For three consecutive months now, hotel bookings globally have remained above 60% of 2019 levels, according to SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index (WHI). Unlike the same time last year, domestic travel is no longer dominating bookings. Rather, as collective confidence grows, particularly through Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and parts of the Americas, international travel’s contribution to booked stays is making a strong comeback.
Across each of the 42 countries on the WHI, 33.22% of bookings made globally were for international trips last August. This August, the number has increased to 44.84%, and is growing.
In 11 of the 17 European countries on the WHI, international arrivals will surpass domestic guests for the first time since the start of the pandemic, compared to just eight at the same time last year.
Booking momentum globally continues to be driven by Europe. For the first time since the pandemic began, each of the 17 European countries on the WHI are above the global average of hotel bookings. Iceland and Spain lead the way, with more bookings being placed to their hotels relative to this time in 2019, while Portugal, Ireland and Estonia all remain above 90% of their 2019 levels. Even in traditional tourist hubs such as Paris, where hotels aren’t heavily frequented by locals, booking volumes have remained above 50% of 2019 levels this month, for the first time since March 2020.
Bookings in the Americas also continue to remain solid, despite the fresh wave of delta variant cases spreading through the region. Costa Rica is the only nation below the global average in the Americas, while booking volumes to Canadian hotels have overtaken U.S. volumes, relative to their respective 2019 levels, for the first time this year.
Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific region, while locations such as the Cook Islands and Maldives continue to lead hotel booking momentum globally, the strict lockdowns and reliance by many on longer haul international movement, means that the nations in this region continue to make up each of the 10 bottom spots on the WHI.
Hong Kong, however, does present an example of how quickly things can change for hoteliers in Asia-Pacific. Bookings there have grown 47% in the last month, to 89% of 2019 levels, as the city begins easing restrictions on vaccinated travelers.
In case the year hasn’t felt short enough, Christmas and New Year bookings are now coming in quick and fast around the world. While the trend of last-minute bookings is still largely driving momentum, for locations such as Malaysia and Thailand, bookings between Dec. 21 and Jan. 3 now make up almost 15% of all confirmed arrivals over the coming year.