September 16, 2020

A recent survey undertaken by Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) shows that Travel Ready advocates continue to drive pent up demand for luxury holidays this year despite ongoing uncertainty over international travel restrictions. The survey, conducted in partnership with Liz Hall Hotel & Travel Consulting, looked at the current travel sentiments of over 6,000 members of the luxury brand’s Invited programme. The results show a desire to travel this year wherever possible, adapting travel plans to changes in governmental advice and a preference for smaller hotels where their experience can be managed and customised.

The survey results split the recipients into three groups: the Travel Ready, those who have already booked and maybe even travelled taking increased safety precautions in their stride; the Travel Reserved, those who are keen to get away but still cautious about potential risk; and the Travel Reluctant who are unlikely to travel until things have returned to ‘normal’.

With over 46 per cent of recipients expecting that they will be in the same position financially next year it comes as no surprise that over 30 per cent fall into the Travel Reserved group and are currently planning a holiday in 2021. Short breaks take priority as only 6 per cent indicate they would reduce spending on short breaks over the next 12 months, with holidays prioritised above personal purchases such as clothes, electronics, furniture and even outings to bars, theatres and restaurants close to home.

Domestic travel takes the limelight, with 61 per cent of global members (Asia 44 per cent) planning to take a staycation, of which 17 per cent plan to do so during Q4 of 2020. SLH reservations data for bookings originating from Asia-Pacific since August 1st reflects these numbers, with 93 per cent of reservations for local hotels. International bookings were mainly for Q2 2021 visits, with top destinations being the Maldives and the United Kingdom. Most are also mindful of travelling safely, with a majority agreeing almost unanimously (93 per cent) to additional health checks at the airport.

In terms of selecting accommodation, over 90 per cent of recipients stated that they would feel most comfortable in a small hotel, while private residences were also popular. Location, flexible booking options and cleanliness were guests’ most important considerations.

SLH has recently launched a ‘Stay Small, Stay Safe’ programme ensuring third party accreditation for all member hotels with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council. Discounts and offers ranked least importantly to SLH guests—28 per cent are of the view that there should be no discounts at all, with hotels investing in hotel services to ensure guests’ safety at luxury standards instead. In addition to cleanliness-related conditions such as capacity adjustments, accredited Covid-19 certification, enforced social distancing, face masks, guests would favour hotels which can also offer enjoyable activities safely as well as hotels with an outdoor focus.

Richard Hyde, Managing Director of Small Luxury Hotels of the World says: “It is great to see that our Invited members are ready to travel once again and are looking at options both close to home and abroad. Our small hotels are able to offer so many solutions from their location in low-key destinations and neighbourhoods, to their versatility to become essentially a private residence. We have established ‘Stay Small, Stay Safe’ to ensure that our guests can travel with peace of mind, both for themselves and the destinations they are visiting, and to encourage those who are reserved or reluctant to travel that is it safe when the time is right for them.”