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8 key takeaways from 2023 for hospitality professionals

Regardless of some lingering considerations across the broader financial system and geo-political instability, we will confidently say that journey has absolutely recovered in 2023.

Whereas obstacles nonetheless stay and can proceed to rise, we will look again on 2023 and ahead in 2024 with optimism and acknowledge the potential for progress and innovation.

Listed below are our key learnings from 2023.

Regardless of harder situations, customers saved spending on journey

In 2022, it was just about a provided that we have been going to see a giant journey and tourism rebound given the artificially depressed years of journey restrictions that had preceded it.

One yr later and that surety was falling away as excessive inflation ate away at client spending energy, as did fast rises in rates of interest to counter these hovering costs. There was now a worldwide crunch in discretionary spending, and lots of economists warned concerning the impression to livelihoods and even the potential for a worldwide recession.

Quick ahead to the shut of the yr, and vacationers decisively defied the gloom. International expenditure on journey and tourism has remained extremely strong even within the face of weakening family spending energy.
Within the US, which opened up sooner than different economies and had very excessive charges of progress within the journey sector in 2022, momentum continued in 2023. Whereas the beforehand explosive charges of progress have come down, US customers nonetheless spent 8% extra on transportation, recreation, and meals and lodging providers than a yr prior in each Q2 and Q3 2023.

Even in much less strong economies the place client discretionary spending has been squeezed greater than within the US, there gave the impression to be little let up within the need to e-book journeys. Whereas Japanese households minimize general spending by the very best quantity in almost two-and-a-half years in Q2 2023, they continued to extend the quantity of their budgets going in direction of eating out, transportation, tradition and leisure providers.

Equally, Barclays’ October UK Shopper Spending Report famous that the journey sector “continues to be one of many best-performing classes of 2023,” with spending rising 10.5% in October 2023, even amid a value of residing disaster.

In 2023, the need to see the world couldn’t be dampened.

Occasions stay an enormous demand driver for resort and short-term rental bookings, whereas enterprise journey gives a fine addition

One of many principal drivers for this continued spending by customers and the general power within the journey and tourism sector appears to be the drive to expertise issues in particular person and reject the web world pressured upon us because of the pandemic.

Whether or not it was Primavera and Sonar festivals in Barcelona, Eurovision in Liverpool, Summerfest in Milwaukee, the Rugby World Cup in Paris, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, or the Ladies’s World Cup down beneath in Australia and New Zealand, excited followers turned out in droves for main sporting, cultural and music occasions.

Simply by glancing on the chart for a few of these cities talked about above, there are clear spikes in resort room pricing the place these occasions fell within the calendar for his or her respective cities, that are marked within the chart.

These boosts to room charges underlined the robust demand generated and the next capability for hoteliers to set greater charges in all of these instances.

Individuals weren’t solely touring for pleasure, although, as the private contact very a lot returned to enterprise journey as nicely.

Enterprise journey expenditures, beforehand anticipated to be one of many slowest recovering features of the financial system post-COVID, are actually quickly approaching the place they have been in 2019.
The October 2023 GBTA Enterprise Journey Outlook Ballot reported that 84% of respondents thought-about that their firm’s enterprise journey in 2023 had recovered to near-2019 ranges, whereas the International Enterprise Journey Affiliation (GBTA) has repeatedly revised up its projections in order that it now expects 2023 spend to be roughly corresponding to 2019.

Certainly, in line with the Knowland and Amadeus Hospitality Group & Enterprise Efficiency Index (HGBPI), group enterprise within the US is now above the place it was in 2019, whereas for the yr as much as Q3, the amount of hosted occasions had reached 91% of the pre-pandemic stage.

There seemed to be no diminishing of enthusiasm for the expertise financial system going ahead both, as charges and bookings for main occasions, such because the Paris Olympics or Euro 2024 soccer event, are extraordinarily excessive, even for such high-profile occasions. Whereas the GBTA predicts that enterprise journey spending will exceed 2019 ranges in 2024.

