Lodgings trends: Covid-19 pandemic leads Twitter mentions in Q3 2021
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Lodgings trends: Covid-19 pandemic leads Twitter mentions in Q3 2021

12 Nov 2021

Hotel Management Network lists the top five terms tweeted on lodgings in Q3 2021, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform.

Lodgings trends: Covid-19 pandemic leads Twitter mentions in Q3 2021
Credit: David Tadevosian/Shutterstock.com.

The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Covid-19 and pandemic – 264 mentions

Losses to hotels in Boston due to the Covid-19 pandemic, recovery of hotels after reopening from Covid-19 lockdowns, and the hospitality sector shifting towards sustainable services post Covid-19, were some of the popular discussions in Q3.

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), a non-profit representing the lodging industry, shared an article on how hotels in Boston are suffering from the effects of the pandemic. Hoteliers claim that they are operating at between 70% and 75% occupancy rate since the pandemic hit, while they would have been full otherwise. Furthermore, the unemployment rate in the leisure and hospitality sector in the city stood at 9.1%, compared to the national average of 5.2%, according to the latest US Jobs report. Most hotels have not been able to regain bookings, despite the inflow of college students and families in Boston. Many hotels have been forced to reduce services such as lunchtime meals and housekeeping services during the night, added the article.

Hotel News Now, an online aggregator of hotel news, tweeted on how hotel ramp-ups after Covid-19 lockdowns and temporary closures are dependent on the market and location. The article detailed that new-build hotels in the US typically take from 15 to 19 months to ramp up and achieve the full level of occupancy, revenue, and daily average rates. Demand drivers and location played a critical role in how quickly hotels were able to ramp-up their performance after lockdowns. Hotels in Miami, for example, achieved 2019 revenue per available room (RevPAR) within 12 months of reopening, while those in Boston are still struggling to reach 2019 performance levels, the article detailed.

Covid-19 also trended in discussions related to a shift to sustainable services in the hospitality sector after the pandemic. An article shared by Richard Burns, a hotel specialist dealing in TV systems and broadband services, highlighted that the post-pandemic market in the hospitality sector in changing as travellers are preferring environment-friendly services for rest and renewal .

The new customer demands and concerns for environmental change have, therefore, led the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to adopt sustainability as the new normal for all parts of the tourism sector, the article detailed. A number of luxury travel services provided by resorts and spas will now focus on implementing greener solutions. Some of the sustainability features being adopted include eco-aware temperature control, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered supply predictions to reduce waste, and energy-saving structures.

2. Resort – 223 mentions

Vietnam reopening a resort island to tourists, travel and tourism company Club Med opening its first ski resort in North America, and Raffles The Palm Dubai resort opening on 01 October 2021 were some of the discussions that trended in Q3.

Brian Kelly, CEO of travel and lifestyle media platform The Points Guy (TPG), shared an article on Vietnam reopening a resort island to tourists in October. The Vietnamese government announced that it will reopen its largest island Phu Quoc for a six-month trial period to tourists in an effort to revive the tourism sector, which was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. All the residents of the island will be fully vaccinated before reopening the island. Visitors are also expected to be fully vaccinated and need to produce a negative Covid-19 test result to visit the island, the article detailed.

Arthur Frommer, a travel blogger, shared an article on Club Med unveiling its new ski resort in North America. The new resort is expected to serve as an affordable alternative to other winter ski hubs. The company stated that the prices at the resort can help guests save approximately $6,000 per couple each week as compared to other properties in Aspen and Colorado. The savings are a result of the all-inclusive pricing that includes expensive activities such as ski lessons, ice skating, entertainment, and food, the article noted.

Another discussion around resorts was on a tweet by Tiffany Dowd, president and founder of Luxe Social Media, a social media marketing company, on the opening of Raffles The Palm Dubai on 01 October. It is a first-of-its-kind luxurious Raffles resort in the Middle East and the second such resort in Dubai.

3. Restaurants – 73 mentions

American hotel and restaurant company Nobu expanding its partnership with casino entertainment provider Caesars Entertainment company, and restaurants and hotels changing the traditional ways to keep their employees and guests safe due to Covid-19 were some of the popular discussions on restaurants in Q3 2021.

