The report provides valuable insights into the current state of the industry – especially with the ongoing pandemic affecting travel and tourism. Based on the views of 2,000 consumers who have stayed in hotels over the past year, it’s a must-read for anyone operating in the sector! Here’s the summary of my top 7 takeaways:
#1. Staycations are on the rise
The staycation trend continues in the UK, with more than a third of consumers not visiting a hotel abroad in the last year. This is due to travel restrictions and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding international travel. As a result, domestic tourism is on the rise, and hotels will see the impact of British holidaymakers looking closer to home for their vacation fix, bringing with it a different set of expectations and challenges.
#2. Young adults are frequent hotel users
Some consumers are visiting hotels more often than before the pandemic, particularly younger adults. This presents a significant opportunity for hotels to target this demographic with tailored marketing strategies, but also enhanced expectations around convenience and technology.
#3. The cost of living is a major factor
Nearly three in five consumers visiting hotels less often cite the cost of living increases as the reason. Operators need to be mindful of pricing strategies and offer value for money to retain customers (through their direct channels).
#4. Consumers are looking for affordable options and value
Budget hotels are popular with 56% of hotel visitors having stayed at a budget or value-led chain in the past year. This highlights the importance of offering affordable options while still providing quality service.
#5. Reviews are crucial
With nearly nine in ten consumers looking at a hotel’s reviews before booking, operators need to prioritise customer satisfaction and actively seek out and respond to feedback, across all channels, to maintain their reputations. Speed of response, as well as a consistent tone, are important too.
#6. A hotel’s website journey is crucial for guest satisfaction and repeat bookings
A hotel’s website is the beginning of the guest’s overall experience. While online travel agencies (OTAs) have easy-to-use booking journeys, hotels need to focus on creating a seamless website journey for guests to ensure a positive experience from the initial booking stage right through to their actual stay.
The report shows that consumers prioritize the ease of booking and information provided on a hotel’s website when making their decisions. In fact, 67% of consumers prefer to book directly on a hotel’s website – highlighting the importance of creating a frictionless and user-friendly booking process. Hotels can also leverage their website to showcase their unique offerings and experiences, making it a vital tool in driving direct bookings and increasing guest loyalty.
#7. Hotels are used for a range of occasions
Weekend breaks are the most popular, followed by holidays, celebrations or functions, day trips, work stays, and journey stop-offs. Operators should consider how to cater to these different needs, with flexible packages to attract customers.
The research highlights the importance of adapting to changing trends, retaining regular customers, and offering affordable options while still providing quality service. By prioritizing customer satisfaction and seeking out and responding to feedback, hotels can improve their reputation and attract new customers.