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Traveler Interest Holds Firm But Conversions Remain Flat

October 29, 2020 | Claire Middleton, Contributing Editor

The latest edition of the Pulse Report, which tracks data from October 5-18, shows increased interest in travel continuing across most markets. But, as other recent reports have shown, the conversion rates are still failing to catch up. 

Web Traffic

The Americas are showing a fascinating story at the moment; web traffic levels for both North and Latin America are considerably higher than they were at this time last year, despite the uncertainty the world is facing right now. The most recent data shows that for every single month from October 2020 through to August 2021, North America has seen an increase in web shopping compared to last year. This is an indication of people’s increasing desire to get out and do things as the pandemic restrictions go on for longer and longer. 

Things are a little steadier in APAC, where web traffic levels remain stable. There have been some minor increases, but as a whole the region increased on average by 10% for the upcoming three months. This is compared to a 19% increase in the previous edition of the Pulse Report.

In Europe, as COVID-19 cases begin to rise once more and various countries again impose tougher restrictions and local lockdowns, web shopping has surprisingly increased. The whole region saw a 45% increase for November and a 28% increase for December compared to the previous Pulse Report. The report also shows some positive trends in terms of web shopping for 2021 as well. 

Juan Ruano, Duetto’s Director of Hospitality Solutions for the EMEA region said: “Despite the increases in COVID cases in EMEA, people’s appetite to travel is growing. This is probably due to the fact that we are coming into a period where we would be planning lots of travel under normal circumstances - Thanksgiving in America and national holidays in Europe, including Christmas - and so our instincts right now are to start planning travel.”

Pick up

Despite this clear desire to travel across all markets, conversion rates are simply not where they should be for this time of year. Perhaps this is inevitable as people remain unsure of the restrictions in place at their destination or they might just not feel safe traveling. 

Interestingly however, some regions are showing a decent increase in pick up, although only for the very short-term. Net pick up of reservations into North America once again increased over the short-term booking window, with the exception of October, for which net gains were -2%, while November, December and January all made positive progress with increases of +55%, +28% and +28% respectively. 

Similarly in Latin America, net pick up continues to show signs of positive momentum, but still only for the very short-term. Following the previous Pulse Report’s growth in new bookings for October stays of 126% c, the most recent data shows a slowdown in growth, but continued movement with +9%. This trend continues into the 45-60 day window with November up by 44% and December up by 27%.

Hannah Weller Barrise, Director of Hospitality Solutions, Americas, commented: “Pick up in Latin America is showing signs of positivity, but it's still entirely for the short term. We think so much of this has to do with the lack of longer term confidence right now. 

“Both Latin and North America are seeing a clear desire to travel - a desire to get out, go on a trip, see loved ones - but it just hasn’t started to convert yet. The real concern comes when we start to ask at what point will this interest begin to taper out? When will we get to the point where people just don’t bother to look anymore? We just don’t know that yet.”

In the APAC region as a whole, we are once again seeing short lead times with a 14% increase in bookings for October since the previous Pulse Report. However, for November and December, whilst we are seeing an increase in bookings, we are also witnessing a higher rate of cancelations or shift of dates, perhaps as people’s plans change as a reaction to the ever-changing COVID situation. 

Over in EMEA, as COVID cases increase, the pace of new bookings is clearly and perhaps inevitably, slowing down. October saw an increase in net pick up of 31%, compared to the 168% increase reported in the previous Pulse Report. It should be noted that this is still a good last minute pick up, although it is at a 5% lower ADR than in the last report. 

Juan Ruano added: “Despite the clear interest in travel at the moment, people are simply having to face the reality of the various restrictions, which mean their plans just can’t materialise and so they don’t follow through with the booking.”

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