SLH: Demand for short break holidays surges

Over 60% of survey respondents are planning a staycation

Many members of Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s loyalty program intend to take a ‘staycation’, with some still keen for a break in the last quarter of 2020, a survey has found.

According to the poll of 6,000 members of SLH’s “Invited” program, there continues to be pent up demand for luxury holidays this year, despite ongoing uncertainty over international travel restrictions.

The survey, conducted in partnership with the UK’s Liz Hall Hotel & Travel Consulting, showed a desire to travel this year wherever possible, adapting travel plans to changes in governmental advice and a preference for smaller hotels where their experience can be managed and customised.

The survey results split the recipients into three groups – the Travel Ready, those who have already booked and maybe even travelled taking increased safety precautions in their stride; the Travel Reserved, those who are keen to get away but still cautious about potential risk; and the Travel Reluctant who are unlikely to travel until things have returned to ‘normal’.

The Hennessy Room, The George, Christchurch

Nearly half of recipients expected to be in the same position financially next year and over 30% fell into the Travel Reserved group and are planning a holiday in 2021. Of those holidays, short breaks were the priority. Only 6% indicated they would reduce spending on short breaks over the next 12 months, with holidays prioritised above personal purchases such as clothes, electronics, furniture as well as visits to bars, theatres and restaurants close to home.

Just over 60% of global members (Oceania 42%) were planning to take a ‘staycation’, of which 17% plan to do so during Q4 of 2020.

SLH reservations data for bookings originating from Asia-Pacific since 1 August reflects these numbers, with 93% of reservations for local hotels such as Ovolo The Valley Brisbane and The George in Christchurch.

International bookings were mainly for Q2 2021 visits, with top destinations being Italy and the United Kingdom. Most are also mindful of travelling safely, with a majority agreeing almost unanimously (93%) to additional health checks at the airport.

Ovolo the Valley, Brisbane | Currently SLH's only hotel in the Queensland capital

In terms of selecting accommodation, over 90% of recipients stated that they would feel most comfortable in a small hotel, while private residences were also popular. SLH’s new Exclusive Use reservations option allows guests to turn any one of 250 SLH hotels of anything up to 200 rooms into a fully-serviced private residence, and with more than 36 intimate hotels offering fewer than 12 rooms this becomes a viable option for guests wanting to travel with a small group of family and friends.

Location, flexible booking options and cleanliness were guests’ most important considerations. Discounts and offers ranked least importantly to SLH guests – 28% are of the view that there should be no discounts at all.

“It is great to see that our INVITED members are ready to travel once again and are looking at options both close to home and abroad,” said Richard Hyde, Managing Director of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. “Our small hotels are able to offer so many solutions from their location in low-key destinations and neighbourhoods to their versatility to become essentially a private residence.

“We have established ‘Stay Small, Stay Safe’ to ensure that our guests can travel with peace of mind, both for themselves and the destinations they are visiting, and to encourage those who are reserved or reluctant to travel that is it safe when the time is right for them.”

SLH staff members are also starting to travel and visiting hotels in their local vicinity or where travel restrictions allow. A ‘Behind the Brand’ section has been launched on the website’s Journal where SLH staff introduce the hotel that they are visiting or their dream destinations to stoke travel inspiration as well as to introduce the independently-minded people behind the brand.

Lead image: Ovolo The Valley, Brisbane

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