Hotels See 1 in 10 December Bookings Cancelled Compared to 1 in 2 in 2020 – Despite Fears of an Imminent Increase

Hotel booking data for 2021 shows that December cancellation rates for pre-Christmas bookings have averaged 11%, while the final two weeks of December (including Christmas and New Year) have a cancellation rate currently sitting at 10% – with fears it’s set to rise exponentially as the Omicron surge continues.

2021’s 11% pre-Christmas December cancellation rate is almost three times that of 2019, which, in pre-Covid times, saw a cancellation rate of just 4% across the same period. However, at present, 2021 is a far cry from the levels of 2020, where the cancellation rate for the three-week period between the 1st December and 21st December was 50% – just ahead of the heightened ‘Tier 4’ restrictions coming into play a few days before Christmas, which tipped the cancellation rate to 80%.

The data has been compiled by hotel technology provider Profitroom, which has compared and contrasted statistics from the UK hotels within its 3,500 worldwide hotel database – predominantly made up of 4-star and 5-star properties – taking into account booking statistics and cancellation rates from 2019, 2020 and 2021, between the 1st December and 20th December.

Andrius Remeikis, Senior Business Development Manager at Profitroom commented: “Compared to 2020, this year’s December cancellation rate has been far more manageable for hoteliers – and it’s been low enough for operators to continue. However, despite this, it’s a lot higher than pre-pandemic levels, which shows that, even without enforced lockdown measures being in place as of yet, hotels have been facing a very tough time already. With rumours swirling about greater restrictive measures to come any day, hoteliers will be in fear of the cancellation rate rocketing as it did last year – leaving a devastating impact in its wake.”

Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, the Hospitality Professionals Association, also commented on the findings, saying: “It was all too easy to assume in the summer that the bulk of hospitality’s woes were behind us, with the vaccine rollout seemingly set to end the worst period of the pandemic. However, the pandemic is not just continuing, but increasing in intensity, while the industry is beset by a whole host of other challenges; from recruitment to supply issues. We’ve gone from hoping for a bumper Christmas to merely clinging on, with forecasts and forward planning in disarray.”

She added: “As an industry we desperately needed support, and are pleased with the Chancellor’s latest measures. Rumour and conjecture in recent days and weeks though have served to dent consumer confidence, which has hugely impacted revenues, but it’s hoped that with the latest supportive steps from the Government, more hotels will be able to continue battling on. We just have to hope though, that this winter isn’t as bleak as the last one.”