Hotel suite talk turns to 2023

As travel starts to move on from the COVID downturn, Felicity Burke, APAC General Manager, FCM Consulting provided the Illuminate audience with a sneak peek of her Q3 Global Trend Report. While discussing macro trends, rates and demand, she was also joined onstage by Anne Gill, Vice President Sales and Connected Partners Pacific at ACCOR and Andrew Gallard, General Manager Corporate, FCTG Global Land Supply Division. Together the panel also addressed the hotel sector’s recovery and what it means for business travel.

What do you see as the key aviation trends for 2023?

Felicity: Airlines and travellers are still facing challenges, but in 2023 we expected the situation to shift upwards.

> In Q3 of 2022, global airline seat volumes were just 13% less than 2019 levels.

> Next year will remain flat, with a full return to pre-COVID airline travel volume expected in 2025.

> The US is currently leading the charge in airline capacity, but in Q4 we expect Asia to have the strongest growth reaching 94% of 2019 seat volume. Demand in China is good domestically.

> Europe, Australia and New Zealand will experience more conservative growth.


Will high hotel rates continue?

Felicity: The high accommodation rates being experienced in Australia and New Zealand have peaked, but will remain high next year. Corporate rates were still an average of 26% higher in Q2 2022, compared to Q3 2019.


What can SMEs do to stretch their hotel budgets?

Andrew: Now is the time to embrace hotel programs specifically designed for these businesses. Many Flight Centre Travel Group corporate brands have the SmartSTAY program that gives travellers great hotel rates and a whole lot of free extras that deliver more value for their dollar. So they can get things like free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, parking, upgrades and discounts. And we have more and more hotels wanting to join the program.

How are corporates managing hotel programs?

Anne: What we have seen over the last year is that corporates want more flexibility in their rate contracting, within their corporate programs. We’re seeing a consolidation of hotel programs and some are now allowing companies to use their contract volumes for leisure travel too. What we’re finding is that corporates want a hybrid program – with a mix of static rates and other discount rates.


What do businesses – and travellers – want?

Andrew: I agree that contracting has changed and corporates want to see dynamic discount rates and static rates, to create a hybrid model across the big global hotel chains.

With travellers, I think they want more choice. Tech has been great for those that want a touchless hotel experience – with Apps for DIY check-in and check-out, digital keys and QR codes for menus. But others want to talk to a person. Post COVID we’re seeing hotel lobbies also becoming social hubs, to assist with traveller connection and well-being and some are also including dedicated workspaces.


What are the biggest emerging hotel trends?

Anne: Globally hotels are recognising the need to balance people, profit and the planet. It’s clear that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards are an increasing priority and hotels need to capture quality data around sustainability. Businesses want to see data on what hotels are doing so they can align their hotel choices to their values, so a global standard needs to be set in the sector.

What’s Accor doing in the sustainability space?

Anne: Accor is committed to leading the way with ESG hotel benchmarks, which will eventually be rolled out across our 41 brands. We’re very passionate about sustainability and that includes addressing water, waste, sourcing local products and supply chain transparency.

ACCOR is committed to Planet 21, which champions net zero by 2050 and a 40% reduction in carbon by 2030. Already in 2022 we have removed single use plastics from our properties.

New ACCOR builds will meet future sustainability standards and we’re bringing on new partners that align to these values.

Internally, we’re promoting the message and investing in our people’s knowledge through online staff training. We want to change the conversation and we plan to roll this training out across all hotels in the future.


Illuminate 2022 was presented by the Flight Centre Travel Group

Catch up on all sessions from Illuminate 2022 here 

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