The third annual European Hotelier Pulse-Check reveals that half of hotel operators are looking ahead to 2014 with more confidence than a year ago, believing that the hotel sector will realise a sustained upturn next year. Only 28% expressed the same sentiment in 2013.
Individual market comparisons show that 70% of UK hoteliers are confident about the future, compared with just 38% of German hoteliers.
The survey's findings also reveal that hoteliers are now spending more time responding to online travel reviews, with 63% estimating they spend between one to three hours each week reading and replying to reviews - up from 61% last year. However, 6% now spend up to half a day responding to reviews, double the amount recorded last year, with 14% of British hoteliers claiming to dedicate a whole afternoon on the task.
For the first time, European hoteliers (87%) ranked price and value as the most important reason for securing repeat business. Room quality, which topped the poll in previous surveys, is now ranked second. However, in the UK 86% hoteliers ranked staff service as the most important feature to ensure guests return to their hotels.
There was a divided response as to what room rates may do next year, with 37% of hoteliers believing that 2014 room rates will return to pre-financial crisis levels whereas 40% disagreed. British hoteliers - 51% - are the most confident in forecasting an upward trend in room rates.
When asked to predict the leading travel industry trend for 2014, almost two thirds (65%) pointed to a growth in mobile bookings, while just under a quarter (24%) thought social networking channels would establish a foothold in travel bookings.
The European Hotelier Pulse-Check was conducted amongst 118 Choice Hotels franchisees, operators and general managers from the UK, France, Germany and Italy in September.
Choice Hotels Europe franchises nearly 500 hotels across Europe, with Clarion operating in the four-star sector, Quality sitting in the three-star bracket and Comfort providing a budget offer.
Choice Hotels adds four hotels to its UK portfolio >>