United Kingdom is the eighth popular country in the word in terms of international tourism destinations. The country has attracted 34.4 million travelers in 2015, a 5.6 percent growth compared to the last year.
eRevMax, the leading hotel technology provider, has released an infographic showcasing online travel trends in the United Kingdom. The infographic has projected a positive outlook for UK hoteliers, who can expect to see a lot of bookings coming their way not only from international travelers but from Britons too, as a good 64% of them will take at least one domestic holiday.
Hotels using eRevMax solutions generated an average of GBP 199 per booking with average length of stay being 1.4 across properties. As per eRevMax production statistics, just like rest of Europe, Booking.com has a clear dominance over online hotel bookings followed by Laterooms, Expedia, Agoda and hotelbeds.
Further, this infographic focuses on traveler buying behavior to give hoteliers a deeper insight. It is interesting to note that travellers visit around 17 OTAs during their travel planning phase and over 59% travelers are influenced byonline reviews, especially for hotel bookings. Over 65% travellers use metasearch to compare prices thereby making it vital for hotels to manage online reviews effectively and engage actively with metasearch channels. See full story on eRevMax website here.
According to a Google report, Brits visit on average 17 travel related sites to plan their holidays. However, unlike their counterparts in USA, OTAs have relatively less influence on the decision making process. Travellers in Britain seem to rely more on online review sites like TripAdvisor to plan and book their holidays. With TripAdvisornow emerging as a full-fledged meta-search channel, hoteliers now have the opportunity to attract more direct bookings through their brand site with a solid meta-search strategy.
However, reality cannot be further. Market research firm, PhoCusWright suggests that about 1% of all shoppers arriving on hotel brand website originate from a metasearch engine. This essentially means that while 1 in 5 holidaymakers start researching for accommodations on TripAdvisor, only few make direct bookings. Clearly hotel brands are not making the most of the opportunities.
Easy access to technology has dramatically changed the information availability in consumer’s favour. Online travellers are no longer impressed with the rack rate or lead-in rate based promotions – they expect real-time pricing, and will go with the one which provides them the information they are looking for. So even if you have a property with considerably good reputation, if you are not showing your real-time rate and availability in TripAdvisor, you will be losing potential direct bookers to OTAs.
Keep a marketing budget for metasearch sites, and integrate key aggregator sites to your distribution mix. Advanced distribution management solutions today offer integrations with metasearch channels, through which hotels can manage the site like any other sales channel. eRevMax, for instance, have established 2-way XMLconnections with all leading meta-search channels like TripAdvidor, Kayak,Trivago, etc. However, unlike other sales channels, it’s not a ‘set and forget’ initiative, and needs active engagement in rate and bid management. If managed properly, the return on investment (ROI) on the amount paid in meta-search pay-per-click (PPC) model can be significantly higher than CPA (cost-per-acquisition) hotels usually pay out to OTAs.
Growing popularity of Airbnb – concern for Independent hotels
By and large, hospitality industry has accepted the disruption called Airbnb. Since its inception in 2008, this peer-to-peer sharing platform has seen meteoric growth, and is now considered as one the most valuable hospitality companies in the world. Airbnb has over 50,000 listings in the UK, making it a real threat for independent and small hoteliers. While we don’t have a definite number for UK, according to a study commissioned by Hotel Association of New York City, Airbnb costs New York lodging industry a loss of approximately $450 million over the course of a year.
There are reasons Airbnb has caught the fancy of travellers, and hotels can learn a thing or two from them. Majority of their customer base is mobile – tech savvy travellers seeking experiences. The rising power of Airbnb has forced the smaller hotels to rethink their strategy.
While pricing is a concern for travellers, it is not a commodity market. Experience and service matter. Airbnb thrives on service, human touch and local flavour to people – all these are essential characteristics of an independent hotel. What sets them apart is a beautiful user experience and pricing.
As an hotelier, it might be difficult to compete with Airbnb in pricing, but that can always upset with service. Promoting local cuisine, events, tying up with community sustainable group can give a hotel an opportunity to additionally offer the alternatives guests are looking for. While Airbnb does not offer any standardization, hotels with their longer experience are better prepared to provide consistent experiences.
Fact is Airbnb is a disruption which has shaken the status quo. But just like retailers, who evolved and survived the Amazon effect, small independent hotels too can survive the onslaught by upping their game.
About 36.1 million people will be visiting Britain in 2016. Another 100 million overnight trips will be made by Britons, making it an exciting year for the UK tourism industry. In this two part series, I will look at trends that will become crucial for hotels to ride the tide as they put final touches to their summer preparations.
OTAs remain critical to success
Unlike other parts of Europe, online hotel sales in UK have always been dominated by the direct channel. However, according to a PhoCusWright report, OTAs are slowly but steadily increasing their market share with 35% of online hotel bookings coming from them. Data from our client hotels in UK also corroborate this trend. The rate parity issue notwithstanding, Booking.com remains the most popular online distribution channel for UK hoteliers. The top five channels being used by our client hotels also suggest a surge in popularity for last minute booking channel Laterooms, a trend that we have seen in the last couple of years. Other channels in the top 5 list are Expedia, Agoda and HotelBeds – a B2B sales channel.
