The UK hotel industry should expect a difficult 2020, global hotel consultancy HVS has warned, offering guidance to hoteliers on how best to thrive.
The firm suggests that while demand will remain strong, an increase in the number of overall rooms will mean increased competition and decreasing revenues.
It says that, especially at the luxury end of the market, demand has remained high in London throughout 2019 and will likely do so in the coming year too.
HVS London chairman Russell Kett commented: “Average room rates in London should continue to grow, however, so overall RevPAR [rooms revenue per available room] is likely to remain flat throughout the year.”
In addition to this mixed forecast, HVS has also issued five suggestions for hoteliers.
First Kett commented: “Whether a hotel will get a particular guest’s business now depends on whether it will provide an appropriate experience beyond the minimum expectation of a comfortable bed, decent shower, fast efficient wi-fi and good value for money.
“Gen X and Gen Y travellers seek a more personal offer – an experience to remember that they can’t get elsewhere.”
Next, hotels must develop a relationship with guests and cannot rely on loyalty schemes to draw customers.
Third, they need to show real, meaningful action in regards to environmental sustainability. Such policies must be followed effectively as well as communicated to the guest. “Paying lip service isn’t enough,” says HVS.
Attracting and retaining staff is the fourth issue. Just as hotels need a strong relationship with customers, staff need to feel part of a family too. HVS suggests “competitive packages, providing training and meaningful career development”.
Finally, the company notes the importance of maximising profitability. As many areas of a hotel as possible, HVS says, must produce income. It suggests a prefered profitability of 20%.
Kett concluded: “The world is changing fast and hoteliers need to adapt and incorporate these changes in a creative way in order to survive and prosper.”