What does the horizon look like for The Caribbean now that several nations have reopened their borders and hotels their doors for international guests? This week the ForwardKeys analysts examined the latest travel statistics, looking for key trends and changes in booking habits.

 

Booking Trends

Since January until more recently in June, there have been widespread declines in arrivals across the Caribbean with the regional average being down by 57.7%. The Dominican Republic has been the most adversely impacted with arrival figures down by 64%.

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However, since the respective governments in Antigua and Barbuda (June 4), St. Lucia (June 4), Jamaica (June 15), Dominican Republic (June 17), Martinique (June 22), St. Maarten (July 1) and Puerto Rico (July 15) announced the re-opening of their frontiers, ForwardKeys’ data shows a positive change.

Just as we noticed in the case of Greece, Spain, and Portugal there has been an uptick in new tickets issued. In fact, new bookings now overtake cancellations for the first time since March.

Caribbean bookings

The Caribbean destinations benefiting in new weekly tickets are ones that recently made the news about re-opening soonest. In the case of Martinique, the travel distribution carries past the popular summer season and spikes again in October and even January 2021.

The typical Q3 island escape has now been postponed to Q4. The good news is that bookings are being made for 2020. What is your business doing to welcome back your international guests?

 

Who, When, What, Where, and How?

From travel operators to hoteliers and tourism boards time is of the essence as demand slowly returns to life in the New Normal. How will you plan your new business approach? Do you know who to expect and when? Do you know how far ahead your key source markets plan and book?

According to ForwardKeys’ Air Reservation data, the average number of days people book ahead is 110 days, just over 3 months. Furthermore, 58% of long-haul international bookings for Q4 to the region are made in September. Suddenly July has never had more of an important role in sales and marketing!

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When examining the key source markets for the Caribbean: US, Canada and UK flight searches to Cuba and the Dominican Republic are the most searched for Q1 2021 – a sigh of relief for those who need to roll out new campaigns and organise new budgets.

The appeal of the Caribbean is slowly on the uptake. Karolin Troubetzkoy, Executive Director at Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia thinks  “a virtual travel experience will never be able to replace the thrill of seeing our pythons close-up, feeling the warm, tropical sun on your skin or diving into our balmy Caribbean waters.”