Skift Recovery Index: June 2021 Highlights

Overview

This report highlights the latest insights from the Skift Recovery Index. The index covers travel’s performance since January 2020, up to and including June 2021.

The Skift Recovery Index is a real-time measure of where the travel industry at large — and the core verticals within it — stands in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides the travel industry with a powerful tool for strategic planning, of utmost importance in this uncertain business climate.

We are very happy to announce that we have entered into a new data partnership with Beyond, providing the Recovery Index with additional insights, and a strengthening of data on vacation rental revenues.

We also continue to work with Amadeus, Aviasales, Cendyn, Collinson, Criteo, Duetto, ForwardKeys, Hotelbeds, Key Data Dashboard, OAG, Onyx CenterSource, RateGain, Shiji Group, SimilarWeb, Skyscanner, Sojern, Transparent, and TrustYou as data partners to provide you with a monthly update of travel performance in 22 countries around the world.


June 2021 in 10 Charts

With the peak season starting (or supposed to start) for many destinations in July, we provide a quick and easy digestible overview of what happened in June 2021.

1) The global recovery continues, and it is becoming customary to talk about the improving state of the global travel industry. June 2021 saw a further improvement in the Skift Recovery Index score, up to 64 points. This number indicates that the overall travel performance of June 2021 stands at 64% of the pre-pandemic performance in June 2019.

2) Only five countries showed a decline in their scores, of the 22 countries that we cover in the Recovery Index. This includes Australia, Singapore, the UAE, South Africa, and China. All these destinations saw increases in new COVID cases and many tightened restrictions in response. In China the province of Guangdong was locked down after a new surge in cases. South Africa found itself in the middle of a third wave amid a slow start of the vaccine rollout. On the other end of the spectrum, Turkey saw the strongest recovery in June, jumping an impressive 21 percentage points in a single month.

3) Turkey eased lockdown measures at the beginning of June, which had a strong impact on the country’s travel performance. This insight is backed up by Google Mobility data, which showed a strong increase in the country’s mobility as seen in traffic at transit stations.

In the May highlights report, we discussed at length how Google Mobility data has a strong correlation with our travel recovery data, and we continue to see this. Not only do Turkey and India (more on India later) stand out as outliers at the ‘good’ end of the spectrum, Australia scores low in Google Mobility data and in our Recovery Index.

4) Australia stands out with a strong decline, as the country saw new cases increasing. Most of Asia and the Oceania region have been extremely careful in reopening, taking a totally different approach from, say, the U.S. Scores for most Asian countries remained almost unchanged in June, as has been largely the case for the past year.

Australia, however, saw its score decrease after seeing demand pick up strongly when it opened a travel bubble with New Zealand in April. As new COVID cases increased, parts of the travel bubble were postponed, and in early July the Australian prime minister even announced that the country will cap international arrivals at 50% of June levels. This does not bode well for July and beyond, especially combined with the fact that vaccination rates in Australia remain the lowest of any developed country we cover in the Index.

5) Mexico reached pre-pandemic travel levels, registering a score of 100.1 in June. Although a view of the different travel sectors shows that particularly its lodging sector is booming, compensating for continued weakness in other sectors.

The country’s wider economy (macroeconomics – taking into account unemployment, industrial production, retail sales, and stock market returns) is also back to pre-pandemic levels, but the flight and drive segments still fall short. Traveler activity, which refers to travel intent and booking behavior by Mexican residents also remains slightly suppressed, although it did move to over 80% of June 2019 levels.

6) Performance in the U.S. also continued to improve, with the country registering continuous growth for seven months running now. We have often used the U.S. vacation rental industry as a way to highlight shifts in consumer behavior and how not all sectors were impacted equally by the pandemic. We often did this in contrast to the U.S. hotel industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic.

However, the hotel industry has been coming back strongly in the past months, and new hotel bookings were above pre-pandemic levels for the first time in May, after declining for 13 months. In June we saw hotel bookings continue this trend, with new bookings at 112% of June 2019 levels. Occupancy levels are also edging towards pre-pandemic levels, at 92% of 2019 levels.

Vacation rentals have been hovering around the 100% line for all of 2021 both in terms of occupancy rates and new bookings. This is, of course, an average performance score, with especially nature and rural destinations performing far above 2019 levels.

7) Europe continued its upward move, increasing nine percentage points in June, the most of any region. All countries we cover in Europe registered growth in June, with particularly Turkey, Italy, and Germany seeing very strong growth, while the UK’s growth was suppressed. This was to be expected, and we noted this in last month’s report, due to the increase in new cases.

It is worrying that at the time of writing in early July, cases are starting to increase throughout the entire continent, which will most definitely have an impact on future travel movement. Countries are implementing or pondering renewed restrictions, after having just relaxed them less than a month ago.

8) India saw strong recovery after months of freefall in their Index score. After months of dealing with a terrible surge in new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, restrictions of movement started to pay off, and new cases dropped rapidly in June. This had a positive impact on travel movement.

9) All travel sectors continue to improve in our Index. Global performance levels of the lodging segment broke through the 60% barrier, while flight performance is back to 40%. The latter remains suppressed by the near complete absence of international travel.

