Appetite for SA travel still alive during pandemic - RoomRaccoon South Africa
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Hotel management software provider RoomRaccoon said there is still a strong appetite for travel.
The company recorded a reservations surge for December 2020 and between February and May 2021, immediately after the Covid-19 second wave.
Niels Verspui, Country Manager at RoomRaccoon South Africa, said that hoteliers, guest houses and lodge owners need to know there is light at the end of the tunnel.
"Clearly, there is still appetite for domestic business and leisure travel, even if most South Africans are unable to travel abroad for now. We expect to see a similar trend once the third wave has peaked and in decline.
"RoomRaccoon statistics during and following the second wave of Covid-19 infections in the country showed that bookings for accommodation businesses nearly doubled in December, February, March, April and May 2021, with up to 60% of rooms booked in these months, well above the benchmark of 30%. Tourism business owners must not lose hope and should prepare for a similar rebound following the third wave," he explained.
According to Verspui, the majority of guests are making bookings for the future at accommodations in both small towns and large metros. He said establishments in coastal areas including Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek regions, the Garden Route and the Drakensberg have seen the highest occupancies.
And, although leisure travel to Gauteng is currently restricted, people are still placing last-minute bookings in the area for business or essential activities allowed under the current restrictions.
"Hoteliers should also note that traveller behaviour is changing. For example, guests on average are booking rooms between Monday to Friday with a clear drop on the weekend. This could also possibly be attributed to conscious travellers looking to avoid crowds or business travel taking centre stage.
"With these trends in mind, it is vital for the industry to look at ways to safely operate alongside the virus - based on learnings and solutions implemented over the past year. More and more independent and medium-sized accommodation establishments are adding smart touchless or contactless elements to the customer experience, including contactless checkouts via app or email," he added.