This is an indication of how hotels are experimenting with the distribution mix– a combination of traditional OTAs, last minute booking – deal sites or B2B channels. To get the maximum gain out of their distribution mix, hotels need to balance exposure according to target market to improve occupancy and average rate. They need to develop a distribution plan to reach out to travellers coming from key markets like USA and Western Europe. Market knowledge, competitor intelligence and historical trends can help hoteliers to create an effective strategy.
If you are a small bed & breakfast type establishment, you can go for a mix of high commission, high exposure sites like Expedia and Booking.com along with low commission sites like Flipkey and budgetplaces. For hostels, dedicated sites like HostelBookers and Hostelworld can be good options. Boutique independent hotels can focus on niche OTAs with low commissions. Reservation analytics which identifies best performing channels, production pattern and booking pace can come in handy to select the ideal distribution mix.
Mobile booking is mainstream
This takes us to the fastest growing booking platform – the mobile. One in every four online booking is now being made on mobile. Interestingly, while direct booking accounts for the majority of online bookings, when it comes to mobile, the scenario completely changes, with smartphones generating three times higher bookings for OTAs than hotel’s direct site. This clearly indicates hotels’ lack of preparedness in the mobile platform. The contrast is even more visible in the last minute booking segment – where 58% of the bookings coming from mobile devices.
As the mobile platform grows leaps and bound to become a mainstream sales channel, hotels have taken note. Mobile website is expected to be the most implemented technology among independent lodging providers. Invest in a booking engine providing seamless booking experience along with rich content and secure payment option.
Stay tuned for part two of this series which will be posted in mid May!
Alin Lazar is the Sales Manager Europe at eRevMax. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOSPA (formerly BAHA), the UK’s leading organization in financial management, revenue management and IT in the hospitality industry, organized its Annual Conference in November at the Sofitel Hotel – London Heathrow.
The theme for the event was “Taking Investment Forward”, in terms of investing in people and businesses to create more value. The one-day conference was kept very crisp targeting the major investment issues to help industry professional understand how to face these crucial challenges related to funding. Russell Kett, President, HVS – specialists in hotel valuations, opened the session involving experts and professionals through a debate aimed at finding solutions to the doubts of hoteliers located away from the big cities and beyond. The lack of interest from investors, along with the problems associated with re-financing in 2013, is one of the main reasons that blocks the revival and promotion of tourism in the UK, and especially in outlying areas such as provinces.
“Boosting investment in the world’s hotel sector is the single biggest challenge facing the industry today. Despite strong buyer interest in the global hotel market and plenty of equity available, not least from the Far East and Middle East, there are few hotel transactions taking place outside key locations and gateway cities across Europe. In the UK, there is little investor appetite in the provinces where hotel trading continues to languish in all but the best-run hotels. Obtaining debt finance for hotel acquisitions is tough and a number of re-financings due in the next year will prove challenging to accomplish in the current environment without a significant chunk of fresh equity and an understanding bank,” said Rassel Kett – President, HVS.
Following the topics on finance, there were discussions on the trends and developments in Revenue Management, and how it could affects hotel sales and revenue. Casey Davy, VP – Sales, EMEA & Canada and Cristina Blaj, Sales Manager, UK & Ireland, attended the event as delegates representing eRevMax and shared their inputs on these topics.
To view pictures from the event, please click here.
Domenico Defina is Sales & Marketing Intern at eRevMax and is based out of London. He can be reached at email@example.com
Check out where I am speaking as part of the Northern Ireland Hotel Federation on Wednesday 12th September. Very much looking forward to meeting the hotels in and around Belfast and finding out the challenges they face in their local market.
The travel industry is rather small in Northern Ireland, representing just 4.7% of its workforce and contributing to 2.1% of GDP. The region expects to attract between 1.5 -1.6 million visitors in 2013. For the hotel industry there is a great opportunity to stand out, 30% of all internet searches are related to accommodation for Northern Ireland, so there is room for growth and diversity.
Northern Ireland has fared well so far in 2012 with increases in visitors, holiday-makers and tourism revenue – could this be explained as a result of the Staycation in the UK?
I am interested to learn the scenario for hotels this year, according to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) hotel room sales were up 11% in June 2012 compared to June 2011 and occupancy hitting the 78% mark, up from 70%.
It appears from the statistics that 4* – 5* hotels fared well, infact showing some strong occupancy figures. Though potentially the biggest struggle for hotels appears to be ADR, this has fallen by 1.1% in the past year, it seems that occupancy may have to give way to ADR at this point.
