The Travel Trends Defining the New Normal

November 29, 2020, 04:41 PM EST

Just when things were starting to improve for the hospitality industry, the much discussed and dreaded Covid-19 second wave turned from theory to reality. Adding more pain to the misery, it has left hoteliers reeling and once again, looking for new and novel ways to stay open.

Through the upheaval of change and unrest, there are two trends that appear to be here to stay. These are the long stay rentals at apart hotels and the workcation stays being offered in more exotic tourist destinations. Lets take a closer look at how hotels are repurposing their rooms and properties to find a way to thrive in these difficult times.

Extended Stay Hotels
According to the Highland report long stay apart hotels have enjoyed continued strong performance right up to the third quarter of 2020. They have outperformed most other categories in terms of occupancy levels and show no sign of slowing down. This may be why many hotels have begun offering package deals to entice guests to stay put for longer. In Palma for example, 35% of hotels have committed to staying open for the winter season and have slashed their prices for monthly stays compared to nightly rates.

With many guests looking for a break from the strangeness of Covid life, some hotels have begun offering extended stays to guests looking for a break closer to home. In other places, it’s now working out less expensive for guests to live in a luxury hotel than a city flat!

The Workcation
There are times when you just want to leave everything behind except for the office, and it’s never been easier to do that post Covid. With employers encouraging workers to bring work home, many employees are taking the opportunity to combine work and vacation, with some staying abroad for months at a time. The TUI Group piloted their first workation project at the Algarve in Portugal in September. Facilities at the hotel ranged from hotel rooms equipped with ergonomic desks and chairs to holistic relaxation programs. After a pretty terrific start and great feedback they are now rolling it out in more hotels and countries across their network.

There are times when you just want to leave everything behind except for the office

Tui aren’t the only ones capitalising on this movement; some city councils are encouraging the initiative by working with hotels determined to continue operating. In Japan, local governments work with companies who actively encourage their employees to take a vacation, in some cases even partially covering their costs!

How to do it

  • Do the research. See if there are any government incentives that could help you to get started and take pointers from other businesses who are doing something similar in your area.
  • Use your PMS to create add ons for your booking engine that will encourage workers to consider using your facilities for work either on a daily or weekly rate.
  • Think about using a points or tier system. The more they use your services and the longer they stay, the larger discount or more bonus points to keep them coming back.

The appetite for travel isn’t going anywhere. Now more than ever, the way hotels market their services and reach out to potential clients is absolutely crucial.