The Chinese language journey market is sluggish to wake for outbound locations

Again in April 2023 we dove into our information and predicted that the Chinese language market was going to be one thing of a sluggish grower, probably lacking the expectations of hopeful tourism our bodies hungry for high-spending Chinese language vacationers.

So, what occurred?

Effectively, the information doesn’t lie, and whereas Chinese language vacationers have been venturing again exterior the Center Kingdom, they’re doing so in a lot smaller numbers than the extra bullish forecasts had hoped.

Earlier hotspots, like Japan, Thailand and South Korea have discovered themselves with large shortfalls in arrivals versus their expectations in the beginning of the yr, and it appears probably that this underperformance will proceed into subsequent yr.
For instance, you would want to return a decade to search out comparable numbers for mainland Chinese language guests to Japan within the yr to August 2023, whereas Thailand welcomed 2.8 million guests within the yr to October 2023, which might put it method behind its preliminary goal of 5 million guests from the nation.

That doesn’t imply that the Chinese language client has misplaced curiosity in journey, however that the response to COVID in China has resulted in behavioral modifications. Many extra Chinese language vacationers are inner locations.

The 2023 Golden Week vacation resulted in document prepare and air journey numbers, and lots of have returned to perennial favorites Macau and Hong Kong. Hong Kong illustrates this level nicely. There have been regular rises in pricing for lodges and short-term leases all year long when in comparison with 2019, notably for the previous.

As we method a key journey interval for the Chinese language market to shut 2023, charges for the standard resort room in Hong Kong for December had greater than doubled as of the time of writing, being priced 120% above 2019.

There appears little purpose to anticipate these dynamics to drastically change both in 2024, with modest progress in outbound tourism and better concentrate on the interior market from Chinese language vacationers.
China’s civil aviation authority winter and spring flight plans proudly introduced 34% extra scheduled inner flights in comparison with pre-pandemic ranges, with 516 new home routes. Nevertheless, worldwide flight numbers will miss pre-pandemic ranges by almost 30%.

Too many vacationers, too little area? The backlash in opposition to overtourism and short-term leases gathers tempo

Whereas we’ve seen unbelievable robustness from the worldwide traveler, that demand has had penalties, notably on the stage of native governments.

In locations worldwide that entice excessive volumes of vacationers, considerations have emerged concerning the availability of housing and the general impression of tourism, prompting native authorities to enact concrete laws that requires stricter reporting and oversight of short-term leases, in addition to will increase in tourism taxes and costs.

The places the place these measures are being utilized spotlight the truth that the rise in tourism is a serious contributor to those points, slightly than only a facet impact of underinvestment in housing, though that issue actually contributes.

Italy’s tax authorities have made short-term rental incomes a spotlight this yr, notably from Airbnb, which a choose discovered had failed to gather €3.7 billion of rental revenue, leading to a requirement for €779.5m from the corporate. Florence and Venice have each introduced measures to restrict leases.

In Scotland, new legal guidelines require operators to license their short-term rental property. Portugal’s authorities mentioned that it gained’t be issuing new licenses for trip leases in city areas.

On the opposite facet of the Atlantic, New York now requires anybody trying to make a itemizing of lower than 30 days to register with the mayor’s workplace.

That development displays a outstanding growth within the variety of listings on-line for vacation lets, with Europe and North America main the way in which. For the reason that begin of 2018, the variety of short-term leases has grown by 40% in Europe and 54% in North America.

Our information reveals there are actually six-and-a-half million of those properties listed in Europe – equal to the full dwellings of Sweden. This has created appreciable strain on many native communities the place they’re most in demand.

As makes an attempt to curb overtourism intensify, what may the potential impression be?

To get a clearer image, let’s check out Edinburgh and New York; two locations the place there have been current substantive modifications to method. Whereas we’re only some brief months previous the laws coming into impact, we will take a look at some preliminary information to see what could occur.

