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STR: Travelers Choose Smaller Types of Accommodation in Summer 2021

Smaller types of accommodation attracted the interest of travelers this summer, as consumers continued to adapt to living in a Covid-19 world, according to recent research conducted by benchmarking and analytics firm STR.

The most recent findings of STR’s Tourism Consumer Insights team show a familiar picture compared with its previous research.

“Many accommodation types were still perceived more negatively compared with before the pandemic,” STR said.

However, smaller types of accommodation continued to top the interest of travelers.

Moreover, in July 2021, traveler interest in short-term rentals was 15 percent above the pre-pandemic level of interest.

Consistent with previous research, hotels with less than 50 rooms also recorded higher interest compared with before the pandemic. This is likely due to improved confidence in hotels as many brands have implemented elevated cleaning and other Covid-safe protocols.

At the other end of the scale, hostels continue to suffer more than other types of accommodation.

Some six in 10 travelers said that they were less interested in staying at a hostel now compared with before the pandemic. While this is a difficult reading for the sector, it was an improved result compared with previous findings which again suggests that there is growing confidence in the accommodation sector.

Luxury versus economy divide

Consumers were also asked for their views on different classes of hotel accommodation. Overall, travelers are still less interested in staying at hotels now than before the pandemic.

Interestingly, economy and budget hotels were perceived significantly more negatively than upscale and luxury hotels in the current environment. This is likely due to factors including perceptions of cleanliness and property size associations.

Cultural preferences examined

In its latest research, STR also saw shifting cultural preferences for accommodation compared to previous research in February 2021.

North Americans were less interested in almost all forms of accommodation in the latest survey. Meanwhile, the opposite trend could be seen among Brits as they were more interested in almost every category in July 2021 compared with the February 2021 research. These findings are likely a reflection of the different stages of progression and impact of the Delta variant in the regions.

The only exceptions were an increase in interest for smaller sized hotels and decreasing interest in larger hotels among all respondent groups compared with the February 2021 research. These findings highlight that while the impact of new infections shifts sentiment toward accommodation in different countries, new preferences are being established as consumers respond to living with the virus.

Founded in 1985, STR provides premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for global hospitality sectors.

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