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Slowdowns In Web Traffic, Pace And Pick Up As COVID Uncertainty Continues

November 12, 2020 | Claire Middleton, Contributing Editor

The latest edition of the Pulse Report, which tracks data from October 19 to November 1, shows a slowdown in web traffic, pick up and pace across most markets, with Europe suffering consequences of an increase in COVID cases and a second lockdown in several countries.

EMEA

In recent weeks Ireland, Wales, England, France and Germany have entered national lockdowns, while local lockdowns have been imposed in Portugal and Spain, in an effort to tackle the rising number of COVID cases across the region. This has undoubtedly had a marked effect on the data reported in the latest Pulse Report. Although modest increases in web traffic (27% for November and 23% for December) show that there is still some appetite for travel in the region, it is less than reported in the previous Pulse edition, suggesting that the new restrictions are having a serious effect on how much people are thinking about travel. 

Looking at net new pick up over this period, we see that the various lockdown announcements clearly had a negative impact on the performance of the region. November experienced more cancelations than new bookings, with the pace of cancelations increasing particularly during the last week by 123% across the region, compared to the last week of October. Pick up for December and January has been very low, suggesting that people are waiting to see how events will unfold over the next few weeks before they commit to making plans for Christmas.

Juan Ruano, Duetto’s Director of Hospitality Solutions for the EMEA region said: “With the new lockdowns and restrictions in place, bookings and web traffic for Europe have slowed right down and in some regions for the mid-term at least, cancelations are higher than reservations. Even in Germany, where the situation has been relatively stable, things aren’t looking good. It’s definitely not been a good couple of weeks for EMEA.”

The Americas

Web traffic is showing a little positivity across the North American region for this period, averaging at +14% compared to the last Pulse Report. Notably, a healthy gain was seen in Florida with web shopping up by 11% since the previous Pulse. However, several states did see declines, including Nevada which was down by -5%, Tennessee, down by-35% and Colorado, down by -21%.  

This lack of web traffic is reflected in the pick up data, with a fairly consistent plateauing of new bookings for the entire North American region looking forward, compared to the last Pulse Report. As we look across some of the major markets by state, we see a few gains, but not much. For example, California is up by 17%, Florida is up by 28%, Nevada only 4% - despite aggressive promotions from Las Vegas casinos - and Washington State by 19%. Unfortunately, several states saw a decline in net new bookings, including Hawaii which was down by -18%, Illinois down by -43% and New York State which was down by -34%.  

Latin America is showing a similar story, with a slowdown in web traffic as well as only very modest increases in pick up. For the entire LATAM region we see a -5% drop in web traffic compared to the last Pulse, with net new bookings up by only 9%. In terms of pace, Latin America has slowed slightly over the past few weeks - week to week it’s averaging at about +7% - whereas this has now slowed to just 6%.

Daniel Lofton, Duetto’s Director of Hospitality Solutions for the Americas, commented: “Normally we see increases across the board, so the up and downs we are seeing across North America at the moment is unusual. States that usually do well are barely performing at all and Hawaii is particularly surprising as it performed worse after it loosened restrictions. 

“Perhaps the recent US election has kept people close to home during this period, both in North and Latin America. This election saw one of the biggest turnouts of voters ever and so that may have played a part in the figures being so subdued.”

APAC

The APAC region is seeing a fairly interesting ’up and down’ pattern of activity in terms of pick up. For the second half of October there was an overall drop in net bookings by 4% compared to the previous Pulse, but then for November there is an all-round healthy increase of 18%, with December then dropping down by -2%. 

Looking specifically at China, we are continuing to see steady increases of new bookings for October and December, 9% and 7% respectively, but a real surge for November with 79%. In South East Asia, however, pick up has slowed down and cancelations have increased in most countries (-5% for October, -16% November and -60% for December), most probably due to international borders remaining closed right up to the year end and forcing group bookings to be pushed back to 2021. 

In terms of web traffic, the APAC region has seen the healthiest performance of all the markets, with web traffic for the upcoming months increasing healthily, reflecting a rising interest in travel thanks to plans announced by several countries to open travel corridors across the region. November is up by 30%, December by 20% and January by 11% since the previous Pulse Report. 

Tasneem Mukadam, Director of Customer Success, APAC, commented: “Different countries are starting a very much phased approach of reopening borders, whether it be international or state, but it's very much a step by step, cautious approach that we are going through. 

“We are seeing signs of business returning as well, as countries begin to take these steps to start reopening again.”

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