Global travel platform Expedia Group has shared the company's latest insight for the Caribbean based on data pertaining to star rated properties in the region. The findings, which analyzed data from resorts and hotels located throughout the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and The Bahamas, reveal that demand for five and four-star classified properties has increased year-over-year in the first three quarters of 2018; furthermore, four-star rated properties are the most popular category across the three island destinations.
Expedia analyzed various data points related to star-rating including growth, booking windows, mobile demand growth and length of stay.
Dominican Republic: Excelling in high-end vacations
According to the latest numbers released by Dominican Republic's central bank, the country's tourism sector is surging after receiving over five million international arrivals from January to September, further solidifying the country's position as the most visited Caribbean destination in the region. This popularity is reaffirmed among five and four-star properties in Dominican Republic, where Expedia recorded that these properties in Dominican Republic grew faster than the overall growth when compared to the same time period the year before, due to new lodging supply and rising demand for luxury lodging.
Moreover, package demand at four-star properties for travelers coming from Spain to Dominican Republic grew more than 380 percent year-over-year, almost 435 percent for travelers coming from Brazil and almost 2,250 percent for travelers coming from Chile.
The top five markets in Dominican Republic for four-star properties demand are: Bavaro, Macao, Uvero Alto, Cabeza de Toro and Puerto Plata.
Expedia data also revealed that booking windows tend to be longer for five and four-star properties, averaging 69 days, while three- and two-star properties averaged 61 days. Similarly, travelers tend to stay longer in Dominican Republic when booking an upscale or luxury vacation; the average length of stay for five-star and four-star hotels is five days.
The travel platform also reports that the all-inclusive category in Dominican Republic continues to grow faster than any other property segment.
Jamaica: Travel packages including four-star hotels increase in popularity
With over three million visitor arrivals in the first three quarters of this year per the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica's four-star hotels have increased in popularity with travelers who search for packaged deals. Package demand at four-star properties in Jamaica has increased almost nine percent year-over-year from travelers coming from the US.
Additionally, Expedia recorded an increase of US mobile demand to the Caribbean destination with hotels of every rating reporting an increase above ten percent year-over-year.
Similar to Dominican Republic data, upscale stays tend to be longer averaging about four days.
Bahamas: Four-star properties leading the pack
The majority of demand to The Bahamas across Expedia Group sites is attributed to four-star stays, a segment which represents almost 75 percent of the package demand. This star rating is popular among travelers coming from the US, showing an increase of more than 65 percent year-over-year, for Canada, almost 160 percent, and for the UK almost 40 percent increase year-over-year.
Five-star stays represent a little over four percent of the package demand in The Bahamas.
As with the Dominican Republic, booking windows and length of stay averages tend to be longer for travel to upscale and luxury properties in The Bahamas. Five, four and three-star properties all reported booking windows that exceed 60 days. Similarly, these hotel categories averaged stays of four days.
Bahamian EP properties and all-inclusive properties are both growing at similar rates, which is four times more than the overall growth in the Caribbean.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.