 5 million guests from the nation.

That doesn’t imply that the Chinese language client has misplaced curiosity in journey, however that the response to COVID in China has resulted in behavioral modifications. Many extra Chinese language vacationers are inside locations.

The 2023 Golden Week vacation resulted in report practice and air journey numbers, and plenty of have returned to perennial favorites Macau and Hong Kong. Hong Kong illustrates this level properly. There have been regular rises in pricing for lodges and short-term leases all year long when in comparison with 2019, notably for the previous.

As we strategy a key journey interval for the Chinese language market to shut 2023, charges for the standard resort room in Hong Kong for December had greater than doubled as of the time of writing, being priced 120% above 2019.

There appears little motive to anticipate these dynamics to drastically change both in 2024, with modest progress in outbound tourism and better deal with the interior market from Chinese language vacationers.
China’s civil aviation authority winter and spring flight plans proudly introduced 34% extra scheduled inside flights in comparison with pre-pandemic ranges, with 516 new home routes. Nonetheless, worldwide flight numbers will miss pre-pandemic ranges by almost 30%.

Too many vacationers, too little house? The backlash in opposition to overtourism and short-term leases gathers tempo

Whereas we’ve seen unbelievable robustness from the worldwide traveler, that demand has had penalties, notably on the degree of native governments.

In locations worldwide that entice excessive volumes of vacationers, considerations have emerged in regards to the availability of housing and the general impression of tourism, prompting native authorities to enact concrete laws that requires stricter reporting and oversight of short-term leases, in addition to will increase in tourism taxes and prices.

The places the place these measures are being utilized spotlight the truth that the rise in tourism is a serious contributor to those points, fairly than only a facet impact of underinvestment in housing, though that issue actually contributes.

Italy’s tax authorities have made short-term rental incomes a spotlight this yr, notably from Airbnb, which a decide discovered had failed to gather €3.7 billion of rental revenue, leading to a requirement for €779.5m from the corporate. Florence and Venice have each introduced measures to restrict leases.

In Scotland, new legal guidelines require operators to license their short-term rental property. Portugal’s authorities mentioned that it received’t be issuing new licenses for trip leases in city areas.

On the opposite facet of the Atlantic, New York now requires anybody trying to make a itemizing of lower than 30 days to register with the mayor’s workplace.

That pattern displays a exceptional enlargement within the variety of listings on-line for vacation lets, with Europe and North America main the way in which. Because the begin of 2018, the variety of short-term leases has grown by 40% in Europe and 54% in North America.

Our information reveals there are actually six-and-a-half million of those properties listed in Europe – equal to the entire dwellings of Sweden. This has created appreciable strain on many native communities the place they’re most in demand.

As makes an attempt to curb overtourism intensify, what may the potential impression be?

To get a clearer image, let’s check out Edinburgh and New York; two locations the place there have been current substantive modifications to strategy. Whereas we’re only some brief months previous the laws coming into impact, we will have a look at some preliminary information to see what might occur.

In each instances, there was a decline within the variety of listings because the measures have been launched. Nonetheless, in neither case has the variety of listings dropped but to beneath the place they have been originally of the yr.
In the meantime, the impact on demand and charges additionally appears modest. Brief-term rental charges stay sturdy and there was little change to resort pricing in both metropolis.

Whereas total demand did lower barely year-on-year in each cities within the weeks instantly after the legal guidelines got here into drive, plainly vacationers weren’t instantly deterred.

It appears probably, due to this fact, that though combating overtourism is a rising precedence, making efficient laws that creates a distinction has been, and might be, difficult for native governments.

Vacationers proceed to need to go to these locations and are unlikely to be maintaining a tally of native bylaws. As such, a multifaceted strategy is probably going essential to successfully tackle this concern.

The motive force of know-how funding in hospitality stays doing extra with much less

One of many causes we have now seen the robustness of journey spend famous above has been the energy of the worldwide labor market. Unemployment in main economies continues to hover round report lows, even within the face of some financial headwinds, and vacancies are plentiful.

Whereas this implies there’s confidence amongst vacationers themselves that they will depend on continued revenue and so make plans and bookings, the outcomes behind the scenes of the trade are extra problematic.

The journey and tourism trade shed an excessive amount of positions through the pandemic interval, and has discovered it onerous going to interchange these staff, who’ve often moved on to different sectors.
Within the UK, vacancies within the hospitality sector have been 72% greater in Q1 2023 in comparison with Q1 2020, and people ranges have remained constant all year long. Or within the US, regardless of employment charges now edging again to pre-pandemic highs, 87% of lodges mentioned that they may not fill their open positions in line with the American Lodge & Lodging Affiliation (AHLA), persevering with a pattern of problem in hiring going again a number of years now.

That dynamic is pushing a drive for extra automation throughout hospitality, each within the front- and back-of-house, as virtually all organizations are actually pressured to do extra with much less.

Contactless was key in 2023

Whereas the front-of-house for lodges is all the time going to require a human face, automation is making growing inroads, particularly as key staff like cleaners, cooks and concierges change into scarcer and extra pricey.

Machines clearly can’t do all these duties, however we’re seeing extra deployments of techniques like cleansing robots and smartphone integrations to assist scale back the workload of resort workers.

We noticed these techniques proliferate in 2023 due to the dynamics defined above, but in addition as a result of the patron is heading that method by way of conduct, making this one to look at going ahead as properly.