In each instances, there was a decline within the variety of listings for the reason that measures have been launched. Nevertheless, in neither case has the variety of listings dropped but to under the place they have been originally of the yr.
In the meantime, the impact on demand and charges additionally appears modest. Brief-term rental charges stay strong and there was little change to resort pricing in both metropolis.

Whereas general demand did lower barely year-on-year in each cities within the weeks instantly after the legal guidelines got here into pressure, it appears that evidently vacationers weren’t abruptly deterred.

It appears almost certainly, due to this fact, that though preventing overtourism is a rising precedence, making efficient laws that creates a distinction has been, and might be, difficult for native governments.

Vacationers proceed to need to go to these locations and are unlikely to be keeping track of native bylaws. As such, a multifaceted method is probably going essential to successfully tackle this difficulty.

The motive force of know-how funding in hospitality stays doing extra with much less

One of many causes we have now seen the robustness of journey spend famous above has been the power of the worldwide labor market. Unemployment in main economies continues to hover round document lows, even within the face of some financial headwinds, and vacancies are plentiful.

Whereas this implies there’s confidence amongst vacationers themselves that they’ll depend on continued revenue and so make plans and bookings, the outcomes behind the scenes of the business are extra problematic.

The journey and tourism business shed quite a lot of positions through the pandemic interval, and has discovered it arduous going to switch these employees, who’ve often moved on to different sectors.
Within the UK, vacancies within the hospitality sector have been 72% greater in Q1 2023 in comparison with Q1 2020, and people ranges have remained constant all year long. Or within the US, regardless of employment charges now edging again to pre-pandemic highs, 87% of lodges mentioned that they may not fill their open positions in line with the American Lodge & Lodging Affiliation (AHLA), persevering with a development of issue in hiring going again a number of years now.

That dynamic is pushing a drive for extra automation throughout hospitality, each within the front- and back-of-house, as nearly all organizations are actually pressured to do extra with much less.

Contactless was key in 2023

Whereas the front-of-house for lodges is at all times going to require a human face, automation is making rising inroads, particularly as key employees like cleaners, cooks and concierges turn into scarcer and extra expensive.

Machines clearly can’t do all these duties, however we’re seeing extra deployments of programs like cleansing robots and smartphone integrations to assist cut back the workload of resort workers.

We noticed these programs proliferate in 2023 due to the dynamics defined above, but additionally as a result of the patron is heading that method by way of habits, making this one to observe going ahead as nicely.

An rising variety of vacationers not solely settle for and use contactless types of interplay, with the pandemic accelerating this, but additionally need to make the most of these programs, discovering them (if performed nicely) handy and fewer problem than calling or heading right down to the entrance desk.

Critically for lodges, that is one other route into the patron’s digital presence and probably proudly owning the connection with the client, giving this development impetus from each instructions.

Now there’s a compelling purpose for friends to work together immediately with the resort and obtain an app, by which lodges can market and promote ancillaries, bettering each visitor expertise and revenues, whereas decreasing workers workloads.

Subsequently, anticipate to see a complete lot extra machine-to-man integrations in resort lobbies within the close to future.

Hoteliers transfer into the automation age

It’s not simply on the frontline the place smaller groups have turn into the norm, as white-collar employees are additionally having to get used to smaller groups. This has made software-as-a-service instruments invaluable throughout the business as vital time-savers in 2023 for income, common, advertising and gross sales managers.

The rising means to plug-and-play these providers supercharged the market in 2023 and now we’re seeing analytical and administration instruments turning into the norm, and a decline within the outdated spreadsheet-dominated mannequin of resort administration.

Their rise rests on their means to extend productiveness, which as we have now famous is vital on this setting. A income supervisor can now make the most of a single industrial platform to visualise market demand, analyze competitor habits and pricing, take a look at reserving curves, monitor price parity, set charges, benchmark after which talk this with the broader administration staff.

