Demand and Booking Pace Up, Review Scores Down

The latest edition of the Pulse Report, which compares data from May with April of this year, and cross-references this with previous years’ performance, shows that lodging demand and pricing are moving in a positive direction, and booking pace remains off the charts.

Interestingly, over recent months last-minute bookings have been a lot less common and, while many travelers still procrastinate, we are seeing a lengthening of the booking window as it returns to pre-pandemic patterns of advance purchase.

However, guest review scores are sequentially declining due to numerous operating headwinds. Hospitality guest satisfaction reached record-high levels before the pandemic in July and August 2019. But, similar to most industry performance metrics, scores fell off a cliff in March 2020 and troughed in August 2020. The trend sequentially improved until May 2021 and then turned negative, reaching a historic low in November 2021 after the Delta variant peak. Global hospitality guest satisfaction trends progressed at the start of 2022, down only -2.5% from 2019 levels, but then in March of this year, the downward slope returned, now -3.5% off of 2019 guest satisfaction levels. It seems that customer expectations are returning to normal while owners and operators seek ways to best compete in the new normal.