The leading OTAs in Northern Ireland: Ebookers.ie: One of Ireland’s leading online travel providers and offers flights, car hire and over 25,000 hotels worldwide.
HotelClub.ie: Offers over 48,000 hotels Worldwide for bookings up to 365 days in advance.
Laterooms.com: Offers over 500,000 hotel deals throughout the UK and Worldwide. EURO prices available.
Lastminute.ie: Offers a vast range of hotels and discount flights. EURO prices available.
Bookit365.com: Offers you direct access to the Hotels.ie and expedia.com range of hotels.
Ryan C Haynes is VP – Marketing Communications at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotelier’s 2012 Mobile Marketing MUST Dos and Don’ts Max Starkov, HeBS Digital’s President and CEO, was interviewed recently by Michelle Renn, Managing Editor of “Inside Hotel Online Today (Hotel Online)” on this year’s hottest topic: mobile marketing and mobile distribution channel in hospitality.
Asian hotel revPAR continues to rise According to the latest data from STR Global, the region’s occupancy increased 3.6% year-on-year to 66.5%, average daily rates (ADR) climbed 2.8% to US$146. This pushed revenue per available room (revPAR) up 6.5% to US$97. STR Global said however, that the year-on-year comparisons were impacted by Chinese New Year falling in January this year compared to February in 2011.
The continually increasing volume of booking options is causing growing stress on hotels companies’ central reservation systems, according to a study undertaken by Pegasus.
Average Hotel Rate in the UK Drops!A global report demonstrating how the cost of a nights stay in a major city can reflect the country’s economic health, has revealed that hotel prices in the UK are stagnating, with only London’s hotels being able to report a rise in the average hotel rate.
The report discusses the effects of channel mix on profitability and what the industry can expect in the near term in the distribution landscape. It reviews the size and structure of the hotel industry at a high level, with respect to hotel performance and its use of distribution channels. It also drills down to issues of distribution costs and benefits, price elasticity, and the evolving roles of marketing, revenue management and distribution strategy in a dynamic and volatile online environment.
Not every hotel executive thinks Room Key will be a success. Michael Shannon, for one, didn’t hesitate to express that opinion.“This is a really interesting but really late attempt by the hotel business to try to get control of their customer … and I don’t think it will work,” said the managing director of KSL Capital Partners.
The European Travel Commission (ETC) has just published its fourth quarterly report on European Tourism in 2011 – Trends & Prospects. Travel to European destinations in 2011 has exceeded the prior peak set in 2008. Impressively, 22 of 23 reporting countries show international visitor growth in 2011, ranging from 3% in the UK to more than 20% in Latvia and Lithuania. And 24 of 26 countries show gains in hotel occupancy in 2011.
Are you leveraging the power of social media on your site? Together, social media channels and your website should work seamlessly to promote your online brand. However, if you’re like most businesses, you’re probably missing out on potential interactions, impressions and ultimately sales.
HOSPACE is the annual conference and exhibition hosted by HOSPA (formerly BAHA) – the UK’s leading educational organisation for hospitality professionals. The event took place on 24th November 2011 in UK and saw approximately 400 delegates attending it.
The event opened with an overview of the industry and the upcoming Olympics, post which it moved on to a panel discussion on key issues, trends and developments facing Finance, Revenue Management and IT professionals followed by the Hospitality IT Debate and a Revenue Management Session.
There were some educational workshops lined-up as well. My colleague Casey Davy did a presentation on Online Distribution and Channel Management which was very well attended.
Overall it was a very successful show as the turnout was great. It was a good mix of suppliers including hotel technology and the buyers which comprised of large hotel groups as well as standalone properties which made it more interesting.
Not only did the event receive excellent feedback from all exhibitors, but the delegates too shared positive reviews and found it a worthwhile platform for business.
Sunaina Jagtiani is Sales Manager – UK at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of London, UK and can be reached at email@example.com
The official corporate eRevMax 10th Anniversary celebration took place at the Nutfield Priory Hotels & Spa in Redhill Surrey. The evening event with VIP guests, business associates and partners was abuzz with discussion and interaction.
An exclusive meal followed a champagne reception in an elegant reception suite at the hotel accompanied by a string quartet of classical music. The founding presidents, Reuel Ghosh and Andrew Morsi, with the CEO, Sascha Hausmann delivered a speech reminiscing on a decade of eRevMax and RateTiger, recounting some of the more hilarious business encounters and silly mistakes all small businesses experience as they grow.
Following the dinner and it being Guy Fawkes Night in the UK it was the perfect opportunity to bring out the fireworks. We were entertained by a 15-minute firework display brightening the dark and dry cool night sky. After, we finished the evening in the bar to a soundtrack of light jazz music by band – Delta Detour.
To round the evening, our guests stayed the Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa, enjoying everything the exquisite hotel has to offer. We’re now looking forward to celebrating many more successful decades in business.
Ryan Haynes is VP – Global Marketing at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities of eRevMax and its various product brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org