Eric Hertha, a hospitality finance specialist, shared an article on Nobu’s partnership with Caesars Entertainment to open a restaurant and lounge at Paris Las Vegas next year. The move enables the hospitality group to expand its reach in New Orleans and the Atlantic City. The new restaurant will be the third Nobu restaurant in Paris Las Vegas, the article detailed. The collaboration will also bring Nobu hotels and restaurants to Harrah’s New Orleans and Caesars Atlantic City in 2022 and 2024, respectively.

The term was also discussed in an article shared by the LODGING Magazine, AHLA’s official publication, on how food and beverage trends are changing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hotels are increasingly adopting optional room service format instead of restaurant and lounge services during the pandemic. Mobile dining also witnessed a boom as restaurants had to adopt the QR code technology and mobile menus for customers, the article noted. Ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages became popular at hotels and consumers felt comfortable to eat in their rooms. Furthermore, hotels focused increasingly on sustainability by reducing plastics use in their operations apart from food waste reduction techniques, the article detailed.

4. Business Travel – 62 mentions

The impact of sluggish group and business travel on lodgings recovery, the impact of rise in Covid-19 cases and reduced business travel on the hotel industry, and how hoteliers are adapting to new demands of business travel were popularly discussed in the quarter.

Tim Peter, an e-commerce and digital marketing specialist, shared an article on a report by big data analytics firm Kalibri Labs that estimated 60% of all the travel demand to be coming from leisure in 2021, while 37% will come from commercial. Peter recommended hotels to plan accordingly if business travel continued to remain low. The report also predicted lodgings recovery to slow down for the rest of 2021, due to factors such as slow group and business demand, rising Delta variant cases, and weak leisure demand. Hotel demand and airline bookings dropped in July compared to June and are expected to remain the same despite the re-opening of schools for in-classroom learning. Experts also believe that group and business travel will normalise only in 2022, resulting in low average daily rate and occupancy in urban hotels.

In another tweet, AHLA discussed how the rising Covid-19 cases and a 67% drop in business travel are expected to cost the hotel industry $59bn this year. A national survey conducted on behalf of AHLA revealed that 52% of the business travellers are likely to cancel their trips, while 60% plan to defer their travel plans. The survey indicated that a decline in events and business travel over the year will impact hotel revenues despite an increase in leisure travel during summer. Business travel is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2024, the article noted.

The term was also discussed by Hotel News Now in an article on how hoteliers are adapting to the new behaviours and demands of business travellers, as the segment begins to recover slowly in the US. Some notable changes in business travel include a shorter booking window, more individual trips, and in some cases only a younger demographic is travelling. Business travellers are focusing more on cleanliness and personalised experience during their stay. Employees are also required to prove that their travel is essential when attending events and launches, fulfil operational requirements, and foster customer relationships, the article detailed.

5. Vaccines – 55 mentions

Phuket in Thailand opening up to fully-vaccinated travellers, Biden withholding funding from certain organisations to encourage vaccinations, and hotels in the US implementing the vaccine mandate were popularly discussed topics in Q3.

HOTELS magazine, an event and publishing company, shared an article on Thailand’s capital city Phuket reopening to fully-vaccinated tourists under the Phuket Sandbox programme to revive the tourism sector in the country. Many local hoteliers are participating in promotional activities and have collaborated on the Welcome Back Home social media programme that seeks to invite tourists to the Phuket island. The article further noted that the programme allows tourists to roam the entire island, but not travel to other places in the first 14 days.

Brian Kelly shared an article on President Biden’s plan to withhold funding from several institutions, including travel companies, cruise operators, long-term care facilities, and universities, in order to encourage vaccinations. Reports suggest that more than 90 million Americans remain unvaccinated in these institutions. The government is yet to implement a vaccine mandate for travel and daily use despite pressure from airlines and health experts. Biden, however, has indicated that vaccination will be a prerequisite for international travel.

Another tweet on lodgings was made by Michael Hraba, a partner and project manager at hospitality management company Waterford Hotels and Inns, on certain US hotels that require a proof of vaccination for Covid-19 for both guests and staff. The Equinox Hotel, PUBLIC Hotel, Wythe Hotel, Pilgrim House, and Urban Cowboy Lodge are some of the hotels that have declared the need for all guests to provide a proof of vaccination through either digital verification or a physical card. The trend is not expected to be adopted across the industry. Vaccine mandates are being implemented by boutique hotels rather than larger chains.