I am writing in reference to your article "Sophisticated guests opt for independents" (Caterer, 24 August, page 9](http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/Article.aspx?liArticleID=308463)).
I was very surprised to read the results published from Mintel's Hotels - UK report. BDRC has researched this issue for many years in the BDRC British Hotel Guest Survey and results from there show a very different picture.
The most recent survey revealed that only 7.4% of all domestic business hotel volume was spent in independent hotels, with the remainder spent in branded chain or group hotels. Even though the share of nights in the UK for leisure reasons is nearly twice as much, it is still rather low - at just under 14%.
In the same survey, British business travellers were asked to what extent they agreed with the statement "Branded hotels generally perform better than their unbranded equivalents". Well over half (55%) agreed or agreed strongly, with only 17% disagreeing, which is a ratio of more than 3:1. Among domestic frequent stayers, the proportion agreeing with the statement rises to more than 60%.
I do not want to deny that there is a market for the independent hotel owner. However, the branded hotel market has fared very well in recent years and occupancy figures for hotel chains confirm that they do not lose out to their independent counterparts.
Associate Director, BDRC, London
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