International bookings rose in ’23 even as hotel rooms got costlier

International hotel arrivals rose by an average of 33% last year, despite an 11% jump in average daily rates, according to the largest of three new reports analyzing hospitality trends in 2023.

To compile its annual report on hotel booking trends, SiteMinder crunched data from more than 115 million hotel bookings at 40,000 hotels that used the company’s platform.

The numbers showed remained the most popular booking channel across the 20 national markets in the report. Direct bookings from hotel websites ranked second or third in every market, while Expedia Group ranked second or third in every market except those in Asia, where Agoda held more sway.

The report’s findings indicate travelers have regained their confidence in the years since COVID-19 shutdowns, though their behaviors and preferences have changed, said SiteMinder chief growth officer Trent Innes.

“Today’s traveler is not the same traveler of years past,” Innes said. “We know through our data that travelers are booking further ahead than before. We also know through our own research that travelers are happy to spend money beyond the cost of their room, but that increased prices are forcing them to adapt by opting for package deals, as an example. It’s therefore vital that hoteliers are dynamic in the way they do business, to ensure they keep pace with their customers and understand how every customer touchpoint is a revenue opportunity.”

Mews, SHR Group offer insights

Additional analyses of the hospitality industry in 2023 were offered in separate reports issued last week by hospitality cloud provider Mews and hospitality technology specialist SHR Group.

Mews — which based its report on data from 4,000 partner hotels in 85 countries — found an average daily rate increase of 6% from 2022, to $250. The report also showed an increase in average booking lead times.


With rising inflation across the world, it’s not surprising that the average daily rate has risen, but it didn’t deter reservations in 2023.

Matt Welle – Mews

“With rising inflation across the world, it’s not surprising that the average daily rate has risen, but it didn’t deter reservations in 2023,” Mews CEO Matt Welle said. “The data is another proof point that occupancy levels have more than stabilized.”

Another finding from the Mews report: 1 in 5 hotels in North America diversified revenues by monetizing additional spaces, almost a 50% increase from 2022. The most commonly booked additional spaces were parking spots and meeting rooms.

Meanwhile, the SHR Group study — based on analysis of more than 2,000 international hotels representing 50 million room nights — found the share of reservations from direct bookings fell from 39% to 38% in 2023 when group, wholesale and other contract bookings aren’t included.

Rod Jimenez, CEO of SHR Group, said the numbers indicate a turning point for hospitality.

“Hotel technology is leveling the playing field for hoteliers and their ability to compete for leads, but that return on investment won’t remain the same forever,” he said. “The race to bring guests into loyalty programs and win greater influence over how and where they shop for travel, possibly for the rest of their lives, is becoming much more intense. Personalization and ownership of the guest profile are top of the agenda for the [online travel agencies] and hotel operators alike.”

SiteMinder: “A new era of travel”

Among other findings in the SiteMinder report, more international travel contributed to travelers booking their stays sooner. The average lead time grew 20% to 36 days — longer than in 2019. The report credited an increase in outbound Asian travel for spurring the rise in international travel.

“The global traveler mix is changing,” SiteMinder wrote. “Asia’s projected population and wealth growth, combined with its strong appetite to travel, will ensure a level of opportunity over the coming decade that many hoteliers aren’t yet prepared for.”

The trend toward more bookings on hotel websites isn’t diminishing. Even as international traveler volumes grew, direct bookings maintained the momentum built during the pandemic, the report found.

“Travelers have become more comfortable booking via a property’s website in the last four years in search of personalized and hidden deals,” SiteMinder wrote. “The hoteliers driving website traffic effectively and making sure they’re easily bookable are being rewarded with a deeper connection to their guests.”


We have certainly entered a new era of travel. Not only are behaviors and preferences changing but the travelers themselves.

Trent Innes – SiteMinder

Higher prices meant the average daily rate rose to $192 globally. Fridays were the most expensive days in 90% of countries, with Thursdays and Saturdays coming in next. The appearance of 11 new booking sources in the report’s country-by-country list of top 12 channels highlighted a need among travelers for cost-effective offers, the report concluded.

Perhaps in response to the costlier rates, travelers did not book many extended stays at hotels, the report found. Only 3% of all bookings were for a stay of one week or more, while more than 4 in 5 check-ins were for only one or two nights.

“We have certainly entered a new era of travel. Not only are behaviors and preferences changing but the travelers themselves,” Innes said. “The global travel industry has long awaited the return of Chinese travelers, and it is clear from our data that they are beginning to come back, alongside those from other source markets throughout Asia, such as India, Japan and South Korea. Hotels would do well to prepare for a change in the mix of travelers arriving at their doorstep, by revising their marketing strategies to reach the world’s fastest-growing travel sources and gaining intelligence on these potential customers to maximize their revenues.”

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