An growing variety of vacationers not solely settle for and use contactless types of interplay, with the pandemic accelerating this, but in addition need to make the most of these techniques, discovering them (if achieved properly) handy and fewer problem than calling or heading right down to the entrance desk.

Critically for lodges, that is one other route into the patron’s digital presence and doubtlessly proudly owning the connection with the client, giving this pattern impetus from each instructions.

Now there’s a compelling motive for visitors to work together straight with the resort and obtain an app, by which lodges can market and promote ancillaries, enhancing each visitor expertise and revenues, whereas lowering workers workloads.

Subsequently, anticipate to see a complete lot extra machine-to-man integrations in resort lobbies within the close to future.

Hoteliers transfer into the automation age

It’s not simply on the frontline the place smaller groups have change into the norm, as white-collar staff are additionally having to get used to smaller groups. This has made software-as-a-service instruments invaluable throughout the trade as essential time-savers in 2023 for income, normal, advertising and marketing and gross sales managers.

The growing potential to plug-and-play these providers supercharged the market in 2023 and now we’re seeing analytical and administration instruments changing into the norm, and a decline within the previous spreadsheet-dominated mannequin of resort administration.

Their rise rests on their potential to extend productiveness, which as we have now famous is essential on this atmosphere. A income supervisor can now make the most of a single business platform to visualise market demand, analyze competitor conduct and pricing, have a look at reserving curves, monitor price parity, set charges, benchmark after which talk this with the broader administration staff.

This can be a game-changer for these groups, inside many widespread duties decreased right down to a fraction of what they as soon as have been, and might flip an imbalanced workload within the post-pandemic years into a way more manageable set of duties.

Generative AI makes inroads into the hospitality trade

If you happen to haven’t used ChatGPT to kind a journey itinerary but, then it’s best to test it out. For instance, in case you immediate it to create a five-day journey itinerary for Kyoto, Japan, it not solely will appropriately establish key websites, however construction that itinerary in a (largely) thematically and geographically cogent method that may rival a guidebook. Is that this the way forward for journey planning? Nicely, we will’t say for positive, however it’s going to be a useful resource vacationers use sooner or later.

The trade wants to concentrate on its energy and potential from this facet, but in addition what generative AI integrations may imply for their very own manufacturers and buyer interactions.

We’ve already seen the rise of chatbots inside the journey sphere to assist with fundamental queries and direct visitors, however this presents a step-up in functionality, permitting much more freedom for the client to ask questions in their very own method and to get to the fitting reply.

Now, a chatbot integration can reply extra queries independently and in addition usher in a vastly wider corpus of information to assist the visitor. Leveraging AI-powered good room know-how may improve your visitors’ expertise whereas maximizing upkeep effectivity and managing power utilization.

You possibly can streamline your demand forecasting part by utilizing predictive analytics to generate demand predictions shortly and precisely. Our Market Perception resolution, powered by distinctive AI demand segmentation know-how, turns forward-looking search information factors into real-time demand ranges, offering you with worthwhile market intelligence damaged down by sub-location, keep sample, and resort kind.

AI brings distinctive alternatives for income managers that don’t simply cease at demand forecasting. If paired with the fitting information units, we are going to see an impression on income technique in comparison with conventional value advice algorithms. Income managers will be capable to seize each income alternative mechanically, as room pricing adjusts in real-time with AI-driven suggestions.

AI brings distinctive alternatives for income managers that don’t simply cease at demand forecasting. If paired with the fitting information units, we are going to see an impression on income technique in comparison with conventional value advice algorithms.


Regardless of considerations over financial circumstances, reminiscent of rising inflation and rates of interest, the will to journey has remained sturdy in 2023 and there must be an total feeling of positivity.

The continued drive for in-person experiences has led to a surge in demand for main sporting, cultural, and music occasions, and, because of this, has been an enormous demand driver for resort and short-term rental bookings. Enterprise journey has additionally made a comeback, with expenditures quickly approaching pre-pandemic ranges.

Moreover, the resort trade can be turning to automation, machine studying and generative AI which is providing distinctive alternatives for hospitality professionals.

With a purpose to optimize efficiency, to make sure you get forward of your friends fairly than play catch up it’s best to look to a full circle business platform powered by high quality information, which takes care of every thing from demand forecasting and AI pricing suggestions to benchmarking in opposition to your Comp Set.

The Lighthouse business platform illuminates the hidden actions of the market, bringing new insights to mild as a way to act with pace and confidence.

Our upcoming 2024 traits piece might be subsequent in line. We’ll be highlighting the important thing developments and shifts that you just want to concentrate on, as a way to make knowledgeable selections and keep forward of the curve, from rising applied sciences to altering client preferences.

So keep tuned and prepare to tackle the way forward for journey and hospitality with confidence.

About Lighthouse

Lighthouse (previously OTA Perception) is the main business platform for the journey & hospitality trade. We remodel complexity into confidence by offering actionable market insights, enterprise intelligence, and pricing instruments that maximize income progress. We frequently innovate to ship one of the best platform for hospitality professionals to cost extra successfully, measure efficiency extra effectively, and perceive the market in new methods.

Trusted by over 65,000 lodges in 185 international locations, Lighthouse is the one resolution that gives real-time resort and short-term rental information in a single platform. We try to ship the very best expertise with unmatched customer support. We think about our purchasers as true companions—their success is our success.

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