With the winter holidays on the horizon, the Expedia group is reporting a large influx of searches and interest for travel to the Caribbean. As snowbirds start traveling south, the Expedia group’s in-depth insights for holiday travel can provide hoteliers the opportunity to better connect with travelers and target the right consumers.
The Caribbean is seeing a large influx of group travel (bookings with 3 or more people) around the Christmas holidays with an increase in searches of more than 30 percent for Christmas Day and nearly 25 percent for New Year’s compared to holiday travel searches for 2016. Per Expedia group search data, the Caribbean destinations with the highest amount of interest for travel during the month of December compared to the same month in 2016 are:
- Punta Cana up nearly 10 percent
- San Juan up nearly 10 percent
- Montego Bay up nearly 25 percent
- Aruba up nearly 15 percent
“The holiday season is always an exciting time for the Caribbean, as the region receives a wave of travelers from top markets like the U.S. and Canada who are looking to escape the winter cold,” said Rafael del Castillo, Senior Director, Resorts, Market Management, the Expedia group. “Expedia is proud to work with our Caribbean hotel partners to ensure they are capitalizing on the heavy influx of travelers. Winter season represents an opportunity for partners to utilize Expedia’s platforms, tools and strategies to increase visibility and bookings. Expedia’s local market management team is present to serve as a support system to hotel partners and to provide specific recommendations for hoteliers to best navigate the holiday season.”
Data indicates that nearly 30 percent of bookings for the holidays happen more than 3 months in advance, and about 20 percent happen between 31 – 60 days. Additionally, more than 15 percent of holiday travelers book their stays less than 6 days in advance, which allows hotels to push last minute travel deals to entice these travelers to choose their property. The Expedia group’s hotel partners can take advantage of the company’s experience and understanding of holiday trends to set rates with certain booking windows that can best attract target audiences. Valuable insights also allow hoteliers to fully plan their marketing and distribution strategy depending on their intended audience.
Inbound markets to the Caribbean with the highest interest for travel during the month of December compared to the same month last year were the U.S. with nearly 15 percent growth and the UK and France with nearly 20 percent growth from each market. During this time frame, the Caribbean is also seeing growth through mobile searches and packages, which combine aspects like hotel, airfare and/or car bookings.
Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, is anticipating a “strong winter season given the new resorts that have opened in the last 12 months on the island as well as an increased airlift from our main markets, the USA, Canada, U.K., and Europe.”
The local market management teams throughout the Caribbean work closely with local hotel partners before and during the holidays to better understand available opportunities. Beyond the local market management teams, another important resource Expedia provides partners is Expedia® PartnerCentral (EPC), an application that allows hotel partners to access real time intelligence and evaluate their performance in order to remain competitive, promote their property and ensure bookings during high season.
As part of EPC, Rev+ is a revenue management tool that provides partners with more robust insights allowing them to make smarter pricing decisions to help them optimize their revenue. In addition to Rev+, other EPC features include promotions to help sell available inventory and Market Watch – an innovative tool to monitor the competition. The Expedia group offers hotel partners a variety of resources to optimize their strategy during the holidays and enables partners to use data and analytics to strategically market themselves to travelers and realize sales objectives.
By working with the Expedia group, hotels in the Caribbean gain exposure from the more than 200 travel booking sites in more than 75 countries in 35 languages, in addition to a myriad of mobile sites and apps, from brands such as Expedia®, Hotels.com®, Travelocity®, Orbitz®, Hotwire®, Egencia®, Expedia® Affiliate Network and others.
-  Expedia search data comparing share of room nights on December 25, 2017 YoY and December 31, 2017 YoY.