UK hoteliers with franchise group Choice are among the most confident in Europe about the industry's economic future, says a new poll.
The fourth annual European Hotelier Pulse Check report from Choice Hotels Europe, whose brands comprise Comfort, Quality and Clarion, questioned 143 pan-European Choice hotelier franchisees, operators and general managers across England and Northern Ireland, Germany, France and Italy.
The results showed rising confidence levels across the board, with 79% of European hoteliers planning refurbishments to their property in 2015 and over 68% believing that room rates will continue to perform well. This is in comparison to 2012, when 33% felt room rate would perform well and 2013 (37%).
UK hoteliers were the most confident for the second year running (86%, compared to just 33% in Italy). Similarly, 55% said that they felt the hotel sector would realise "sustained upturn" in 2015.
The hoteliers' main priority was to step up sales and marketing activities in the coming year, and respondents said that they expected an increase in bookings via mobile devices (63%) and a growth in the franchising model (20%).
Following on from last year's survey, which found that hoteliers spent one to three hours per week reading and responding to online comments, this year's poll found that 39% of UK hoteliers receive three to five reviews per week from people who have never stayed at their property.
Duncan Berry, chief executive of Choice Hotels Europe, said: "Hoteliers are anticipating renewed confidence in Europe's hotel sector with many planning refurbishments and other enhancements to their properties."
The poll also found that 39% of hotels had given a guest CPR and liaised with paramedics; 20% had significantly helped with a wedding (such as "giving the bride away"); 17% had consoled a bereaved family and liaised with undertakers after a death; and 10% had done a guest's makeup or hair.
Berry added: "Our research indicates that hoteliers aren't just providing a standard service, but that they go above and beyond the call of duty to provide guests with support and help."
Choice Hotels International franchises more than 6,300 hotels across 36 countries, while Choice Hotels UK comprises over 40 sites across England and Northern Ireland, including 14 in London.