2022 not quite land the way you’d hoped?
There was such promise as pandemic restrictions eased: access to the COVID-19 vaccines expanded and high ADRs in North America held, but 2022 had to follow 2021 and herein lies the problem.
And 2021 for hoteliers in the United States, broadly speaking, was an exceptional year. Let’s think of 2021 as that bucket list resort you’ve always wanted to go to, and 2022 as the airport hotel at the end of the trip. That airport hotel could be an exceptional airport hotel, but if you’re experiencing it after an unforgettable vacation, you’re not going to appreciate just how good it is.
And 2022 was good. No, 2022 was fantastic for our industry. The growth seen since 2019 has been astonishing. And we’re not talking about one-time bookers to thank for revenue growth. Return business has remained strong for many we work with, even as international travel opened up again. Even recently, STR reported that the week of December 17 saw the highest demand for that week in 23 years! They also reported that occupancy for the week was at its highest since the start of the pandemic, and – better still – its highest since 2016!
Let’s remember that 2020 and 2021 were the peak years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, with that, there was a lot of turbulence. With international travel out of the question for many, and people’s refreshed appreciation for downtime with loved ones, we saw record-breaking occupancy and revenue in many hotels and resorts across the United States. They were two very unique years. So now that you’re having to compare 2022 to these unique years, 2022 doesn’t seem… all that. We get it. But, if we compare 2022 to 2019, most can appreciate just how strong last year really was. 2022 was also the year that we saw positive numbers outside of the United States too. Here in Canada, and in other markets we work in across the globe, we saw substantial growth in 2022 for the first time since the pandemic hit.
We also have to appreciate how many new challenges 2022 presented. With war being forced on large populations of the world, aggressive inflation, increased advertising costs, and layoffs and mass resignations at many of the world’s largest employers, we were operating in another unique year.
By no means are we suggesting we all just brush off any year-on-year declines as completely out of our control, because there is a great deal we can control. Yes, there are uncertainties ahead economically, but can you name a year where you felt confident you knew exactly what lay ahead? Of course not. So, as long as you can identify opportunities to improve upon this year and develop an action plan, you’re on the right track to continued success.
We’re so proud of what our clients have achieved in 2022: from record-breaking Black Friday sales, to features on some of the biggest television shows, best ever website booking conversion rates, to the successful launch of completely new properties. And I’m so proud of all that our Wallop team has achieved: launching websites with record-fast speeds, learning and implementing a completely new Google Analytics for our partners, achieving highest ever return-on-ad-spend for many clients, and dozens of other wins in between.
Benchmarking and comparisons are part of what we all do day-to-day in this industry, but when all we’re doing is comparing ourselves, whether professionally or personally, we don’t sit back and appreciate just how great we are. So give yourselves a pat on the back and let’s get on with another year of success.