Choice Hotels survey reveals increasing sector confidence

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Choice Hotels Europe, the company behind the Comfort, Quality and Clarion brands, today revealed the findings of its fourth annual ‘European Hotelier Pulse-Check’, which assesses its hotelier’s 2015 business imperatives and industry trends.

Key findings include:
• 55% believe the hotel sector will realise sustained upturn

• 68% believe room rates will continue to perform well

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• 79% are planning refurbishments

• The top 2015 business priority is stepping up sales and marketing

• 39% of UK hoteliers receive between three and five online travel reviews each week from people who have never stayed at their property

• 20% have played a high profile role at a wedding in their property

• 10% have personally provided their guests with either hairdressing services or have done a guest’s make-up.

The survey reveals that Choice pan-European hoteliers are entering 2015 much more confident than the previous three years with over half (55%) believing that the hotel sector will realise a sustained upturn in 2015, compared to only 28% who expressed similar sentiment in 2012.

Individual market comparisons reveal that for the second year running UK hoteliers are the most confident (86%) compared to only 33% of Italian hoteliers.

Hoteliers’ confidence in room rate performance is also strong and growing. 68% of Choice pan-European respondents expect room rates will continue to perform well in 2015, compared to 37% in the 2013 survey and 33% in 2012.

While the quality and features of their hotel rooms was considered to be the most important element in securing repeat business to their properties.

Perhaps a reflection of the more encouraging economic environment, 79% of European hoteliers say they intend to refurbish their hotels in the year ahead.

An additional 33% report that they are looking to add another hotel property to their portfolio.

The hoteliers also reported that stepping up sales and marketing activities to attract new customers remains their number one business priority for the fourth year running.

When asked to predict the main industry trend for 2015 the hoteliers point towards further increase in hotel rooms booked via mobile devices (63%) followed by further growth in the franchising model (20%).

Last year’s Pulsecheck survey established that 63% of European hoteliers spent between one to three hours each week reading and responding to online travel reviews about their hotel.

This year’s findings show that 39% of UK hoteliers and 24% of French hoteliers receive between three and five online travel reviews each week from people who have never stayed at their property, compared to only 3% of German hoteliers.

Duncan Berry, UK CEO, Choice Hotels Europe, commented: “Choice Hotel Europe’s Fourth Pan-European Hotelier Pulse-Check reveals that hoteliers are anticipating renewed confidence in Europe’s hotel sector with many planning refurbishments and other enhancements to their properties.”

Recognising that hoteliers need to demonstrate a variety of skills and great customer service the survey asked them to highlight examples of unusual support they have provided guests.

Proving how versatile they are, the survey showed that 39% have given a guest CPR and liaised with paramedics, 20% have helped a wedding go smoothly by taking a high profile role at the service such as giving the bride away, 17% have consoled a bereaved family and liaised with undertakers following a death, and 10% have personally either provided their guests with hairdressing services or have done a guest’s make-up.

Berry adds: “Our research indicates that Choice hoteliers aren’t just providing a standard service, but that they go above and beyond the call of duty to provide guests with support and help.”

The ‘2014 European Hotelier Pulse-Check’, survey was conducted amongst 143 Choice Hotels franchisees, operators and general managers from the UK, France, Germany and Italy in October 2014.
 

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