Duncan O’Rourke, CEO Accor Northern Europe
Karelle Lamouche, Chief Commercial Officer, Accor Northern Europe
Led by CEO Duncan O’Rourke, Accor Northern Europe is a leading territory for Accor, consisting of more than 1,100 hotels and 160k rooms across a portfolio of 28 brands spanning 31 countries from Ireland to Russia. More than 40,000 hotel Heartists welcome more than 55 million guests every year. Accor Northern Europe is a manager, operator, franchise partner, service provider, brand owner and experience creator. We are a business committed to people; our guests, partners and talents; and the environment and local communities which we are part of.
The Return of travel Towards the end of last year, and again just days ago, across five European countries - UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Russia - we surveyed 6,000 people about their travel plans for 2022 and beyond. The results were highly positive. Despite recent setbacks with the Delta and Omicron variants, more than 80% plan to travel in 2022. They want to travel a lot. And after two years of restrictions, they want to spend significant sums. In fact, Accor’s research reveals people intend to spend 39% more on travel in 2022 than they did in 2019, with plans for between three and four trips across the year. Beach holidays top the wish list for travel in 2022 with 33% planning sun and sand. City breaks (26%) are expected to return strongly as the desire for cosmopolitan culture returns. The rewilding of mindful travel continues, heighten by Omicron. Research pre Omicron indicated one in five (20%) sought country escapes, but the recent pandemic surge resulted in an increased desire for nature, with 30% of travellers seeking holidays in nature in 2022. Omicron has also doubled our desire to explore our own country – at the end of 2021 just 14% of travellers were planning staycations and at the start of 2022 that number has doubled to 28%. Overall 25% of respondents are more likely to staycation as a result of Omicron. Also, after two challenging years, 14% of those polled are planning all-out luxury, the trip of a lifetime, to make up for all the lost travel in the pandemic years. Almost half (48%) agreed with the phrase: “Leisure travel is important for my work life balance”, a notable mind-set shift that has seen people the world over re-address their priorities and seek more from how they spend their time. People want to travel, they also want to be safe and are now adjusting to the fact that the two can go together. Reassurance is a must for travel in 2022 and beyond.
And we want to go to ... Just over half (55%) of those we surveyed in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Russia want to stay in Europe in 2022. The three most desirable destinations within Europe are seen as Italy (36%), Spain (30%) and Greece (28%), all of them offering an enticing combination of shorter flight times, warm climate, coastlines, family-friendly food, fashion and culture but there is also strong interest in other areas of Europe. When asked about worldwide destinations to visit this year, Europe still scores extremely highly but the USA and Thailand also feature. And we expect more long-haul travel in 2023 and beyond.