Global online booking platform ResDiary analysed booking trend data to uncover what changes had stuck in diner behaviour post-pandemic.

Turns out Australians are booking earlier, cancelling with more notice, and willingly parting with their credit card details to secure a booking. We explored the main ways hospitality has changed in the past years and how this knowledge will give venue operators more certainty when planning ahead.

1. Dramatic Increase in Cancellation Notice Time  

The average cancellation is currently coming through as many as 10.5 days prior to the booking date (data from the month of June 2022). This advance notice on cancellations has steadily increased in 2022, close to doubling from January 2022 when venues were given just under six days’ notice on average. The below graph shows the number of days’ notice on average, month by month, from January – June 2022.

2. Cancellations Are on the Decline

There has been a considerable decline in cancellations overall in Australia. In fact, the number of cancellations has slashed in mere months, falling to nearly one third of what they were at the same time one year prior. Total booking cancellations for the first half of 2022 are sitting at an average of approximately 55,000 cancellations per month, compared with approximately 81,000 cancellations per month for the last half of 2021.

3. Last Minute Bookings A Thing of the Past

As restaurants fully re-opened in 2021, the lead time to securing a booking skyrocketed to 8.3 days in advance. Instead of this wait-time stabilising, the average booking lead time has increased yet again in 2022, with a customer looking to book a table now needing to do so on average 10 days prior to the booking date.

4. The Early Bird Gets the Best Table: 5pm Dinner Gaining in Popularity

Early dinner bookings are on the rise accounting for 39% of all bookings in 2022: the 5pm seating time now makes up 13.5% of all bookings, with 6pm hosting 25.5% of all bookings in 2022.

This is a sizable increase from the last half of 2021 when the 5/6pm booking times accounted for 36.2% of all bookings, (12.3%/23.9% respectively) which presents venues with the opportunity turn tables multiple times during a service.

5. Deposits/Prepayments Here to Stay

Deposits may be a contentious issue for some, but diners seem to have readily accepted them as the new norm.  And while it’s still only a small percentage of restaurants who have implemented deposits/cancellation fees on all their bookings, the total number has still climbed substantially.

With nearly a threefold increase (2.9x) of venues requiring credit card details or an actual deposit in the lead up to Christmas in 2021 and ResDiary predicts that we’ll see this trend replicated in 2022. 

More than a booking platform, ResDiary provides hospitality venues with greater insights into their customers’ behaviours to help venue owners and operators make informed and profitable decisions. For more information about how to get ResDiary for your venue visit