Is climate change turning winter into the new summer holiday season?

This year, heat records were broken all over the world. During the summer, more than 60% of Europe was threatened by a severe drought, the most serious threat it had ever known. Climate change has led to temperatures so high that forgotten places have started to reappear. In Switzerland, a mountain pass unknown since Roman times was discovered after the melting of the glacier that covered it. In Wales, an entire town submerged in 1880 has resurfaced after the water reservoir ran dry.

“When it comes to climate change, the travel industry needs to change its approach to ‘summer vacation’ if it doesn’t want to be caught in the cold,” says Belvera Partners, a PR agency for travel agencies. trips.

1. Changing Destination Preferences

Climate experts predict that many places popular with tourists will soon be scorching hot every summer. What does this mean for a tourism industry largely based on peak summer visitors? Winter could become the prime time to travel to the well-known destinations. Alternatively, people could choose new destinations, where the climate is more bearable.

This summer, for example, traveler satisfaction rose in the UK, but fell in other popular destinations like Spain, Greece and France.

© Mabrian

During this summer’s heatwave, visitors were much less satisfied with their European travel experience, said Carlos Cendra, director of sales and marketing at travel intelligence provider Mabrian. Favorable weather conditions have been a determining factor for the development of tourism in hundreds of holiday destinations in the Mediterranean and North Africa. “Now that is changing, and faster than we thought. This is likely to change global travel trends in the next few years, so we better analyze the effects of this on travelers’ expectations and preferences,” he added.

2. Hotels and resorts must adapt

Matthew Chapman, CTO of travel booking technology provider Vibe, believes that “online travel agents and other digital outlets for travel should consider adding a filter that allows people to search by average temperatures for dates what they are looking for”. Additionally, hotels, experience providers, even airlines and airports could all start providing information on air conditioning, shaded areas and other temperature-related features. As more and more people will be affected by these details at the search and booking stage, he says these features should be “searchable and filterable in the booking process”.

If anyone thinks warmer weather is good news for traditional beach destinations, they should think again.

Carlos Cendra, Commercial and Marketing Director Mabrian

Hotels and other accommodation establishments will have to conduct the necessary research on the impact of temperatures on consumer demand and adjust their prices accordingly, says Alex Barros, director of marketing and innovation at Beonprice, a management platform revenue and total profitability for the hotel sector. “All of this will of course have an impact on how hoteliers approach the building and opening of new properties, not just location, but climate-controlled buildings and common areas,” he added. .

Unlike luxury hotels and resorts that can afford to outfit their establishments with air conditioning and other features, for low-margin mass tourism providers, the cost of upgrading could mean the difference between profits. and losses, says Fabián Gonzalez, co-founder of Forward_MAD, a luxury tourism event taking place in Madrid from October 5-7. However, “wintering” rather than “summering” could lighten the load for small establishments, with a limited number of rooms, which could fill the whole year, rather than a few months.

Along with interior upgrades, Bruno Martins, senior product manager at global hotel technology provider Shiji Group, said hotels will also need to rethink their outdoor spaces. He thinks outdoor pools can come to an end unless they’re protected by some sort of cover. For golf courses, which cannot be completely covered, the chances of survival are even slimmer.

From a revenue management perspective for hoteliers, this is a potentially huge change, as leisure travel pricing has been set by the same high summer season approach since the start of tourism in mass in the 1960s.

Alex Barros, Marketing and Innovation Director at Beonprice

Martins’ advice to establishments is to adapt to late-night demand, or at least early morning and late evening, which will be the new peak hours, and to optimize revenue based on new trends, possibly charging more for using the facilities at certain times. .

3. Short term effects

Despite the clear short-term results seen in Europe, Janis Dzenis, public relations director of the recently launched flight price comparison website WayAway, believes that it will take a long time for American travelers to adapt their habits. “For many American visitors to Europe, this is a unique and special trip – they base their choice not on past experiences, but on what they saw in a movie or what a friend told them. Any reality will take time to filter out,” says Dzenis.

“However, in the short term, all this recent warm weather around the world is boosting environmental awareness among travellers, so they will want to know which destinations and hotels will fight this and those without a convincing answer will gradually lose out. will also lead to greater demand from travelers to offset their carbon footprint as well and this is a service we offer to our WayAway Plus subscribers which is proving very popular,” concluded Dzenis.

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