10) Turkish residents long to get back on a plane, as seen from ForwardKeys data on tickets purchased. Russia, the U.S., and Mexico have been consistently top performing countries in terms of the levels of flight tickets purchased, but Turkey jumped to the top spot in June, with flight booking volumes at 140% of 2019 levels, higher than any other country. A view of flight bookings also shows the continuing slump in demand in Asia, with most Asian countries at the bottom of the ranking. Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong flight booking volumes were at only 4% of 2019 levels.


Data Partners

We would like to thank the following partners who are collaborating with Skift Research by providing their data which shapes the Skift Recovery Index.

Amadeus is a global travel technology leader that delivers the most trusted, critical systems across the travel industry to airlines, airports, hotels, travel agents, and car rental and railway providers. Amadeus is providing insight on travel search trends and behavior for the Skift Recovery Index.

Aviasales was launched as a blog on bargain air tickets in 2007 and grew out to become the world’s biggest independent travel search. Aviasales serves 20 million monthly active users from Eastern Europe & Central Asia, and provides flight and hotel booking data for Russian travelers for the index.

Beyond is a leading revenue management platform for short-term rental owners and managers to get, grow, and keep revenue. The easy-to-use platform includes a dynamic, demand-driven pricing tool with extensive market data that pairs with OTA distribution and a best-in-class booking engine. Beyond has supported over 340,000 properties in more than 7,500 cities worldwide and have enabled billions of dollars in booking revenue. The company provides data on Revenue per Available Night (RevPAN) for the index.

Cendyn’s software solutions drive sales, marketing, and revenue performance for tens of thousands of hotels across the globe with a focus on integrated hotel CRM, hotel sales, and revenue strategy technology platforms. The company provides data on hotel email campaigns for the index.

Collinson is a global travel services business, creating traveler experiences, loyalty strategy and programs, travel insurance, and travel and medical assistance. Priority Pass is operated by Collinson and provides frequent travelers access to over 1,300 lounges, with Collinson providing aggregated customer lounge visit data for the index.

Criteo is a global technology company powering the world’s marketers with trusted and impactful advertising. The company provides indexed data from various OTA, airline, and car rental partners. Criteo provides data for airline and car rental web traffic and sales.

Duetto delivers a suite of cloud applications to simplify hospitality revenue decisions and allow hoteliers to work smarter, increasing organizational efficiency, revenue, and profitability. More than 4,000 hotel and casino resort properties in more than 60 countries have partnered to use Duetto’s applications. Duetto provides hotel bookings and cancellations data.

ForwardKeys analyzes more than 17 million flight booking transactions each day, drawing data from all the major global air reservation systems, and selected airlines and tour operators. ForwardKeys is providing flight booking and passenger volumes data.

Hotelbeds provides over 180,000 hotels across the globe with access to high-value, complementary distribution channels that do not compete with the hotelier’s direct distribution strategy. The company provides data on hotel bookings and source market performance.

Key Data Dashboard is a provider of real-time, direct-source vacation rental data for the short-term rental sector, aggregating data sourced directly from more than 30+ reservation systems of 700+ professional property managers around the world. Key Data provides bookings, RevPAR and cancellations data for the Skift Recovery Index.

OAG collects and analyzes data about every journey, every booking, every take-off and landing, departure, and delay, totalling over 110,000 flights, 100,000 schedule changes daily and over 4 million flight status updates. OAG provides flight capacity data for the Skift Recovery Index.

Onyx CenterSource is a leading global provider of business-to-business payments and business intelligence solutions to the hospitality industry. With a legacy dating to 1992, the company facilitates in excess of $2.1 billion in payments annually, and partners with more than 150,000 hotel properties. The company provides hotel stay, cancellations, and commission data.

RateGain helps travel and hospitality companies with cognitive revenue management, smart e-distribution, and brand engagement. RateGain supports over 250,000 hotel properties globally by providing 240 billion rate and availability updates, and powering over 30 million bookings. For the Index, RateGain provides hotel bookings and cancellation data.

Shiji Group provides software solutions and services for the hospitality, food service, retail, and entertainment industries, serving over 74,000 hotels, 200,000 restaurants and 600,000 retail outlets across the world. Shiji Group provides China hotel bookings and room night data for the Skift Recovery Index.

SimilarWeb gathers digital data from multiple sources, including first-party direct measurement, public data sources, anonymous behavioral data, and external partners. For the Index, SimilarWeb provides unique visitor data to the top 10 travel websites per country.

Skyscanner has 100 million peak monthly active users, over 100 million app downloads, and more than 1,200 partners across flights, hotels, car rental, and more. Skyscanner’s Travel Insight product helps companies guide their COVID-19 recovery plans, and the company contributes flight search data from Travel Insight for the Skift Recovery Index.

Sojern provides digital marketing solutions for the travel industry, helping to drive direct demand for more than 10,000 hotels, attractions, tourism boards, and travel marketers. Sojern contributes flight and hotel search data for the Skift Recovery Index.

Transparent provides business intelligence serving the vacation rental industry, including insights around supply growth, demand patterns, rate changes, and property manager activities. Transparent contributes occupancy and bookings data for the Skift Recovery Index. The company draws on data from the 34 million vacation rental listings they track worldwide, in every geography.

TrustYou provides a guest feedback platform that makes listening to customers easy, powerful, and actionable. In response to the current crisis, TrustYou has put together a Travel Health Index, using hotel reviews managed through its platform as a proxy for hotel occupancy. TrustYou’s Travel Health Index is integrated in the Skift Recovery Index.


Data Tables