12 trends for Portuguese hotels in the summer of 2022

GuestCentric has analyzed hundreds of hotels and now presents the most important trends in the national hotel sector for the coming summer season.

There are clear signs of exponential demand – with growth levels surpassing pre-pandemic numbers – but also the emergence of more discerning customers, who are willing to pay more, as long as they are in return for truly distinctive experiences.

1. More trips planned
In this year of recovery, the forecasts for the number of journeys are encouraging. In a survey conducted by Small Portuguese Hotels (SPH)*, 30% of customers predicted 3 or more trips in 2022 and another 20% planned to travel 2 times this year. International customers were more ambitious: 33% said they would make 4 or more trips by 2022, i.e. twice as many Portuguese customers.

2. More Portuguese Millennials Traveling This Summer
This summer, approximately 24% of Portuguese hotel customers* this year are millennials (aged 35-44), 30% are aged 45-54 and 25% of clients are over 55, while they are young – the so-called Generation Z – represent 16% of this market share. International guests show a very different profile: 43% are over 55 and another 43% are millennials.

3. The Alentejo – the star of summer 2022
The three most desirable regions* are Alentejo (21%), followed by North and Center, with about 20% each. This data is in stark contrast to the 2021 plans, where the North attracted just 14% and the Center 13% of guests. Nearly 8% of customers cite the Portuguese islands – Azores and Madeira – as destinations they plan to travel to. It is clear that the restrictions on travel abroad in the past two years, as well as the frequent changes in their holiday plans, have led the Portuguese to (re)discover their country. International guests, on the other hand, prefer to travel through the north of Portugal (40%), another 20% plan to visit Porto, while another 20% plan to visit the Algarve.

4. Portugal, US and UK: the main markets for direct booking
According to Guestcentric’s research, Portuguese guests represent the majority of customers who book hotels directly in the country, followed by the US and UK. Although Online Travel Agents (OTA) have stepped up their marketing efforts, with greater commercial aggressiveness expected in the summer of 2022, there is still a lot of growth potential in direct bookings and thus for greater profitability.

5. Average price reaches its upper limit
The average daily price (Average Daily Rate – ADR) will reach record levels in 2022, especially in Europe. According to data from GuestCentric, hotel prices in Europe are currently 31% higher than in 2019, while unit prices in the US are 13% higher than in 2019. According to Bloomberg, hotel prices in the US will reach all-time highs in 2022.

6. Customers Prefer Experience Over Price
If 2021 was the year of domestic travel, 2022 will be the year of the “journey of a lifetime”. According to Stephanie Papaioannou, vice president of luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent, there is a “new sense of urgency” in travel, explaining: “Our customers feel like they’ve lost two years of their lives, and the elderly still remember.” always that means fewer years to travel healthily.”
Expedia calls 2022 the year of the “greatest trip ever”. In a survey of 12,000 travelers in 12 countries, 65% said they were planning “a big trip,” leading Expedia to declare the desire for exciting and extravagant travel “the biggest travel trend” of the year. However, ultra-luxury is more fashionable than ever, and more than three quarters of Virtuoso travel agents specializing in unique and extraordinary trips have seen a surge in these bookings.
In addition, budgets are comfortable, as evidenced by the high prices and willingness to spend, both on flights and hotels. Any discrepancy can be easily justified due to inflation. However, the rise in fuel prices and, consequently, air fares may dampen the spirit somewhat.

7. Last minute bookings continue
Last minute bookings remain the norm and Guestcentric data shows that between 40% and 50% of bookings are still made for the same month. While it is uncertain whether this trend will continue into the summer, the ability to quickly manage demand is new to many hotels, so it is important that they remain agile enough to respond accordingly.

8. Results of hotels above 2019
GuestCentric data shows that hotel stays for the second half of 2022 are currently 20% above 2019 levels. This clearly shows that guests are eager to book and travel again.
Domestic travel is expected to remain stable until the second half of this year, reaching or even exceeding 2021 levels; international ones that tend to significantly exceed 2019 levels.

9. “Disconnect Me Now” Trips Are On The Rise
The intensity of screen time and the increase in the number of hours spent on social networks over the past two years has negatively impacted almost all audiences. To really feel on vacation, customers say they need to disconnect from social media and limit their screen time. According to G Adventures UK, 58% of travelers say they need a holiday to relieve the stress associated with the pandemic and burnout they feel in their professional lives.

10. Travel Agencies: Back to Reassure Customers
Travel consultants (formerly travel agents) are making a comeback, due to the complexity of travel, the constant changes in air routes and flights, as well as the uncertainty of the post-pandemic world. By the summer of 2022, demand for simpler packages and closer destinations is likely to exceed exotic far-away travel, especially for families.
The number of telephone bookings will also increase. During the pandemic, guests have become accustomed to contacting hotels directly by phone for current information, and this trend is expected to continue into the summer of 2022.

11. More demand for “active” than cultural trips
The forced isolation during the pandemic has fueled real fear among customers for a more active lifestyle – while discovering new countries and cultures. Cycling, diving, sailing, hiking and horseback riding are probably the most sought-after activities in the summer of 2022. According to studies by Viator, many more travelers (about 48% of bookings made by the company) will be interested in outdoor experiences in 2022 than in previous years years. Water sports activities recorded the largest increase compared to 2019: 311%. Cruises, sailing or water trips are up 122%, while other outdoor activities are up 153%.

12. Responsible travel remains important
The carbon footprint of travel – in terms of carbon emissions – is now a real concern for hotel customers, who are actively looking for sustainable options when travelling. Guests are particularly sensitive to sustainable initiatives involving the hotel’s local community, especially when it comes to using local food and drink providers.

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