May 20, 2020

Consumer Research Shows Promising Desire for Travel

Two of the hardest-hit lodging segments—luxury hotels and vacation rentals—are showing signs of hope, data from STR shows

As the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes the world of international travel, the Tourism Consumer Insights team at STR identified green shoots of hope for the hotel industry.

STR is already reporting positive signs with hotel demand starting to recover in May after what appears to be the low watermark set in mid-April. (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.)

With these promising signs, there is still a long road ahead as evidenced by STR consumer research conducted after 11 March (the date when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic) revealing that four in 10 international leisure travelers are anticipating less international leisure travel in the next 12 months compared to the prior 12 months. These travelers come from a representative sample of 600 respondents in each of four English speaking countries: Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Future Intent
Source: STR, © 2020 CoStar Realty Information, Inc.

Acknowledging that all travel in the next 12 months is subdued, examination of international leisure travelers across four different accommodation types reveals differences in travel intentions. Travelers who typically stay in short-term rentals and luxury or superior class hotels were less pessimistic (e.g., more likely to plan travel in the next 12 months) compared to standard or budget and mid-range quality hotels. Almost one in five travelers in the short-term/vacation rental and luxury lodging segments stated that they planned to travel more in the next 12 months compared to notably lower proportions among the standard and mid-range lodging segments.

This is promising because STR performance data shows that luxury hotels have been hit hardest in terms of occupancy, and other research has shown the short-term/vacation rental segments also being hit harder than other lodging types. These two segments, while distinctly different, each offer unique experiences, such as the high quality of luxury hotels or the authenticity of an apartment rented in the middle of the city. In a post-COVID-19 world, the unique features distinguishing these accommodations will be more important than ever in driving demand. As long as they pass the cleanliness test—which is another story. Stay tuned.

Propensity to Travel Internationally
Source: STR, © 2020 CoStar Realty Information, Inc.

Ruairidh Imlach is a Research Executive at STR. Chris Klauda is STR’s Senior Director of Market Insights. Rhona Lawson is Research Manager at STR.

This article represents an interpretation of data collected by STR, parent company of HNN.

Copyright 2020 CoStar Realty Information, Inc. All rights reserved. From By Ruairidh Imlach, Chris Klauda and Rhona Lawson.

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