The travel landscape has undergone a seismic shift in a world emerging from the shadows of the pandemic. The summer of 2023 has been marked by a striking surge in hotel prices, with North America recording an astounding 64.03% increase compared to 2019.
Europe and Asia also felt the tremors, with hikes of 16.75% and 48.5%, respectively, as per Mabrian’s data. This begs the question: are these exorbitant prices here to stay or merely a fleeting outcome of the so-called ‘revenge travel’?
The concern isn’t just about the rising figures. There’s an underbelly to these figures that industry experts are cautious about. When does the pricing reach unsustainable, causing travellers to feel taken advantage of and potentially boycotting certain establishments?
We reached out to the cogs and wheels of the travel supply chain, seeking clarity. The overarching sentiment? Technology and innovation might hold the key to navigating these uncharted waters.
Christian Sabbagh from Travelsoft, a leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) group, underscores the potential opportunities the current market conditions present. “This scenario has paved the way for astute travel sellers, arming them with the tools to craft innovative solutions for travellers seeking value,” says Sabbagh. His vision involves travel agencies leaning into cutting-edge strategies, integrating dynamic pricing models, and fostering loyalty programs to ensure customers return.
However, there’s a line drawn in the sand by BEONx, a hotel revenue management expert. “While these prices might be the norm today, they won’t hold ground indefinitely. It’s not about hitting travellers’ pockets but offering genuine value,” asserts Alex Barros, the Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer at BEONx. He advocates for holistic solutions, where hoteliers focus on the entire guest experience rather than just the room’s cost, ensuring brand longevity.
Adding another layer to the discourse, Gareth Matthews, Chief Marketing Officer at global travel distributor Didatravel, calls for differentiation. “High prices need to mirror unmatched, top-tier services. Discontented travellers, after all, hold immense sway in today’s digital age with reviews and feedback,” he notes.
While the discussions are rife with strategies and foresight, it’s also crucial to remember many travellers work within a budget. Emilie Dumont, Managing Director of Digitrips, owner of MisterFly, cautions the industry, stating that not every traveller can stretch their budgets. Her solution? “Harness the power of discounts, loyalty schemes, and more. Our Best Price Tracker is just the beginning,” she confidently remarks.
As the hotel rates narrative unfolds, one thing remains crystal clear: the industry is at a crossroads. With strategic use of technology and an unwavering focus on value, the path forward might be prosperous.
Written by: Supaporn Pholrach (Joom)