It is a game-changer for these groups, inside many frequent duties decreased right down to a fraction of what they as soon as have been, and might flip an imbalanced workload within the post-pandemic years into a way more manageable set of duties.

Generative AI makes inroads into the hospitality business

In the event you haven’t used ChatGPT to type a journey itinerary but, then it’s best to test it out. For instance, in the event you immediate it to create a five-day journey itinerary for Kyoto, Japan, it not solely will appropriately establish key websites, however construction that itinerary in a (largely) thematically and geographically cogent method that will rival a guidebook. Is that this the way forward for journey planning? Effectively, we will’t say for certain, but it surely’s going to be a useful resource vacationers use sooner or later.

The business wants to concentrate on its energy and potential from this facet, but additionally what generative AI integrations may imply for their very own manufacturers and buyer interactions.

We’ve already seen the rise of chatbots inside the journey sphere to assist with primary queries and direct friends, however this presents a step-up in functionality, permitting much more freedom for the client to ask questions in their very own method and to get to the best reply.

Now, a chatbot integration can reply extra queries independently and in addition usher in a vastly wider corpus of information to assist the visitor. Leveraging AI-powered sensible room know-how can even improve your friends’ expertise whereas maximizing upkeep effectivity and managing power utilization.

You may streamline your demand forecasting part by utilizing predictive analytics to generate demand predictions rapidly and precisely. Our Market Perception resolution, powered by distinctive AI demand segmentation know-how, turns forward-looking search information factors into real-time demand ranges, offering you with beneficial market intelligence damaged down by sub-location, keep sample, and resort sort.

AI brings distinctive alternatives for income managers that don’t simply cease at demand forecasting. If paired with the best information units, we are going to see an impression on income technique in comparison with conventional worth suggestion algorithms. Income managers will be capable to seize each income alternative robotically, as room pricing adjusts in real-time with AI-driven suggestions.

AI brings distinctive alternatives for income managers that don’t simply cease at demand forecasting. If paired with the best information units, we are going to see an impression on income technique in comparison with conventional worth suggestion algorithms.


Regardless of considerations over financial situations, resembling rising inflation and rates of interest, the need to journey has remained robust in 2023 and there must be an general feeling of positivity.

The continued drive for in-person experiences has led to a surge in demand for main sporting, cultural, and music occasions, and, consequently, has been an enormous demand driver for resort and short-term rental bookings. Enterprise journey has additionally made a comeback, with expenditures quickly approaching pre-pandemic ranges.

Moreover, the resort business can be turning to automation, machine studying and generative AI which is providing distinctive alternatives for hospitality professionals.

To be able to optimize efficiency, to make sure you get forward of your friends slightly than play catch up it’s best to look to a full circle industrial platform powered by high quality information, which takes care of every part from demand forecasting and AI pricing suggestions to benchmarking in opposition to your Comp Set.

The Lighthouse industrial platform illuminates the hidden actions of the market, bringing new insights to gentle so as to act with velocity and confidence.

Our upcoming 2024 tendencies piece might be subsequent in line. We’ll be highlighting the important thing developments and shifts that you just want to concentrate on, so as to make knowledgeable choices and keep forward of the curve, from rising applied sciences to altering client preferences.

So keep tuned and prepare to tackle the way forward for journey and hospitality with confidence.

About Lighthouse

Lighthouse (previously OTA Perception) is the main industrial platform for the journey & hospitality business. We remodel complexity into confidence by offering actionable market insights, enterprise intelligence, and pricing instruments that maximize income progress. We frequently innovate to ship the most effective platform for hospitality professionals to cost extra successfully, measure efficiency extra effectively, and perceive the market in new methods.

Trusted by over 65,000 lodges in 185 international locations, Lighthouse is the one resolution that gives real-time resort and short-term rental information in a single platform. We attempt to ship the absolute best expertise with unmatched customer support. We contemplate our shoppers as true companions—their success is our success.

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