More than two thirds of hoteliers have seen year-on-year bookings drop since the start of 2009, with 17% admitting that numbers have fallen significantly, exclusive research has revealed.
A Caterer survey of more than 200 hotel operators, carried out in association with entertainment provider Filmbank, shows just 22% are seeing an increase in guest numbers.
The survey reveals that those guests that are staying are keeping their money in their wallets, with 19% of respondents reporting a drop in spend compared to last year.
In response, most operators (78%) are offering special deals on room rates, with more than half also attempting to drive footfall by deals on the number of nights stayed as well as deals on restaurant meals.
However, the survey suggests that hoteliers might do well to focus on price promotions rather than price-cutting.
While spa breaks proved the most successful of all recent activity, along with themed weekends and room rate deals, just 16% of operators offered themed weekends, with 21% promoting spa breaks.
Stuart Procter, general manager of London's Stafford hotel, said packages are becoming increasingly important.
"We are going out and working harder than ever at promoting, providing better value by bundling things together and looking at pushing harder in new markets," he said.
Unusual and successful promotions cited by respondents included a Harley Davidson biker-themed party for residents and an offer to visit local crop circles near to one property.
- Look out for a report on a Caterer roundtable on the value of price cutting versus promotion in the 1 May issue.
By James Aufenast
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