Search results are a positive indicator for hotel companies

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Travelers drag their luggage in front of a Marriott hotel in San Francisco.

David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

There is good news for hotels in the latest travel search trends. After a year of consumers switching to alternative properties like Airbnb and Vrbo homes, there are now signs that they are returning to some of their old ways.

In an interview on Monday, Matthias Tillmann, CFO of the travel search site

trivago

(Ticker: TRVG), said that his company is noticing that more travelers are looking for hotels again.

“Last year we saw a significant shift from hotels to alternative accommodations,” he said Barrons. “This year the volume has reversed a little with an increase in volume, so the shift has decreased but is still above the 2019 level. What we’ve seen so far this summer is that it’s between 2019 and 2020. “

This recovery was also reflected in the recent results of

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

(WH) and

Hilton Worldwide Holdings

(LDS).

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, many people moved to rent vacation homes where they didn’t have to be around other people. That helped

Airbnb

(ABNB) and

Expedia group

(EXPE) owned by Vrbo. Also this year, many of these types of houses were in great demand. However, as travel increased overall, some people started choosing hotels again. One of the reasons for this is simply that hotels have more availability, said Tillmann.

“As the volume returned, we have already seen in some travel destinations – and particularly rural and nature destinations – that the inventory of alternative accommodation is running out,” he said. “As more and more people are looking for reservations, they have to go elsewhere. And on the supply side, only the hotels have the capacity to ramp up inventory quickly. “

However, hotels still need to see business customers return for their results to fully recover.

In the longer term, Tillmann assumes that the price will be a major determinant of travel routes and that hotels will again take up a considerable part of the travel budget – albeit not quite as much as before the pandemic.

If people spend more time on vacation rentals, that could probably hurt trivago as travelers would no longer need a broader search engine. But Tillmann argues that search engines will only gain in importance because they can display both hotels and alternatives – and appeal to price-conscious buyers.

“It’s a fragmented market and you need an aggregator,” he said. “You need someone who shows you all the options. The shift to alternative accommodation is helping, in my opinion, because it fragments the market even more. The price was the only thing that has always been and always will be important. “When trivago can show, it’s easy to find a lot:” I think that’s a strong value proposition and that won’t change. “

Write to Avi Salzman at [email protected]

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