Traveler Trends and Guest Behavior – What’s Changed, What’s New?

Travel in 2021 is already significantly different than what it was even just a year ago. While the current challenges in the hospitality industry are impacting the way in which hotels function, they are also taking a toll on the traveler trends and the guest behavior. 

Analyzing and acting upon the changes in these areas is a constant effort for hoteliers – but it is one that pays off. In order to recover in a healthy way and regain the trust of the pandemic hotel guest, hospitality experts need to understand what’s changed, what’s new, and how they can serve the exact needs and expectations of today’s traveler.

To make things easier for you, we summarized the most impactful changes in the traveler trends and the guest behavior, as seen through our own data. As a company, we are always looking for ways to analyze the valuable insights that guest reviews provide and to support hoteliers in their efforts to enable the best possible experience. Let’s see what the data uncovered in terms of current trends and changed behavior:

The Rise of Local Travel

It’s only natural that, during uncertain times, travelers would want to stick closer to home, to the familiar. Safety concerns during travels have been on the rise ever since the pandemic started and the thought of something unexpected happening while being far away from home is unsettling for many. Not just that, but many borders are still closed and travel restrictions are still going strong in some countries around the world.

Data signaled a rise in popularity for local, domestic travel and an upward trend regarding “staycations”. Our semantic analysis data shows that the need to explore and discover is one that can also adapt to a more local approach and the review mentions of local travel and staycations have increased in the past few months. 

You can get more insights into what hotel guests are saying in their reviews from this article

The Need for Contactless Solutions

This is a trend that will most likely establish itself as the new norm in travel and hospitality, as well as in many other businesses out there. Maintaining a safe distance while being able to keep in touch is a must nowadays – and, when using the right tools to communicate with guests and the hotel staff, contactless engagement can be even more beneficial and time-efficient than face-to-face interactions. In fact, our own data showed a significant increase in the number of on-site reviews during the pandemic months, which goes to show the importance of instant communication.

By enabling live engagement means while the guest is on-site, hoteliers can optimize operations such as the check-in process, the constant flow of information, the feedback collection, and the overall communication between hotel staff and guests or between team members themselves – all this while keeping the social distancing rules and the safety measures in place. 

Make sure to read more about the exclusive TrustYou Live Experience solution and how it can support the rising need for contactless solutions

Safety and Cleanliness Above All

There was never another time in the travel industry where people were more concerned about their health and safety than they are right now. The risk of getting sick is nerve wracking enough while being at home but getting sick while traveling adds a whole new dimension of stress and anxiety to the overall experience. This is why hotels are focusing their main efforts towards not only adhering to the official, standard cleanliness measures but also towards going the extra mile and communicating with guests about this matter in the most effective way. 

After an event of such magnitude, it’s safe to assume that the “cleanliness trend” and stringent sanitation measures will surpass the “temporary” status and will go on to have a long life span; which is, after all, a positive thing and one that we are already getting used to in our day-to0day lives. 

We have used our own data and research to put together a complex and comprehensive guide that breaks down the cleanliness standards around the world, which you can access here

What’s relevant now?

If there’s one lesson to take away from this pandemic, is that things can change significantly in the blink of an eye. It’s already a well-known fact that travelers rely heavily on online reviews in order to guide their booking decision – but now, it’s also a matter of relevance. 

With so many things having changed in the last few months, so many rules and regulations, restricted areas, or unavailable services, it’s hard to keep track of what is currently happening, especially in an unfamiliar place such as a hotel or a destination. What was relevant only a few months ago might not be the same in the present. At the same time, the things that used to matter most to travelers in the past can be different than what they deem important right now. 

This is why online guest reviews are digested in a different way by travelers. In order to be able to make a safe and informed booking decision, they need to know the current situation of a certain hotel and what guests are saying about it in the now. 

At TrustYou, we have quickly recognized the importance of this trend and we developed the exclusive Relevant Now data, which enables hotel listings to shift the focus towards the most relevant and recent guest reviews. You can read all about this new feature and how we unveiled its rising importance through user testing in this article

More Care and Empathy

While the digital revolution is on the rise, travelers now require more care and empathy than ever before. Showing genuine care is one trend that will never go out of style and especially when it comes to such a personal industry as hospitality, you need to make sure that your guests are well taken care of and that they feel heard and valued. 

Keep in mind that booking a hotel under the current circumstances implies a high level of trust – your guests are trusting you to provide them with a safe and satisfactory stay and they seek reassurance regarding all their questions and concerns. In this case, the human touch can make a tremendous difference in how travelers end up perceiving their hotel experience and, ultimately, rating it online.