Survey reveals that Choice Hotels Europe’s hoteliers are entering 2014 much more confident than the year before with half (50%) believing that the hotel sector will realise a sustained upturn in 2014, compared to only 28% who expressed similar sentiment in 2013.
Choice Hotels Europe, the company behind the Comfort, Quality and Clarion brands in Europe, revealed the findings of its third annual “European Hotelier Pulse-Check” which assesses its franchisee hotelier’s 2014 business imperatives, industry trends and time spent responding to online reviews about their hotel properties.
The survey reveals that Choice Hotels Europe’s hoteliers are entering 2014 much more confident than the year before with half (50%) believing that the hotel sector will realise a sustained upturn in 2014, compared to only 28% who expressed similar sentiment in 2013. Only a quarter (25%) disagreed, fewer than the 41% last year who felt an upturn in 2013 was unlikely. Individual market comparisons reveal that UK hoteliers are the most confident (70%) compared to 38% of German hoteliers.
The findings also show that the time spent responding to online travel reviews is increasing annually. 63% of European hotelier respondents estimate they spend between one to three hours each week reading and responding to online travel reviews about their hotel, compared to 61% last year. However, 6% now spend up to half a day responding to reviews, double the amount recorded last year, with 14% of British hoteliers claiming to dedicate a whole afternoon each week in order to respond. Other individual market analysis revealed that French respondents were almost equally split between spending less than an hour a week responding and between one and three hours. 5% of German hoteliers spend less than an hour a week on this activity.
For the first time, European hoteliers (87%) ranked price and value as the most important hotel feature to secure repeat business. Room quality, which topped the poll in previous surveys is now ranked second. However, a substantial 86% of UK hoteliers ranked Staff Service as the most important feature to ensure guests return to their hotels.
There was a divided response as to what room rates may do next year. 37% of European hoteliers believe that 2014 room rates will return to pre-financial crisis levels whereas 40% disagreed. Over half (52%) of German hoteliers disagreed in comparison to 51% of British hoteliers who believed room rates would trend upwards as did 44% of French respondents.
When asked to predict the leading travel industry trend for 2014 almost two thirds (65%) pointed to a growth in mobile bookings, while just under a quarter (24%) thought social networking channels would establish a foothold in travel bookings.
As with previous Pulsecheck surveys stepping up sales and marketing activities to attract new hotel customers remains the number one business priority for European hoteliers for 2014. When it comes to securing additional finance for their hotels, the majority don’t see the banks changing their lending patterns with 61% believing 2014 won’t bring any change in banking lending patterns. However, the Brits are the most optimistic as over a third believe banks will begin to lend more in 2014. The least optimistic are the Italians (42%) who think banks will lend even less than in 2013.
Duncan Berry, UK CEO, Choice Hotels Europe, commented: “Choice Hotel Europe’s Third Pan-European Hotelier Pulse-Check reveals that confidence is returning to Europe’s hotel sector. Our respondents also predict that hotel rooms being booked from mobile devices will be the travel trend to watch out for next year.”
Choice Hotels Europe franchises nearly 500 hotels across Europe alone. Choice Hotels Brands in Europe include Clarion, described as four-star, Quality, which sits in the three-star bracket and provides a mid-scale full service offering and Comfort, the largest Choice Hotels brand worldwide, known for value and reliability.
The “European Hotelier Pulse-Check” survey was conducted amongst 118 Choice Hotels franchisees, operators and general managers from the UK, France, Germany and Italy in September 2012.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.