SensorFlow had its first global webinar and we had an amazing bunch of speakers. To make the webinar digestible, we’ve split it into a four-part web series to shine the limelight on all four speakers.

For the second part of this web series, we have Andrew Stothert representing Europe. He shares insights from a consumers’ viewpoint on travel and what they are expecting from hotels when we’re all allowed to travel again.

Watch Andrew’s presentation here:

“To respond to the new COVID-19 norms and uncertainties, the industry must learn to track and understand the emotional aspects of these changes. Businesses will succeed when they seek deeper insights into their customers’ attitudes and how they will impact brands and the experiences delivered. “

Download Europe Slides

Across Europe, people are not very optimistic about the status of international and domestic travel. However, according to Skyscanner, 54% of the people surveyed say that they intend to travel internationally in the next 6 months (if restrictions are lifted). This shows how much people are wanting to get out and explore the world again, but that doesn’t come without its challenges.

International tourist levels are expected to return to pre-COVID numbers in 2024 which means that hotels will need to cater to more domestic tourists in the meantime.

With the ever-changing restrictions, it has have made people wary of making long-term travel plans, so travellers are making last-minute bookings which can make forecasting and operational planning harder for hotels. On top of that, the traditional pricing algorithms of prices being higher for short-notice bookings can cause hotels to lose guests, so it’s crucial to figure out the sweet spot between bringing in revenue and retaining guests.

Below are some leisure and travel customer sentiments in Europe:

Leisure travellers have four core motivations for travel:

Escapism

For those confined within the city, they prefer to head out to the countrysides to go camping (GLAMping as they call it these days) or go on road trips in RVs. This kind of travelling allows people to stay close to home but see a different side to it. People will prefer to be out in the suburbs as it minimises their interaction with people and allows them to escape the pressures of day-to-day life.

Togetherness

For some of us who work and/or live in a different city to our families, it’s hard to not be able to drive over for the weekends. When restrictions are lifted, people are going to have a deeper emotional drive to go on family vacations to take back the time they’ve lost. This also means that they would want to go and stay in hotels that are family-friendly with connecting rooms being in high demand, multiple rooms booked that need to be on the same floor and next to each other is going to be as common as guests asking for additional toilet amenities.

Belonging

With people being confined to their own backyard, “staycations” are all the rage. Consumers want to know more about the place they call home and what interesting experiences can be uncovered. There will be more responsible travellers, with boutique local brands getting more support from locals as they feel a deeper connection with the city/country and want to play their part in supporting the smaller communities.

Betterment

With the pandemic showing us how the Earth is recovering with dolphins coming back to Vienna, animal migration patterns returning to normal, and clearer blue skies, people are beginning to realise their impact on the world. Travellers are going to focus heavily on the sustainability efforts of hotels and their brands which means that hotels that don’t act on their sustainability programs now are going to lose out on the first wave of guests.

Overall, when people start travelling again, it’s going to be very emotionally driven because they’ve spent all this time in their homes writing out their bucket lists and they know exactly the experience they want. They’ll pick your hotel for the brand’s experience than anything else so a bad review will be more damaging to you than ever before.

About the Speaker:

Andrew Stothert

Andrew Stothert
CEO

Andrew Stothert has 30 years of brand experience both on the client and agency side. He brings his experience of working with complex brand structures in the leisure and hospitality sectors such as Merlin Entertainments and Greene King. As the non-executive director of Thwaites pubs, inns, and hotel group in the UK, Andrew has extensive insights on the current trends of the travel and hospitality space.

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