Edinburgh has risen to become one of the top city destinations in the UK according to findings from the Expedia group.
The latest data reveals that following a busy summer of major international sporting events Scotland continues to be a popular choice for tourists. The data* for Scotland highlights an increase in hotel demand to Edinburgh of more than 30 percent in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period the previous year. Searches for hotel stays in Edinburgh from now until year end** are also up more than 40 percent year-on-year.
International travellers from the US, Italy, Germany, Australia and Ireland were the most likely to search for hotel rooms in Edinburgh in the lead up to Christmas and New Year. Indonesia, Venezuela and Austria were the fastest growing international travel markets searching for Edinburgh.
With searches to Glasgow up almost 50% compared with last year, hotels in the city are also expected to enjoy a good Christmas present in the form of a busy year-end. The majority of hotel searches are coming from the US, Iceland, Canada, Ireland and Australia.
Expedia data from December 2013 also reveals that international travellers to Edinburgh and Glasgow stayed longer, booked further in advance and paid more for their room than British travellers.
Domestic travellers to Edinburgh stayed just 1.8 days, compared with the French, Norwegians and Germans who stayed around one to 1.5 days longer.
Australian travellers booked their stay in Edinburgh a month and a half earlier than the Brits did – 89 days compared with 36 days for domestic travellers.
Australians also paid the most for their room in Edinburgh – £25 more than their British counterparts.
Isabelle Pinson, senior director of market management for the UK & Ireland at the Expedia group, sasy: “Scotland has had a great year and it’s encouraging to see travellers continuing to search for Scottish cities in the lead up to Christmas. We’re not just seeing demand for Edinburgh and Glasgow but also Aberdeen and Inverness so we’re looking forward to helping our hotel partners finish the year with a bang.”
Across Scotland, Expedia has increased the number of hotel partners it works with by 19 percent in the last year and is recruiting more staff to meet the extra demand.
Pinson continues: “We’re boosting our team here in Scotland and the Expedia group plans to continue growing its portfolio. We have also just moved our office to a new West End location in Edinburgh and by improving our visibility and contact with Scottish hoteliers we can continue to effectively support them.
“We know hotels like to have international travellers because they book further in advance, spend more and are less likely to cancel due to booking their hotel room alongside a flight, which is usually non-refundable.”
Louise Leisk, sales director leisure from Apex Hotels, says: "With new direct flight routes to Edinburgh and Glasgow it’s crucial for Apex hotels to maximise our opportunities to grow international business.
“Participation in the package initiative with Expedia has enabled us to raise our brand awareness on a global scale and compete with the large international hotel chains to capture new consumer markets."
Julie Grieve, general manager at Old Town Chambers and Merchiston Residence in Edinburgh, was also upbeat about the growth in international visitors. “We’ve really noticed that international travellers are increasing and in particular have seen Chinese guests become neck and neck with our North American guests.
“The great news is that this is extending our season, which helps not only us but the wider visitor economy in Edinburgh and Scotland.
"We like working with Expedia as their cancellation rates are very low and their guests tend to say longer.”
Mobile bookings to Scotland are also growing.
“The majority of mobile demand in Q3 2014 came from the US, Canada and Norway. Brazil, Hong Kong, Spain and Japan were the fastest growing markets for mobile demand and more than a quarter of all mobile business was booked within three days of the stay date.”
*Expedia data shows travel demand from Q3 2014, compared with Q3 2013 on Expedia brand and Hotels.com sites.
**Expedia data shows searches for hotels in Scotland in the last month and a half of the year (17 November 2014 – 4 January 2015) compiled from July 1 to September 30 2014 on Expedia brand and Hotels.com sites. This data was compared with the same period in 2013.