Numbers show Indonesia’s hotel industry roaring back

An undated illustrative photo shows hotels near a beach in Bali. – JP

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): New data point to a strong recovery of small accommodation businesses with key metrics like bookings, cancellations and room rates back to pre-pandemic levels, but an industry insider hesitates to interpret the figures as a full recovery.

The data released by property management platform Little Hotelier at a press conference on Tuesday (March 14) detail that hotel booking orders in Indonesia have either regained or exceeded 2019 figures in the first quarter of 2023.

“I cannot say that the hotel industry has fully recovered, but it’s recovering,” said Little Hotelier regional sales manager Tander R. Lowongan on Tuesday.

Little Hotelier, which provides software to run small hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, further revealed that most hotel bookings across Indonesia last year were made through the prominent international portals, Agoda and Expedia Group.

Home-grown platforms Traveloka, and PegiPegi came in fourth, sixth and 12th place, respectively.

The three local players had topped the competition in 2021 amid international travel restrictions, explained Tander. The figures gathered by the company do not represent the whole accommodation market, given that they were sourced only from properties using the services of Little Hotelier and its parent company SiteMinder, a publicly listed hotel management company based in Australia.

The first two months of this year also mark the first time since January 2020 that international tourists made more hotel bookings than domestic ones, thanks to the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions across the globe.

“Average daily rates increased drastically,” said Tander, explaining that the average price in 2019 was Rp 1.4 million (US$91) and that it fell to as low as Rp 763.050 in the pandemic. The number returned to the pre-pandemic level in 2022.

SiteMinder detailed that tourists from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States contributed the most last year to bookings at the properties surveyed, and each of them spent around Rp 1.7 million per guest for a hotel room. On top of that, the average cancellation rate at 9.6 per cent so far this year is close to the pre-pandemic level of 9.1.

However, there was no clear pattern to this apart from the 2020 high reading of 17.6 per cent due to travel restrictions. Yet, 2021 only saw an 8 per cent cancellation rate.

The peak years of the pandemic, 2020 and 2021, saw the average duration of stay rise to 2.4 days and 2.3 days, respectively, which was higher than the 2.2 days recorded in both 2019 and 2022.

According to Tander, this was due to many people staying at the surveyed properties to “work from anywhere” during the pandemic, most notably in mid-2021, when the government mandated many civil servants and state-owned enterprise employees to work in Bali for some days.