Travel TrendsMore hotel rooms being snapped up across the region indicate travellers' greater demand and confidence for travel in Asia Pacific.

Make room for a year of rebound

STR's latest statistics reveal optimism and more good signs to come.
STR's latest statistics reveal optimism and more good signs to come. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Tzido

“There are a lot of good stories to tell. There is definitely love in the air. What I’m seeing is that the Omicron wave did not impact us as much as the previous variant did,” said Jesper Palmqvist, area director of Asia Pacific at STR, who gave the opening presentation at the virtual Alternate Ownership Conference Hotels & Resorts – Asia Pacific.

Palmqvist shared that the market rebounded quickly in terms of occupancy globally, and shows a strong and steady move back to 2019 levels within the same period of comparison. Average daily rates were also already above 2019 levels or just below it.

“There's a lot of purchasing power. We're definitely headed in the right direction. Over the last five to six months, we have seen how quickly the rates around the world have moved up to 2019 levels. People had savings; they want to pay,” said Palmqvist.

An ADR snapshot of 8 destinations shows a positive trajectory in market demand.
An ADR snapshot of 8 destinations shows a positive trajectory in market demand. Photo Credit: TR/AOCAP 2022

Confidence levels among travellers are trending positively. STR’s surveys have shown that before Delta came along, confidence levels were high, then it took a dip when Delta hit.

“In February, however, we see the confidence levels going up again. People are seeing that with the vaccinations and with easing of Covid protocols, they are ready to travel more. They are also ready to go back to hotels more, as compared to other accommodations, which was as high as 60 percent, according to our survey,” said Palmqvist.

However, what’s needed to sugarcoat this positive trend is much-needed international air capacity, which is still lagging behind in many countries in Southeast Asia. Domestic air capacity, on the other hand, is scheduled to move back strongly to 2019 levels.

Palmqvist also presented a snapshot of average daily rates (ADR) in Asia Pacific for resorts vs other accommodations, and it showed Australia, India and Japan already reaching and going above 2019 levels. “They were able to find high rates, and customers were absolutely able to pay for it. And it wasn't like they were having 90% to 95% occupancies,” he said.

Other markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia were more compressed and haven’t gone back to the same levels yet, elaborated Palmqvist.

“Thailand at its peak in December and January in 2019 was hitting 75% to 80% occupancy. There’s still some way to go before reaching the same levels,” he said.

In Indonesia, where Bali has only recently fully opened, STR expects pent-up international arrivals in the coming months to give it a good boost.

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