Global travellers went on a travelling rampage right after the Covid restriction was lifted in 2021, while gaining popularity in 2022. However, the trend is probably over, but not in a bad way.
The word “Revenge Travel” was trending in 2021 for people paying back and taking the trip that they lost due to the global pandemic. 2022 saw a huge surge in the number of tourist travellers packing their bags and heading off to see the world after two years of restrictions.
However, the revenge travel may have come to an end as Intercontinental Hotels Group CEO Elie Maalouf told CNBC in an interview that he believes the trend is over, even in China that has yet to see a recovery to its pre-Covid level.
Mr. Maalouf said that the company, known as IHG, is in a sustainable place as bookings for groups and meetings going into 2024 and beyond are the strongest that the company has seen in a very long time.
In the latest quarterly update, IHG showed that travel demand remained strong during the close of the summer travel season. RevPar (revenue per available room) was up 10.5% compared to the third quarter last year and also nearly 13% higher when compared to the third quarter of 2019, which was before the pandemic started. IHG’s occupancy in the third quarter was at 72%, just 1% shy of pre-pandemic level.
The CEO said that he is very pleased with the number and hopes it continues, even though RevPar dropped 3% in large cities in Greater China when compared to the third quarter of 2019.
Meanwhile, data showed that flight capacity going into China is below 50% of the pre-pandemic level, which results in lower revenue in larger cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Nonetheless, Mr. Maalouf said that if we look at the country as a whole, travel — which is mostly domestic in China — has recovered to the point of well above 2019 level. He pointed out that more than 80% of IHG’s business in China is in mid-sized to smaller cities.
Last month, Morning Consult also published a report that while there are some places that travel intentions increased, but places in Europe started to see a decline. The data showed that intentions to travel dropped 11 percentage points in France and six in Germany since 2022. Meanwhile, Canada and Russia recorded a drop of four percentage points each.
The analyst from Morning Consult said that it was not an indication that travel will decline significantly, but the majority of those who were waiting to take their ‘revenge trips’ have already done so.